FTISLAND’s Lee Hongki Reveals He Has A Rare Skin Condition

He has had it since middle school.

FTISLAND member Lee Hongki has opened up about growing up with a rare skin condition called hidradenitis suppurativa.

Lee Hongki | @skullhong12/Instagram

Hidradenitis suppurativa, also known as acne inversus, is a rare chronic inflammatory skin condition affecting over 10,000 people in Korea. It is known for recurring inflammatory nodules and abscesses where the skin folds, such as the buttocks, groin, and armpits.

On December 18, Lee Hongki appeared on the YouTube channel Shine a Light on HS and revealed that he had been dealing with the condition since middle school.

I have had a disease called ‘hidradenitis suppurativa’ since middle school. Sometimes, I had to leave the shoot early or cancel my concerts. A lot of arrangements were canceled because I just couldn’t move. I could not walk, move or sing anymore. I also couldn’t travel by plane.

— Lee Hongki

| Shine on a Light on HS/YouTube

He experienced various painful symptoms that were so painful that he would wish for “new buttocks.”

The symptoms often came with high fever, and I felt too embarrassed to talk about it. The abscess would eventually rupture without my noticing, bleeding and oozing profusely. It was so severe that I had to have spare underwear with me all the time, just in case… The pain was so excruciating that if Santa Claus really existed, I would wish for new buttocks for Christmas.

— Lee Hongki


The pain also interfered with his work schedule, and he often had to skip shoots or concerts. However, he found it difficult to open up about the condition. He shared an experience about how he was humiliated during his military service because of this.

I started my military service relatively late, so my peers were much younger than me. At first, they were like, ‘Look who’s here! It’s Hongki Lee!’ But then I would get self-conscious about them seeing me with a strange-looking toilet bowl. I was so humiliated.

— Lee Hongki


However, opening up about his condition helped him grow familiar with hidradenitis suppurativa.

Once I eventually spoke up about my condition, I was no longer ashamed… Once I opened up, these ‘abscesses’ turned into archnemesis which I have grown familiar with. I understand that disclosing the condition is difficult for everyone suffering from HS, as it was for me. Be upfront and honest about the pain you are going through. It may be difficult, but it would give you some peace of mind.

— Lee Hongki


The singer then encouraged people with hidradenitis suppurativa to not be ashamed or make a big deal out of it.

Disclosing the condition will lead to receiving more professional help and proactive treatment. It is nothing to be ashamed of and definitely not a big deal. All you need is to overcome the fear once… Do not blame yourself or feel ashamed. You may feel trapped and helpless, walking through an endless tunnel. But at the end of the tunnel will be light shining with a better tomorrow.

— Lee Hongki

Lee Hongki also encouraged them to visit a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Check out the full video of his story here.

Source: Shine on a Light on HS/YouTube