Should I shave, wax, or laser? Which method of hair removal is better if you have HS? We have the answers.

Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS), a chronic inflammatory skin illness characterized by lesions beneath the surface, begins in the hair follicles. So you’d think having less hair would be beneficial. However, if HS develops, hair removal can be a serious nuisance.

To fully understand the issue, consider how hair ordinarily grows from the skin: It all starts at the root (a bulb under the skin’s surface made up of hair follicle cells), which is located at the very bottom of the follicle. Blood veins deliver nutrition to the root, causing it to grow additional cells. Hair develops and is pushed up through the skin when the bulb is fed, passing an oil gland along the way to assist the process function smoothly.

In HS, however, inflammation occurs around the top section of the hair follicle, which likely leads to follicular opening rupture and sometimes occlusion. Experts aren’t sure why, but this disturbance and malfunction in hair growth causes painful nodules and abscesses that may leave behind “tunnels” under the skin. Hair removal treatments differ in how they disrupt the normal process of hair development and, in certain patients, can cause pain and inflammation. If you have HS, you must use extreme caution when dealing with others. We asked the experts which types of hair removal are best for people with HS. Continue reading for the rundown.

The Method: Waxing

The first stage in waxing, which is usually performed in a salon or spa, is to apply heated wax to the skin. The wax is then covered with a piece of cloth that has been pressed and glued. The hair removal technician then removes the piece of cloth that has wax and hairs adhering to it. Waxing normally leaves the skin smooth and fuzz-free for four to six weeks.

The HS Verdict: According to our specialist, waxing is a big no-no since it can aggravate the HS and produce even more discomfort and lesions. Furthermore, it can increase the risk of infection since, if not done properly and the entire hair is not removed, a sharp splintered strand can remain lodged in the skin and leave an entrance for bacteria to enter.

“It ultimately does more harm than good because the hot wax can inflame the symptoms and further irritate the skin,” 

Currently, no research have been conducted to assess the effects of waxing on HS. Because each patient with HS is unique, it is possible that some patients with HS can wax without incident, but caution is advised.

The Method: Shaving

When you shave, you remove hair from the skin’s surface with a razor and an emollient product, such as shaving cream. Shaving, unlike waxing, does not eliminate hair from the root, which is why hair grows back rapidly and sometimes thicker-looking.

The HS Verdict: According to our specialist, who believes that shaving with HS is one of the safer methods available. However, you must exercise extreme caution when doing so, as he says that any harm to the skin, such as a razor scratch, might result in a new lesion or infection. “I recommend that my HS patients take basic precautions first, such as cleaning the area with antibacterial soap. This helps prevent bacteria from being pushed into the skin, which causes more irritation,” Neem soap is recommended as a disinfectant first. Use a bacterial hand soap to clean the region, but avoid using alcohol because it can be harsh and irritating to the skin.

Dr. Adil also recommends using a gel-to-foam shave gel rather than a typical foaming product because it is less irritating. You can also apply a little layer of moisturizer before shaving to soften and protect the skin around the follicle. “Anything you can do to limit how the blade catches on the skin will be beneficial,” he says.

Shaving has also received insufficient attention in terms of its impact on HS. Some patients may be sensitive to shaving stress to the skin, therefore if they see a trend of flare after shaving, it is crucial for them to be cognizant of it as a personal trigger.

The Method: Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal employs laser energy, which is converted to heat when it interacts with hair pigment, to literally destroy hair follicles and block or delay future hair growth. People who want much less hair growth—enough to cease shaving—tend to like this procedure, as some can achieve permanent hair reduction. Following each treatment, the hair is usually fully gone, with approximately 10-15% permanently damaged. The remaining 85-90% grows back in 3-4 weeks. This persistent reduction grows more pronounced as more treatments are undertaken. It may take more than ten treatments to achieve less than 5% of the starting hair, although most studies suggest that even partial hair reduction with four treatments results in improved disease activity. There may be some discomfort during treatment, but it is done with awake patients and there is no rehabilitation required.

The main disadvantage of laser hair removal is that it can cost between $200 and $300 each session and is nearly impossible to get paid by insurance (even if you have HS) because it is considered aesthetic rather than medically required.

While it is the most expensive option, dermatologists say laser hair reduction is your best hope if you have HS, partially because it goes beyond conventional hair removal. “I generally recommend that patients consider laser hair removal because there are studies that show that this modality can not only remove the hair but also treat the condition and prevent recurrences,” Dr. Adil adds.

For example, it’s been demonstrated to be an excellent therapy choice for those with mild to severe HS because it’s a less invasive form of removal that can lower the number of hair follicle lesions that operate as possible sites of inflammation. It also does not have any concerning problems that could worsen the ailment, and it provides a quick post-treatment recovery. Furthermore, according to Dr. Adil, it can aid with disease management because lasers include a pre- and post-cooling option that calms active lesions before and after treatment and may prevent new ones from emerging.

One caveat with laser hair removal: not everyone is an excellent candidate. Dr. Adil, for example, claims that it is not ideal for persons with blonde or grey hair since there is no pigment to absorb the laser’s energy. He believes there are specialised technologies, such as the long-pulse Nd: YAG laser, that are safe for persons with dark skin tones since the wavelength may kill off dark, coarse hairs without harming the skin’s pigment. Both specialists advise going to a dermatologist to have the treatment done because they are professionally educated and will be able to tell you whether it is a realistic choice for you.

Trimming technique.

Trimming is a hair removal procedure that involves taming extra-long or unruly hairs with scissors or an electric body trimmer. Similarly to shaving, it will not pluck the hair from the root, but rather cut it near to the skin’s surface, making the hair less apparent. Trimming is more frequent in men who wish to maintain their facial hair without shaving, although it is safe and simple for anybody to undertake.

The HS Verdict: Dr. Adil prefers trimming since it is less intrusive. “Trimming the hair with electric trimmers or fine scissors is usually a safe option,” he says, adding that you should still apply an antibacterial cleanser (neem soap) before and after to keep infection-causing germs at bay.

Our Outlook –

Under one roof, we at EliteAyurveda Clinics have a panel of specialists in numerous dimensions of medical domains such as endocrine, autoimmune, gynecology, and so on. We are well-known for taking a multifaceted and root-cause approach to treating chronic and difficult-to-treat disorders.

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According to Ayurveda, hidradenitis suppurativa is a cause of Kapha and Pitta dosha. When the digestive fire (Agni), or Pitta, is out of balance, the Kapha Dosha becomes vitiated, which slows down metabolism. Due to the disruption of fat molecules, they start to build up in muscles and impede bodily passageways, causing painful, swollen sores in the groin, buttocks, thighs, and armpits.

In Ayurveda, hidradenitis suppurativa Treatment is to restore the body’s natural equilibrium by detoxifying it with potent herbal therapies. 

The treatment for Hidradenitis Suppurativa at Elite Ayurveda comprises balancing the Kapha and Pitta doshas, as well as providing harmony to the metabolism. The treatment comprises body detoxification, internal drugs to balance doshas, and external applications to heal scars.

The treatment involves combinations of herbs created based on individual Prakruti and Vikruti analysis. Visit our website to know more

Connect with us to get our patient testimonials and also to speak with our patients directly about their experience in getting their disease treated by us and by Ayurveda as a whole.

Medically reviewed by Dr Adil Moulanchikkal, Lead Ayurveda Specialist at EliteAyurveda Clinics. With over 15 years of experience in treating Neurological, Skin & Autoimmune Diseases.


Know More About Ayurveda Treatment for Hidradenitis Suppurativa.