Skip to main content

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a life-altering condition that causes small, painful lumps to form under the skin.

The lumps usually develop in areas where your skin rubs together, such as the armpits, groin, buttocks, and breasts. The lumps heal slowly, recur, and can lead to tunnels under the skin and scarring.

The condition is more common in African American individuals because their hair follicles tend to plug spontaneously, said David R. Crowe, MD, Chair, Department of Dermatology at MetroHealth.

“It is a condition that causes scarring and severe pain, making it difficult to perform daily activities,” said Dr. Crowe, an expert in skin and hair conditions in people of color. “Patients should seek treatment early because in late stages of scarring, it’s difficult to improve this condition without surgery.”

MetroHealth’s advanced dermatology team is aggressive in its treatment and approaches it from all angles. Medications for psoriasis and Crohn’s disease have been helpful in the early stages of the disease. Depending on the individual needs, our providers might also recommend a weight loss regimen, laser treatments or surgery.

Surgical removal of tunnels under the skin, a procedure called “unroofing,” can be an excellent option for localized hidradenitis. In severe cases, patients might need larger areas of skin removed.

About MetroHealth Multicultural Dermatology Center

MetroHealth’s Multicultural Dermatology Center at MetroHealth Main Campus Medical Center and Cleveland Heights Medical Center is devoted to the care of patients with skin of color and their unique skin and hair conditions. Led by David R. Crowe, MD, Chair, Department of Dermatology, the clinic provides a specialized approach to treatment and education for conditions such as alopecia, vitiligo, discoloration, hidradenitis suppurativa and nail unit melanoma. To make an appointment, call 216-778-3376 (DERM).


David R. Crowe, MD