Acne Inversa: Painful But Treatable

acne inversa

Acne inversa is a disease that isn't quite acne, though it looks like it. It is hidradenitis suppurativa, a skin disorder attacking the hair follicles and sweat glands rather than sebaceous glands as in acne.

Most acne inversa problems are found in crease parts of the body where sweat glands may be blocked, such as in the groin, around the buttocks, under the arms, or under a woman's breasts.

These nasty infections can be the size of a pea or a baseball, and sometimes form tunnels under the skin, joining with other infected glands to form a hard-to-treat network.

Look especially for these markers to correctly diagnose this skin disorder:

  • Pitted areas of skin that usually show up in close-together pairs with what appear to be blackheads
  • Large bumps that may swell up and burst on their own, draining slowly with a foul odor
  • Large pea-sized or larger lumps that sometimes flare up and cause pain and inflammation, and never quite go away
  • Bumps that ooze fluid slowly and may not heal at all; these are the most dangerous and likely to become infected or form tunnels.

When your skin flares, it's very painful.

The only way to properly stop the pain is to drain the pus, an act that should be performed only by a medical professional. Flareups are caused by stress, heat and perspiration, hormonal changes, and irritation from tight or otherwise unhealthy clothing.


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Most of acne inversa's effects are caused by serious infections.

These infections colonize blocked glands and swells them beneath the skin until they burst and spread the infection. This gives you some idea of what you can do to eliminate it.

How to Eliminate Acne Inversa

Start by keeping cool, and avoiding the problem of skin friction.

Lose weight to eliminate any extra folds of skin, and use a good support bra. Be very careful to keep your skin dry and as cool as possible, and wear clothing that is light and breathable rather than tight.

Shower every day, and pay special attention when rinsing and drying the affected areas. If you sweat a lot, shower twice a day.

If your lesion is trying to drain, keep a moist warm cloth on it for fifteen minutes at a time to encourage the draining, then dry. If you're at home and able to do this, leave it open to the air as much as possible; otherwise, put triple antibiotic ointment on it and bandage it securely to hold the ointment in place.

If you're trying everything and your skin does not improve after a week or so, go see a doctor. Left untreated, this skin problem will get worse, cause severe scarring, and can even lead to cellulitis, a particularly painful skin condition that is very difficult to treat.

In addition, not treating acne inversa may lead to a weakening of your immune system, which will make it difficult for your body to fight off other diseases and infections in the future.


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