Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating is a sweating disorder that affects an estimated 4.8% of the worldwide population. Hyperhidrosis is characterized by extreme and uncontrollable sweating of the underarms, hands, face, head or feet. This embarrassing sweat can lead to awkward social situations, depression, and frustration.
Sadly, there are no silver bullets that will “cure hyperhidrosis”, but there are many effective treatments that can lessen the embarrassing effects of excessive sweating.
In this article we’ll explore the best treatments for hyperhidrosis and share valuable insights from the sweat experts.
Treatment #1 : Hyperhidrosis Antiperspirant
Antiperspirants come in varying types, potency, application methods, and effectiveness. The most common are those found at your local grocery store. Depending on how much you sweat and what parts of the body are affected, you’ll need to find an antiperspirant that works for you. A stronger antiperspirant, sometimes clinical strength, will usually yield a better result.
How does Antiperspirant help treat excessive sweating?
According to the experts at sweathelp.org, “Antiperspirants are applied to the top of the skin (which is why you sometime hear them called “topical” treatments). Once an antiperspirant is applied to the skin, perspiration in the underarm grabs and dissolves the antiperspirant particles, pulling them into the pores and forming superficial plugs that are just below the surface of the skin. When your body senses that the sweat duct is plugged, a feedback mechanism stops the flow.”
It’s not uncommon for people to ask “what’s the best deodorant for hyperhidrosis?”
The answer: There isn’t one. Deodorants don’t stop or reduce sweat. Deodorants are designed to mask the smell from sweat with sweet smelling frangrances. That’s it. Antiperspirant / Deodorant combo products are out there, but they typically fall short in treating more severe cases of hyperhidrosis.
So what’s the best antiperspirant for hyperhidrosis?
There are many effective antiperspirant solutions out there, but it’s important to find an antiperspirant that works best for you. Each person has different body chemistry and one antiperspirant that works for person A, may not work at all for person B. I know… it’s not the answer you were looking for.
A good place to start: Thanks to the interwebs, we have access to a whole world of people giving real-time feedback of every available antiperspirant. It’s not hard to find which antiperspirants are actually doing their job… and doing it well. Start with the most reputable antiperspirant brands (Lots of sales, user reviews, and positive customer feedback). This one has over 3000 5-star reviews on Amazon 😉
A few factors to consider when choosing the best antiperspirant for you:
- Active Ingredients:
For most antiperspirants, you’ll find that the active ingredient is some variation of aluminum. Studies have shown Aluminum Chloride to be the most effective for moderate-to-severe cases of hyperhidrosis. Look for an antiperspirant with the higher percentage of Aluminum Chloride for best results in reducing perspiration.
- Application Method:
Antiperspirants typically come in rub-on/roll-on, spray, gel, or towelette application method. Depending on which part of your body you’ll be treating for hyperhidrosis, you’ll want to select an antiperspirant that allows for easy and comfortable application. For underarm use, all of the above are effective. If you sweat in other areas, you may consider a more versatile application method such as towelettes that allow you to apply antiperspirant to more areas of the body most effectively.
- Social Proof and Reviews:
Today’s online culture is perfect for vetting claims of antiperspirant manufacturers. Sites like Amazon.com have curated review content that can be relied upon to help you research antiperspirants. Be wary of products with only a handful of reviews. Best-selling products with 1000’s of positive reviews can typically be trusted as they have been purchased and reviewed regularly.
- Shirt Staining:
Antiperspirants are known for “yellowing” undershirts and ruining other garments. This happens because of the waxes, fillers, and other chemicals are shed from the treated underarm to the shirt and mixed with sweat. Some antiperspirants do not cause yellowing or staining. Typically they are the non-solid applications like towelettes or roll-ons.
- Apply at night:
No matter the antiperspirant you choose, consider applying at night to get the best performance from your antiperspirant. Nighttime application is ideal because your sweat glands are typically less active and it allows the antiperspirant formula more time to effectively stop or dramatically decrease perspiration and profuse sweating.
An Antiperspirant Recommendation from Trusted Medical Expert Dr. Keri Peterson
Dr. Keri Peterson, a prominent New York doctor, Women’s Health Magazine contributor, and trusted medical expert for ABC, NBC, FOX, The Rachael Ray Show, and many other news/talk shows explains excessive sweating and recommends an effective hyperhidrosis treatment. Watch the video below…
Here’s the video transcript…
“Many of my patients come to me with concerns about excessive sweating.They want to know what causes it and how to treat hyperhidrosis…
Sweating is our bodies natural cooling process when we get hot and it’s controlled by the sympathetic nervous system.
Now, this system in some people gets over active and that causes excessive sweating. Also know as hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis can be very debilitating for some people because it causes a lot of social anxiety and embarrassment.
One thing that I recommend to my patients is to try a clinical strength antiperspirant like Sweatblock. SweatBlock’s active ingredient is Aluminum Chloride and this is much stronger than some of the standard antiperspirants that you’ll find at your local retailer. SweatBlock can be used by everyone. But, because of it’s clinical strength effectiveness, it’s particularly useful for people who suffer from excessive sweating.
