The etiology of hydradenitis suppurativa ("acne inversa") is not entirely clear. Genetic factors play a role, as indicated by familial aggregation. It appears to be inherited in an autosomal-dominant fashion with high penetrance. The underlying genetic defect is thought to be located in the region 1p21.1-1q25.3.In addition, several other factors influence the occurence and the course of the disease:
The composition of the bacterial flora of the skin - especially colonisation with Staphylococcus aureus - influences the severity of the disease. Hidradenitis suppurativa can be associated with autoimmune diseases.