Sweating is a necessary bodily function that regulates body temperature. When sweat evaporates off your skin it cools you down, which is why you sweat when it is hot or when you’re exercising. Some people sweat more than might be necessary to cool their body, which medically is called hyperhidrosis. If you are sweating so much that it is affecting your wellbeing then you may have this condition. Treatment options include prescription-strength antiperspirant, oral medications, Botox injections, iontophoresis, and miraDry electromagnetic energy treatments.
Palms, feet, underarms, and head are the most common areas where hyperhidrosis is evident. Excessive sweating in these areas can lead to spending a lot of time dealing with the sweat. This means changing clothes frequently, avoiding social situations where sweating would be visible, and generally having to go through extra effort to prevent, manage, and clean off sweat.
Treatments for hyperhidrosis often are best for a particular area. Some are more appropriate for treating sweat on the hands and feet while others are only used under the arms. Although the treatments effectively stop sweat in a certain area they do not impact thermoregulation, as the body has millions of sweat glands. For example, only 2-3% of the body’s sweat glands are under the arms.
Usually the first course of action in treating hyperhidrosis is prescription-strength antiperspirant, which works by clogging the sweat glands. Most use different kinds of aluminum compounds in varying percentages. It is best to apply antiperspirant at night before you go to bed so that the active ingredient has time to work while you are sleeping. Always make sure your underarms are dry before you apply antiperspirant.
Botox has many uses both medical and cosmetic. While you may be most familiar with its cosmetic use reducing wrinkles between the eyes and forehead and also crow’s feet, Botox has several medical uses including the treatment of hyperhidrosis. Botox injections are administered to the affected area where it temporarily blocks secretions of a chemical messenger that signals your body to produce sweat. A Botox treatment can maintain dryness for at least several months, often much longer, and then new injections need to be administered. Many patients have found this to be an extremely effective way to manage their hyperhidrosis.
Iontophoresis can provide significant relief to those suffering from hypherhidrosis of the hands and feet. During this treatment the patient places their hands or feet in a tray of water, which is then charged with a low-level electric current. Iontophoresis needs to be done consistently to maintain dryness and initially about three treatments per week are necessary. With the assistance of their dermatologist or other healthcare professional, patients can learn how to do the treatment themselves at home with their own iontophoresis device.
Oral medications for treating hyperhidrosis are systematic, which means they affect all areas of your body. These medications are better suited for generalized hyperhidrosis, facial sweating, and for when other treatments have failed. Medications called anticholinergics are the most frequently used, but there are also beta-blockers and benzodiazepines. Anticholinergics operate on the sweating mechanism while beta-blockers and benzodiazepines help reduce anxiety, which can be useful if excessive sweating occurs in stressful situations. Pills can be useful for some patients but often have unwanted side effects dry eyes, dry mouth, flushing, headache, constipation and the inability to urinate.
miraDry is the most recent addition to the list of treatment options for hyperhidrosis and is specifically for underarm sweating. Using electromagnetic (microwave) energy, the device destroys the sweat glands permanently in one to two treatments. Sweat glands do not regenerate so that means no repeated maintenance treatments are necessary. miraDry is a non-invasive procedure and has proven to be very popular at Advanced Dermatology, P.C.
Reducing Sweat for Those Without Hyperhidrosis
Sweat may still bother you even if you aren’t diagnosed with hyperhidrosis. Likely you aren’t willing to take medication or get regular Botox injections just to stop using antiperspirant. But maybe you are willing to do a one-time treatment that stops sweating under your arms permanently. Many patients come to Advanced Dermatology, P.C. who do not have hyperhidrosis but just want to stop sweating under their arms. They don’t like having sweat stains on their shirts and having to worry about having sweaty armpits in certain situations. Some don’t like having to wear antiperspirant every day that can also stain their clothes.
If you are suffering from hyperhidrosis, or if you would just like to stop having to wear antiperspirant and worrying about underarm sweat – schedule your consultation with one of the experienced providers at Advanced Dermatology, P.C. today. We have offices throughout New York including Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Westchester and also New Jersey.