If you suffer from hyperhidrosis (also known as excessive sweating), you’ve likely heard of Iontophoresis. This unique hyperhidrosis treatment can be very effective in reducing the symptoms of hyperhidrosis.

We won’t lie, iontophoresis is a bit odd. For this reason, we’ve made a list of the most common questions about iontophoresis. Hopefully the answers will help you in your quest to stop unwanted sweat.

Iontophoresis

Iontophoresis: Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. What is iontophoresis? Who invented it and when?
  • 2. How does iontophoresis therapy work?
  • 3. Does iontophoresis work for hyperhidrosis?
  • 4. How often should I have treatments?
  • 5. When will iontophoresis start working?
  • 6. What areas of the body can be treated with iontophoresis?
  • 7. Can iontophoresis work on my underarms?
  • 8. What is an iontophoresis patch and how does it work?
  • 9. Does iontophoresis hurt?
  • 10. Can I be electrically shocked by iontophoresis?
  • 11. Is the iontophoresis treatment permanent?
  • 12. Are there side effects from iontophoresis?
  • 13. Who performs iontophoresis?
  • 14. Will my insurance pay for iontophoresis?
  • 15. How much do iontophoresis treatments cost?
  • 16. What is the best iontophoresis machine for me?
  • 17. How much will an iontophoresis machine cost and where can I buy one?
  • 18. What if I’m pregnant? (and other iontophoresis contraindications)
  • 19. What other hyperhidrosis treatments can I try?

1. What is iontophoresis? Who invented it and when?

Iontophoresis is a medical procedure which uses a mild electrical current to gently push medications through the skin while the treated body area is submerged in water. You might think of it as an injection without a needle.

The procedure is most often used to treat hyperhidrosis or uncontrolled, profuse sweating. It can also be used to treat injuries related to sports by delivering anti-inflammatory medicines directly through the skin.

The idea of using weak electrical energy to deliver medicine dates back to the mid-18th century. Significant progress was made by several researchers in the 19th century and the concept gained serious traction soon after.

In the early 1900’s, Dr. Stéphan Leducafter, a French physician, published a series of scientific papers on the subject. Other contributors to the science were Benjamin Ward Richardson, Hermann Munk, William James Morton, and Fritz Frankenhäuser.

Recently, researchers have given iontophoresis a fancy new name: “electrically-assisted transdermal drug delivery.” This is what too many years of education can do. 😉

2. How does iontophoresis therapy work?

Iontophoresis works on the principle of ions. In this instance, the ions are water-soluble substances that carry either a positive or negative charge. Like the poles of a magnet, the positive electrode repels and the negative electrode attracts.

By running a mild galvanic (direct) current through a shallow container of water, an ion can be pushed into the skin if the active electrode has the same charge as the target ion.

The principle is the same as when two positive ends of a magnet push away from each other when they are placed together.

Because the skin is an excellent barrier and protects the body from outside intrusion, iontophoresis has limited value in delivering medications directly into the skin.

Generally speaking, a patient receiving iontophoresis treatment for hyperhidrosis sits with one or both hands or feet immersed in a shallow pan or tray filled with tap water.

Normally anticholinergic medicines are placed in the water that block the transmission of nerve signals to the sweat glands. By stimulating the iontophoresis electrodes, the electrical current “pushes” the medication into the skin. Treatments can last from 15 to 40 minutes.

3. Does iontophoresis work for hyperhidrosis?

The short answer is yes. While iontophoresis has limited usefulness in treating other conditions, it can be effective in treating certain types of primary or focal hyperhidrosis.

The procedure is routinely used for the treatment of palmar hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating of the hands) and plantar hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating of the feet).

4. How often should I have treatments?

Always consult with your doctor before beginning a regimen of iontophoresis treatments. Usually, the process is repeated 3 times a week in the beginning, and until sweating is reduced to the desired degree. Then patients are switched to a schedule of one treatment each week.

To maintain effectiveness, treatments must be consistent and performed regularly before your sweating begins to return.

5. When will iontophoresis start working?

Patience is a virtue. That may not be a comforting thought as you deal with excessive, unrelenting sweating, but it’s important to keep in mind. How long it takes to see results varies significantly from person to person.

Some patients report positive results in the first day of treatment. For others, it may require three to four weeks of consistent treatment before the sweating is significantly reduced.

Most patients see a discernable difference by the end of the first week. If it’s going to work for you, that’s the benchmark to keep in mind. Long-term improvement is usually achieved after a few weeks of regular treatments.

