Yalon Hutchinson’s battle with Hidradenitis Suppurativa started when most people’s do, around age 15.
As a sophomore in high school, Yalon was on a field trip when she recalls feeling a strange sensation on her inner thigh. “I had never felt this before,” she shared. She said that she started to see a bump growing in the area, and didn’t think much of it — but it persisted. “It became more painful to walk in that area due to it rubbing against my clothing,” she said. “Overtime, I started having more breakouts usually around my period. The bumps would always pop up in different areas of my groin area.”
Yalon says that her first year of battling HS was her most challenging. “I experienced the most breakouts then,” she said. “That first year took a toll on my mental health.”
Today, Yalon is 25 and living in California. She’s an influencer and entrepreneur who has started her own natural hair care line. In 2014, Yalon started posting videos online about her struggles with scalp psoriasis. A few years later, she decided to open up about her HS journey, and says it opened the door for hundreds of people who were also struggling to reach out.
Yalon was inspired by other YouTubers who were opening up about their own health journeys.
“They made me feel inspired to tell my story and let other people out there know that they are not alone. I felt like it was important for me to do and that I would be helping so many others,” she says. “I was actually overwhelmed and surprised by how many lives I touched after sharing my story. I never knew it would have such a positive impact and wish I would have had the courage to share my story sooner. These ladies made me feel like there is no reason to be embarrassed and that I am still human and not the only one out there dealing with HS. I was given a strength I never knew I had.”
Today, Yalon is an advocate for HS awareness, and says that she would like everyone to realize that HS is uncontrollable, and difficult enough as it is — no further judgment or scrutiny is needed.
“Living with HS can cause depression and make you feel alone. So, if you can just try to be understanding and supportive…” she said. “People with HS are still human and shouldn’t be looked at with disgust. I know for some of my viewers they feel uncomfortable with being in a relationship or intimate. My advice is to be honest with anyone that you explain HS to and most importantly let them know it is not contagious and can’t be spread. I feel like we are looked at differently just because our skin looks different and that can be painful.”
If she had to give any advice to individuals who are also diagnosed with HS, Yalon says she’d say to stay strong, and positive.
“Try to enjoy the days were you are not in discomfort and the days that you are it is okay to cry, but try not to let it keep you down,” she began. “Try to keep your stress levels low. Wear comfortable clothing. Do a ton of research and learn as much as you can. The more informed you are the better. Never lose hope or give up. You have to be strong for this one. Remember there are other people out there going through the same thing as you. Reach out if you can to other people. I know there are Facebook forums for people with HS connecting with one another. Take care of your health and don’t forget to smile.”