Laser Hair Removal Shows Promise For Treating Hidradenitis Suppurativa

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic disease characterized by red, tender bumps that often drain and scar. The most commonly affected areas are the underarms, groin, buttocks, and under the breasts. It is extremely difficult to treat.

A recent study, however, found that aggressive treatment with a laser used for hair removal provided improvement. Overall, areas treated with the laser showed a 32% improvement compared to those that were not 2 months after treatment.

The laser that was used was a Nd:YAG, one commonly used for laser hair removal. The settings used were based on skin type and ranged from 25 to 50 J/cm2, with a spot size of 10 mm and a pulse duration ranging from 20 to 35 milliseconds. Skin types II through IV were included. Two laser treatments were performed. Double pulse stacking was used at the first treatment, and triple pulse stacking at the second on inflammatory lesions. This is an aggressive treatment.

Perhaps greater improvement would be noted if more laser hair removal treatments were performed. The duration of improvement is unknown.

Reference: Xu LY et al. Histopathologic study of hidradenitis suppurativa following long-pulsed 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser treatment. Arch Dermatol 2010 Sep 20.

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Lawrence Osman, MD

Lawrence Osman, M.D. is a board-certified dermatologist and liposuction surgeon in Los Angeles specializing in minimally invasive techniques such as liposuction using local anesthesia. He has offices in the Los Angeles area in both Northridge and Calabasas. Visit to learn more.

11 comments… add one
  • Sammy Mar 10, 2011, 5:04 am

    Thanks for posting this! I’m trying to find information on Laser Hair Removal and this has definitely helped me in this process.

  • Angel Jun 17, 2011, 12:03 pm

    Thanks for posting this. Maybe I’ll be able to find a doctor willing to try it and see if I can’t get some relief and healing from this horrible disease.

  • RMartin Aug 3, 2011, 10:51 am

    Dr. Osman,
    What are your thoughts on a superficial vaserlipo type of treatment to provide a less invasive method of removing damaged apocrine glands and use LHR to unobstruct follicles in high risk areas? Perhaps the LHR could be simultaneous to using the Nd:YAG since its the same equipment… It seems to me that careful lipo is less invasive than radical excision with healing by secondary intention and LHR would be preventative…. thoughts are appreciated!

    • admin Aug 5, 2011, 10:56 pm

      I’m not aware of any reports of any type of liposuction being used to treat hidradenitis suppurativa; although, it has been used to destroy the eccrine glands t reduce excess sweating. A quick search on pubmed did not reveal any reports.

  • Amanda Jan 19, 2012, 11:30 am

    Thanks for posting this. I have been doing a lot of research on laser hair removal to treat HS. Was this treatment done directly to the lesions? Did you also remove the hair in that area?

    • Dr. Osman Jan 19, 2012, 2:50 pm

      You’re welcome. I wasn’t a participant in this study, but, to answer your questions – yes, the entire affected area was treated, and yes, the hair was removed as a result of the treatment.

  • Amanda Jun 30, 2012, 7:10 pm

    I have a small lump in my underarm (going on 2 years) that resembles an ingrown hair, but without the ‘head’. It sometimes has minimal pus discharge when I put pressure on it. Funny thing though, when I was undergoing laser hair removal in my underarms last year, it nearly disappeared. It’s back now, and I am beginning to think it’s HS. Interesting to stumble upon how a hair removal laser can help certainly provided some temporary relief for me.

  • kwilliams Jul 29, 2012, 10:19 pm

    I too suffer from this disease..I would really be interested in more information about having this treatment.

    • Dr. Osman Sep 23, 2012, 7:55 pm

      I would be happy to see you in consultation if you are near the L.A. area.

  • bestbros Jan 7, 2013, 9:17 pm

    I suffer from HS and would like to see you to have a consultation to see what can be done to treat this.

  • bestbros Apr 15, 2013, 1:41 am

    I suffer from HS and would like to see you to have a consultation to see what can be done to treat this. Please give me a number to call you at.


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