6. What areas of the body can be treated with iontophoresis?

Iontophoresis has been used to treat hyperhidrosis since the 1940’s. Most medical studies have focused on the procedure for hyperhidrosis of the feet (plantar) and the hands (palmar). Fewer studies have examined hyperhidrosis of the armpits (axillary).

In one year-long study of 27 patients with palmoplantar hyperhidrosis (affecting the hands and feet), there was a “good” response. Desired improvement took from 2 to 4 weeks.

In every successful case, ongoing treatment was necessary to maintain dryness. When used correctly, iontophoresis can have a positive effect on 85% to 90% of hyperhidrosis patients.

7. Can iontophoresis work on my underarms?

The evidence collected so far shows that iontophoresis of the underarms might be an effective option for some people. The International Hyperhidrosis Society notes that iontophoresis is generally less effective than other methods for managing underarm sweating.

A clinical strength antiperspirant may be more effective in treating excessive underarm sweating.

8. What is an iontophoresis patch and how does it work?

An iontophoresis patch is an electrodynamic patch made from fabric material mingled with photovoltaic cells. Micro-currents are created by the transdermal patch when it comes in contact with the skin.

These currents use the iontophoresis principle to suppress the sweat glands from secreting sweat. Iontophoretic patches can be used on hands and feet, but are especially suited for underarm iontophoresis treatments.

A pouch containing a dosage of medication can be attached to an iontophoresis patch which delivers the medication directly through the skin.

Iontophoresis dexamethasone is a cortisone-like medication that is often used in conjunction with this treatment. It can provide relief from inflammation and helps prevent unwanted side effects.

Sometimes a Diclofenac gel is applied topically to reduce the inflammation.

The ActivaPatch is a self-contained single-use drug delivery patch that contains an electrical source (a battery), electrode and chamber into which desired medicines can be placed.

Once adhered to the skin in the desired location, it can provide up to 2.5 hours of iontophoresis treatment.

9. Does iontophoresis hurt?

No, iontophoresis treatments are not known to cause pain. But at the same time, it’s not what you would call “pleasant” either. When performed correctly, the treatment is rarely painful, though many patients report feeling mildly uncomfortable.

You will likely experience a tingling sensation during the process. Be sure you don’t have any open sores or wounds in the area to be treated.

The sensation will be much stronger if the current passes through open skin. You can cover any open skin with petroleum jelly to protect it.

10. Can I be electrically shocked by iontophoresis?

You can’t be seriously electrically shocked, but you may feel surprised by the tingling. The voltage of the electrical current used in iontophoresis is low and not strong enough to cause a harmful shock.

But if it’s not done correctly, or if you remove your hands or feet from the water during treatment– or if equipment malfunctions– the sensation might be a trifle unexpected.

You may temporarily experience minor heel pain during an improper foot treatment, for example. Be sure to remove any metal jewelry beforehand.

As the electrical current is increased, any unpleasant sensation will increase. But you’ll be in control and you’ll be able to decrease the current if the treatment becomes too uncomfortable.

It’s a good idea to have another person present during treatments. If you’re using an iontophoresis machine at home, be sure to completely read the manufacturer’s user guide and follow all suggested instructions and precautions.

11. Is the iontophoresis treatment permanent?

No, iontophoresis for hyperhidrosis is not a permanent solution. After the initial treatment period when the desired level of sweat reduction is achieved, maintenance treatments must be continued indefinitely (usually once a week).

It is important not to wait until the excessive sweating returns. Permanent hyperhidrosis treatments require more invasive treatments or surgical options.

12. Are there side effects from iontophoresis?

While iontophoresis is a safe and relatively pain-free treatment, some patients may experience some minor adverse effects. The good news is that any side effects are easily alleviated and generally not serious. The most common side effect is itching and drying of the skin.

Apply a moisturizing cream or lotion after each treatment to hydrate and soothe dry skin. Other possible side effects include blistering, skin irritation and peeling.

13. Who performs iontophoresis?

Many primary care or family practice doctors can administer the iontophoresis treatments. Some neurologists, internists, and surgeons will also offer the treatment. Seeking out a dermatologist will probably be your best bet.

After initial treatments performed by a qualified physician, it is not uncommon for patients to continue treatments at home with equipment that can be purchased for personal use.

14. Will my insurance pay for iontophoresis?

That depends on your insurance carrier. Sadly, iontophoresis for hyperhidrosis is a treatment that some insurance carriers consider unproven or investigational.

