What is hidradenitis suppurativa? Hidradenitis suppurativa is a skin disease that causes pimple-like bumps or boils on and under the skin. The disease is chronic (long lasting) and can be painful. HS does not spread from one person to another. HS starts in the hair follicle in the skin and happens where areas of skin may touch or rub together. Poor personal hygiene habits, such as not bathing or shampooing your hair, do not cause HS. In most cases, the cause of the disease is unknown.