The Anti-sweat guide - How to handle your excessive sweating
Dr. Sandra Eriksson Mirkovic, Physician with a special interest in hyperhidrosis
This guide is aimed primarily at those who suffer from hyperhidrosis - a disease that leads to a greatly increased tendency to sweat, despite outer stimuli like environment and activity, but it can also be helpful to you with “normal sweat”.
There are a variety of anti-sweat products and treatments on the market. For those of you who suffer from heavy sweating, you have probably tried some of these and noticed that they were not very helpful. However, there are other, not so well known, anti-sweat treatments that even healthcare professionals lack knowledge of.
BOOK AN ONLINE CONSULTATION WITH A HYPERHIDROSIS DOCTOR
Our doctor Sandra will help you with medical assessment, advice and information on possible treatment about any sweat related issues. Schedule an online appointment with a licensed physician from anywhere within minutes.
Which anti-sweat product or treatment is most appropriate basically depends on which body parts are affected by the sweating. For sweat problems from hands, feet, armpits (and partly other body parts such as the face), one of the better treatment methods is to acquire an anti-sweat machine, a so-called iontophoresis machine for treating the sweat problems comfortably in your own home. Such an anti-sweat machine is easy to use, you are not dependent on the help of healthcare professionals. Compared to many other anti-sweat treatments, the iontophoresis method is cost-effective and has only milder side effects in the form of skin irritation if you do not follow the instructions and use too high currents.
When the method is used correctly, it can provide symptom relief and more or less freedom from sweat in the treated area within a couple of weeks (12 treatment sessions on average, but it can take both longer and shorter to get there). Then maintenance treatments are required continuously, often 20-40 minutes per session, one to a few days a week, to maintain the anti-sweat effect. Iit can be perceived as a bit boring to spend time doing these treatments, but with good results, it is still a small price to pay to avoid suffering from excessive sweating and instead sweat more like “everyone else”.
Another type of anti-sweat machine on the market that is evidence-based and has shown good results is Miradry. Miradry is only tested and approved for the treatment of excessive sweating in the armpits. The method works so that a local anesthetic is placed in the armpits and then microwaves of a certain wavelength are applied to the skin, which heats up the sweat glands and affects them so that their ability to produce sweat is reduced. The result is considered, in many cases, to be permanent after 1-2 treatments. This method is a little more invasive and more expensive than for example iontophoresis.
Another anti-sweat method is antiperspirants of various kinds. Most are available in rollon form, adapted for the treatment of the armpits and most contain aluminum chloride. There are rumors circulating on the internet that the aluminum in antiperspirants would be carcinogenic but there are no studies that prove this. Many of you may have tried applying the roll on your feet or hands and noticed that the result hasn’t been very good. There are different brands of products, e.g. STOP 24, Carpe and Perspirex for example, which are stronger antiperspirants and where several of them have anti-sweat products in other forms than rollon. It can be, for example, a spray for the chest and back, a foot cream and others. These can be easier to apply and with a stronger anti-sweat effect than if you, as I mentioned, apply the rollon on, for example, the feet. Remember that when you apply a product that contains aluminum chloride, the skin must be dry.
Many people sweat less in the evening, so it can be a good time to apply the product, which often has to remain on the skin for a certain number of hours before it is washed off. If you would start sweating when the product is on the skin, there is a risk that the chloride in the product reacts with hydrogen in the sweat and forms HCl, hydrochloric acid, which irritates the skin and creates a rash. Many people mistake this for an allergic reaction, but it is all the more common with irritation due to the formation of acid. Some patients who have been prescribed anti-sweat medication choose to take a tablet before applying the aluminum chloride product, to sweat less and not risk skin irritation.
Another type of local anti-sweat treatment in cream form is Antihydral which comes from Germany, is used a lot by climbers and seems to have a good anti-sweat effect on mainly hands and feet. A disadvantage is that the skin may become slightly yellowish from the product.
A popular anti-sweat treatment that is useful on all body parts is injection with a poison from a bacterium called Clostridium.B. The poison is diluted and is commonly used in healthcare for the treatment of, for example, migraines but also for the treatment of wrinkles and also as an anti-sweat method. The problem with this method is that it is expensive, can be painful if you do not have access to proper anesthesia and that not all caregivers have the knowledge to treat areas other than the armpits. The advantages of the method are that it is very effective in many cases, with mild side effects such as transient muscle weakness and that the effect often lasts 3-6 months and sometimes longer.
Anti-sweating medication in tablet form is available, although it is usually medication developed for other indications where the side effect in the form of reduced sweating is used and these medications are also prescribed for sweating. The advantage of these tablets is that they often have a good anti-sweat effect on the whole body, so it is especially appreciated by those who suffer from generalized hyperhidrosis. The downside is that the tablets often go with troublesome side effects such as dry mouth, visual impairment, constipation and even cognitive impairment. In the elderly, a certain increased risk of dementia associated with these drugs has been seen, but data are lacking for younger patients.
This is a selection of the anti-sweat treatments and anti-sweat products available on the market today. Hopefully, knowledge of sweat problems will increase and new and better methods will be added in the coming years.
It can be very troublesome to struggle with sweating, but remember, you are not alone!
Our Hidroxa SE 20 iontophoresis machine is easy to use and clinically tested for treating excessive sweating of palms, feet, face, and armpits.
Iontophoresis is a scientifically proven method that works for approximately 95% of our customers. You can reach its full effect with 12 treatments.