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What Self-Care Looks Like With Hidradenitis Suppurativa

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Self-care is known to be great for your physical and mental health. That is absolutely true, if I say so myself! There are many ways to practice self-care; it’s hard to keep track. This is what self-care looks like for me, as someone who lives with hidradenitis suppurativa (HS).

The best time for me to do some self-care is at the end of the day to refresh after a stressful or emotionally exhausting day. Pampering myself after a shower with a cup of calming bedtime tea really helps me sleep at night. I get stressed from working in retail, but after a shower and tea, I feel a sense of calm while getting ready for bed. You may find that this time of day is perfect to practice self-care. Or, if your schedule is different from mine, the morning or afternoon could be perfect for you. One thing is for sure: It’s nice to go to bed feeling emotionally and physically more relaxed.

Here are some other helpful hacks that help me practice self-care while I live with HS. Hopefully these tips can help you too, whether you have had HS for a while or are just newly diagnosed!

1. I use generic non-scented soap.

I have generic non-scented soap. Any soap that doesn’t have a fragrance can help scrub your skin and leave you feeling nice and clean. When I was finally diagnosed with HS, a physician’s assistant recommended that I try one. After trying them out, I really felt clean for the first time in forever!

2. I added moisturizer to my skincare routine.

Moisturizer is another product I have to use for my arms or other problem areas! It really helps clear up my skin in just a few weeks. If you want better-feeling skin, I definitely recommend adding a lotion that’s right for you to your skincare routine.

3. Facial moisturizer is another product I recommend.

Facial moisturizer is the last skin-friendly product I use. It helps clear up my face and keep it feeling oil-free. I like the non-oily products because they won’t clog your pores and cause flare-ups. Within a few weeks, you may find that it leaves your face feeling fresh and blemish-free!

4. Body pillows help me relax.

Relaxing with a body pillow, or a long pillow, helped me a lot before I went into remission with my HS. It helped me not only sleep, but also helped me spread my arms out, away from the HS site. An added bonus? I also felt like I was snuggling with my now-husband. I’m sure if you buy a body pillow, whether online or in-store, it’ll be worth the money!

5. Find hobbies that distract you.

I recommend finding something that relaxes you, whether it be a favorite hobby, craft or any self-care treatment you like! The trick to self-care is finding something that makes you feel better. Even if you are hesitant about the benefits of self-care, try it out! You could feel much better afterward. My favorite self-care activities are retail therapy, online shopping and making candles! They serve as a distraction from my flares and everyday life of working during this difficult time.

6. Exercise helps with my confidence.

I know exercise may be hard for those who live with HS, but you can feel better after finding a workout that is right for you. I sometimes do yoga and light cardio workouts, such as low-impact jumping jacks or swimming, on a hot summer day! After good exercise on my day off, I feel more confident! Before I work out, I reassure myself that it will be worth it, especially if I’m not feeling particularly motivated.

While these tips work best for me, everyone’s life with HS can be very different. If you’re working with a doctor to manage your HS, ask them what suggestions they have for you to practice self-care. Any changes in a person’s life can be hard, and that includes beginning a new self-care routine. However, taking care of yourself definitely helps me manage my HS symptoms, and it can help you too!

Image via Getty Images/gpointstudio

Originally published: November 4, 2020
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