Skip to main content

Which Foods Worsen or Improve HS?

Dietary counseling may be a beneficial addition to a comprehensive hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) management plan, according to the findings of a recent study.

“While dietary triggers have been investigated in acne and other inflammatory follicular dermatoses, there is a paucity of data on diet and HS,” the researchers wrote. They conducted an anonymous survey in order to identify foods patients with HS thought exacerbated or alleviated their disease through Facebook support groups for HS and in-person HS specialty clinics.
You may also like...

Characterizing Hidradenitis Suppurativa Flares
Trivia: HS and Diet

In the survey, participants were given a list of foods and were instructed to identify whether they believed those foods worsened or improved their HS. The list included sweet foods, breads and pasta, red meat, chicken, fish, canned foods, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and high-fat foods.

According to the survey results, 32.6% of participants (237 of 728) identified foods that exacerbated their HS symptoms, whereas only 12% (89 of 744) identified foods that alleviated their HS.

Sweets (67.9%), bread/pasta/rice (51.1%), dairy (50.6%), and high-fat foods (44.2%) were the most commonly reported exacerbating foods. Foods most commonly reported to alleviate symptoms were vegetables (78.7%), fruits (56.2%), chicken (51.7%), and fish (42.7%).

“Further studies are required to evaluate the mechanistic links between diet and HS,” the researchers concluded.


Fernandez JM, Marr KD, Hendricks AJ, et al. Alleviating and exacerbating foods in hidradenitis suppurativa. Published online August 29, 2020. Dermatol Ther. doi:10.1111/dth.14246

Back to Top