Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic inflammatory dermatosis typically affecting areas of skin containing pilosebaceous glands. Patients tend to suffer recurrent attacks of painful discharging lesions, which can require multiple courses of antibiotics or surgical drainage and cause significant morbidity, distress and scarring. Studies suggest that this condition is poorly recognised outside of the dermatology setting and as a result diagnosis is often delayed. This article describes the disease process and classical features to enable all practitioners to recognise the disease. Conservative, medical and surgical treatment options are also presented along with the current European guidelines on the management of HS.