Some people just seem to sweat more than others, especially in the warmer months. Our bodies are different and perspiration is nothing but a healthy response that allows our body temperature to regulate and cool down. But facts don’t make the reality of sweating through your clothes right before a big meeting or date any less humiliating.
“We’ve all felt a little uncomfortable and self-conscious thanks to our sweat glands,” says Dr. Jill Waibel of Miami Dermatology & Laser Institute. “Most of the time, sweating is dependent on your weight, the temperature of the environment you’re in, if you’re exercising, or if you’re stressed. However, there is a medical condition that causes some people to sweat more than others called hyperhidrosis and it affects around three percent of the US population.”
Waibel explains that hyperhydrosis is characterized as “sweating beyond what is necessary for thermal regulation and is the result of increased secretion of eccrine sweat.” She says it can have a significant impact on one’s quality of life and may also be indicative of an underlying disease. If you suspect you’re sweating far more than normal, make an appointment with your doctor.
Once a doctor has ruled out serious illness or hyperhidrosis, there are relatively easy ways to deal with unsightly and uncomfortable sweating. Here are four doctor-recommended treatment options:
1. Botox. “One solution to help prevent underarm sweating is Botox,” says Dr. David E. Bank, founder and director of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery. “Patients who find that sweating interferes with life are good candidates for Botox treatment on the underarms. Botox works to temporarily block the signal to the receptors within the gland so they don’t produce sweat. And, you would usually only need treatment 1-2 times a year. Botox stops anywhere from 50-100% of sweating depending on the individual and it reduces both types of sweat, i.e. nerve-wracking interview sweat known as fear sweat and exercise sweat by these same amounts.”
Waibel agrees. “This procedure is covered by insurance and used off-label. It is a safe, well-oriented and highly efficacious treatment for excessive sweating. Ninety-one percent of patients don’t sweat excessively in treated areas for six to eight months after treatment.”
2. Miradry. “Miradry uses heat energy to permanently destroy sweat glands and is only regulated for use on the underarm,” Bank explains. “It requires at least three treatments and is not covered by insurance.”
3. Certain-Dri or Dry-sol. “Both work by temporarily blocking the sweat gland to prevent sweat from coming to the skin’s surface,” Bank says. “Certain-Dri is an anti-perspirant that can be found over the counter for under thirty dollars. Dry-sol is only available by prescription. Both must be applied nightly.”
While we’re talking about anti-perspirants, it’s important to understand they are actually very different from deodorants. “What is most important to understand in the great debate between antiperspirant and deodorants, is that they really shouldn’t even be compared,” Waibel says. “Deodorant is designed to help prevent or mask odor with fragrance, while antiperspirant is an astringent designed to decrease the secretions of eccrine and apocrinesweat glands, essentially plugging pores and reducing the amount of sweat your body produces. I definitely recommend antiperspirant over deodorant as this will actually help stop your sweating. Deodorant can supplement antiperspirant as it provides a fragrance to mask any unflattering odor.”
4. Dri-onic. “This is a device that uses very low electric current to ‘shut-off’ sweat glands in the underarms. It’s available online with prices ranging from $160 to $250 and it offers long term, but not permanent relief,” Banks explains.