SweatBlock is also unique in that it’s applied with a pre-soaked towelette. You dab it under your arms before you go to bed at night. And this allows the product to work while you and your sweat glands are resting. SweatBlock is a great intermediary step when you find that your standard antiperspirant just isn’t effective enough and you want to try something before you go to the doctors office to get a prescription.
Now many people may wonder isn’t it medically dangerous to block the sweat from under your arms. The answer is No. We have millions of sweat glands and our underarms represent a very small percentage of them. You’ll be able to cool off just fine by using all of the other sweat glands in your body.
- Widely Accessible
- FDA Regulated
- Generally Effective
- Easy Application
- Some are messy and chalky
- Some cause garment staining
- Some may cause skin irritation
- May not be effective for severe cases
Treatment #2 : Botox for Hyperhidrosis
If you’re not experiencing favorable results from a clinical strength antiperspirant, you may want to consider Botox injections. Although Botox (Botulinum Toxin) is commonly used for wrinkle treatment, it can also be used to temporarily reduce the effects of hyperhidrosis.
If you’re not afraid of needles, read on…
How can Botox help treat hyperhidrosis and excessive sweating?
According to experts at the National Hyperhidrosis Society, “OnabotulinumtoxinA (Botox) is a natural, purified protein with the ability to temporarily block the secretion of the chemical that is responsible for “turning on” the body’s sweat glands. By blocking, or interrupting, this chemical messenger, botulinum toxin “turns off” sweating at the area where it has been injected. Botox injections are very shallow, meaning that the medicine is injected just below the surface of the skin, where it remains.”
Dermatologist Raphael Darvish explains how Botox treatments can help control underarm sweating…
- Generally Effective
- Widely Available through Certified Physicians
- Minimally invasive
- Very Expensive (avg. $1500/treatment)
- Must be repeated to maintain effectiveness (every 7-12 months)
- Did we mention needles?
Treatment #3 : miraDry for Hyperhidrosis
Like Botox, miraDry is a treatment that can be considered if stronger antiperspirants are not effective for you. miraDry is a relatively new treatment that was cleared by the FDA in 2011 for the treatment of axillary hyperhidrosis or excessive underarm sweating. While not as accessible as Botox from certified physicians, it is generally available in most parts of the US. Studies show up to an 83% reduction in excessive underarm perspiration.
How does the miraDray procedure help treat excess sweating?
According the the National Hyperhidrosis Society, “miraDry uses a non-invasive handheld device to deliver precisely controlled electromagnetic energy beneath the underarm skin to the specific area where sweat glands are located, resulting in thermolysis (decomposition by heat) of the sweat glands. While the sweat glands are being eliminated through electromagnetic technology, the top layers of the skin are simultaneously cooled and protected. Sweat glands are not believed to grow back after treatment so the effect can be seen almost immediately and results are lasting.”
In other words: miraDry kills your sweat glands by… microwaving them.
Award Winning Author and Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Youn, Explains the procedure and benefits of miraDry…
- FDA Approved
- Lasting Results
- miraDry cost = Expensive (about $3000)
- Somewhat painful procedure (more needles)
- Microwaving your sweat glands permanently might be objectional to some
Treatment #4 : Oral Hyperhidrosis Medication
Can it really be as easy as taking a pill to treat hyperhidrosis? Yes and no. Yes, there are pills that will help you manage excessive sweating. No, these pills are not for everyone and they do come with side effects.
The most common medications used for excessive sweating are known as anticholinergics. Some brand names for these medications are Ditropan, Robinul, and Por-banthine.
If you’ve struggled to find a hyperhidrosis treatment that works for you -or- you’re dealing with compensatory sweating issues, you might consider asking your doctor about anticholinergic drugs or other hyperhidrosis medications. Remember, this kind of treatment is considered a last resort and comes with a long list of risk factors.
How Anticholinergic Medications Help Reduce Excessive Sweating:
Anticholinergics drugs block the neurotransmission that triggers sweat production. Basically they block your bodies ability to tell itself to produce sweat. Unfortunately, this stops or reduces sweating throughout your whole body, not just your problem areas. Side effect may include dry mouth, blurred vision, dry eyes, constipation, urinary retention, over heating and more. Because of these side effects, medical practitioners have been cautious is recommending anticholinergic drugs and typically reserve as a later option in the process of treating hyperhidrosis.
- Many Side Effects
- Not FDA approved for hyperhidrosis treatment
- Stops all sweating, not just problem areas
- Potential negative interaction with other drugs
Final Thoughts: Is there a best treatment for hyperhidrosis? It’s not an easy question to answer. For some people, a strong antiperspirant like SweatBlock can be the right answer. Others find favorable results using Botox or miraDry. And some even turn to hyperhidrosis surgery for relief. Body chemistry, severity of the hyperhidrosis and affected areas are all factors in determining what treatement will be best for you.
If you have severe hyperhidrosis symptoms, always consult your doctor to make sure there aren’t more serious medical conditions involved.