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Having Hidradenitis Suppurativa Does Not Make Me 'Dirty'

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I would like to begin by saying that as I type this my armpits are itching and burning so bad I’m ready to scream. Today is a flare-up day and if cutting your armpits off was an option, I think I would do it.


I am completely and totally aware that my armpits are super gross. I like to think I understand that better than anyone. Yes, I know there are big, red, swollen boils. I know there are open wounds and literally holes in my armpit. I know it oozes. I know it smells sometimes. I know and truthfully, I’d never wish the burden of knowing upon you.

I’m not dirty. Let’s be real: I probably wash my underarms more often than you. I use acne soap and mild soap and cleansing wipes and whatever I need to in an effort to keep it clean and pain-free. That doesn’t always work.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not insensitive to the burden of having to look at it. I have to look at it every day. I try to keep it hidden because I know people don’t want to see the red, swollen, oozing mess that lives underneath my arms. And I guess I’m sorry but this is my life.

Do you realize I won’t let my fiancé see my underarms? Do you realize I rarely wear tank tops out of the house for fear of judgment by people like you?

Do you realize my fiancé has to tell me at least 10 times a day to stop messing with it because it itches so bad and I can’t stand it? Do you realize that sometimes I will literally smack myself in the armpit just to get some relief?

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a chronic skin disease. My body is literally attacking itself from the inside out. I hope and pray you will learn to be more compassionate and understanding towards those with health problems you may not understand. But I will never wish this disease upon you.

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Thinkstock photo via TolikoffPhotography.

Originally published: August 7, 2017
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