5 Essential Healthy Living Habits for Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) Management

Living with Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) throws wrenches in your well-being. But the good news is, healthy living can be your secret weapon! By making smart choices about what you eat, how you move, and how you manage stress, you can alleviate symptoms, reduce flare-ups, and reclaim your quality of life. Imagine feeling empowered instead of defeated. Embrace a nutrient-rich diet, prioritize regular exercise, and find healthy ways to manage stress. These changes, along with gentle hygiene practices and quality sleep, can significantly impact your HS journey.

Healthy Living Habits:

1. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Obesity is a known risk factor for HS, as excess weight can increase friction and pressure on the skin, leading to more severe symptoms. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular physical activity can help reduce the frequency and severity of HS flare-ups. For all dealing with HS, this means incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your diet while also taking advantage of the many outdoor activities available during the warmer months or embracing indoor fitness routines during the colder seasons.

a man engaged in healthy living is measuring his waist with a measuring tape.
5 essential healthy living habits for hidradenitis suppurativa (hs) management

2. Avoid Smoking

Smoking is another common risk factor for HS, as it can impair blood flow and slow down the healing process. Quitting smoking has numerous health benefits, including reducing the severity of HS symptoms and decreasing the risk of other health issues. But of course, for those struggling to quit, there are many resources available across Canada, including the Canadian Cancer Society’s Smokers’ Helpline, which offers support through phone, text, and online chat services.

3. Choose the Right Clothing

Wearing tight or restrictive clothing can exacerbate HS symptoms by increasing friction and pressure on the skin. Opt for loose, breathable fabrics like cotton to reduce irritation and allow your skin to breathe. Also, one may need to be mindful of their clothing choices during the colder months when layering is necessary for warmth. In these situations, choose moisture-wicking fabrics for your base layer and avoid materials that can trap heat and sweat, which can further irritate HS symptoms.

4. Practice Good Hygiene and Skincare

Keeping the affected areas clean and dry can help manage HS symptoms and reduce the risk of infection. Gently cleanse the skin with a mild, fragrance-free soap, and pat dry with a clean towel. Avoid scrubbing or rubbing the skin, as this can further irritate the affected areas. Applying over-the-counter antibiotic creams or antiseptic washes can also help prevent infections. For those with HS, it’s essential to stay diligent with skincare routines throughout the year, as the harsh winter weather can exacerbate skin dryness and irritation.

5. Manage Stress

Lastly, stress can have a significant impact on HS symptoms, as it can trigger our body’s inflammatory response, leading to flare-ups. Finding healthy ways to manage stress is essential for anyone living with HS. Some popular stress-reducing techniques include practicing mindfulness meditation, engaging in regular physical activity, maintaining strong social connections, and seeking professional support when needed. Implementing these stress-management strategies can not only help alleviate HS symptoms but also improve overall mental well-being.

a person practicing healthy living by washing their hands under a running water faucet.
5 essential healthy living habits for hidradenitis suppurativa (hs) management


Living with Hidradenitis Suppurativa can be challenging, but making these lifestyle changes can help make the journey a little easier for Canadians. By maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, choosing the right clothing, practicing good hygiene, and managing stress, individuals living with HS can experience a reduction in symptoms and an improvement in their overall quality of life. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and support in managing HS!

The Canadian Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation is committed to enhancing the quality of life and care for HS patients by increasing awareness and providing education to dermatologists. If you are looking for a Hidradenitis Suppurativa cause to reach out to and learn more about HS, get in touch with us today!