If that’s the case for you, you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket. Some physicians will allow you to negotiate the cost of treatment if your insurance will not cover it.

15. How much do iontophoresis treatments cost?

Iontophoresis treatments in a doctor’s office will set you back about $150 to $200 per session. Costs can vary significantly depending on the selected practitioner and location. It’s going to cost you more in Los Angeles than in Fargo, North Dakota.

If you decide to administer the treatments yourself after your initial doctor visits, you can purchase your own equipment. When you consider the cost of several treatments at the doctor’s office, this investment can be a cost-saving alternative.

16. What is the best iontophoresis machine for me?

The best machine for your specific condition depends on a lot of variables. Be aware that the manufacturer of any iontophoresis device is going to claim that their machine is the best. Here are important factors to consider when looking to purchase an iontophoresis machine for home use:

  • Affordability – Find a device that works within your budget. You’ll find many that will work.
  • Machine size – If the machine will be used at home, size may not be an issue. If you travel a lot, you’ll want something you can pack and take with you.
  • Safety – Find a machine that has safety features that eliminate the possibility of electrical shock.
  • Timers – The duration of treatments is critical to potential success. An onboard timer will be helpful in making sure treatments aren’t too short or too long.
  • Power source – Some machines are battery powered only. Replacing those batteries can be expensive.
  • Warranty and Service – Choose a machine that includes a warranty (at least 12 months) and be sure the manufacturer offers a user-friendly customer service program.

17. How much will an iontophoresis machine cost and where can I buy one?

A quality iontophoresis machine with basic features should cost somewhere between $500 – $700. If your budget won’t allow for an investment of several hundred dollars, there are low-cost machines available online starting at about $100.

Be cautious of low-priced machines, as safety features and build quality may have not been high on the maker’s priority list. Do your research. There are many choices available online, and they can also be purchased from local medical supply brick-and-mortar stores.

Also, if you’re handy, it’s fairly simple and easy to build one of your own.

18. What if I’m pregnant? (and other iontophoresis contraindications)

Always consult a doctor before commencing iontophoresis treatments. There are several conditions and situations for which either extra caution or total avoidance of the treatment are necessary.

  • If you wear a pacemaker – The electrical current used in iontophoresis, although mild, may interfere with a pacemaker.
  • Pregnancy – Iontophoresis has not been tested on pregnant women. If you’re pregnant, iontophoresis treatments are not recommended.
  • Metal orthopedic implants – Because electrical current will pass through the parts of the body being treated, any metal implants in those areas can cause problems. Talk to your physician about the treatment if you have any metal implants in your body.
  • Cardiac arrhythmia – Electrical impulses trigger your heart to beat. If you have an irregular heart condition, you should avoid iontophoresis unless your doctor specifically recommends it and supervises the treatment.
  • Skin rash or disease – Iontophoresis therapy should be avoided if a skin rash or skin disease is present in the affected areas.

19. What other hyperhidrosis treatments can I try?

Iontophoresis is considered a tier 3 treatment. That means there are other treatments for hyperhidrosis that are recommended before resorting to the use of an iontophoresis machine.

One of the most effective treatments for hyperhidrosis is a clinical strength antiperspirant like SweatBlock. It is highly effective for controlling underarm sweating, as well as hand, feet, and head sweating.

Clinical strength antiperspirants are not expensive, and they’re easy to use, and they’re readily available online and in local drugstores.

There are other hyperhidrosis treatments that may be worth considering. Many are more expensive and more invasive than iontophoresis. These include Botox injections, and using electromagnetic or microwave energy for killing sweat glands.

Irreversible surgery is also an option. Once again, talking with a doctor about your specific situation is the best course of action. He or she can prescribe the treatment that best suits you.

The Bottom Line

Iontophoresis is a widely accepted and proven treatment for sufferers of hyperhidrosis. Whether it’s a good treatment for you will depend on the seriousness of your sweating condition and other symptom relief treatments you may have already tried.

Now that you have a better understanding of iontophoresis, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about how best to treat your hyperhidrosis. You do have options, and the good news is that there’s a treatment that will likely work well for you. Don’t give up… life can be good again!

When sweating reaches epic proportions, you need something more than pedestrian store-shelf antiperspirants. You need a heavy weight contender – a prescription, or prescription “strength” antiperspirant. Here’s your guide to prescription-only and clinical strength antiperspirants.

prescription antiperspirant

What is prescription antiperspirant?

As the name implies, prescription antiperspirants require a prescription and a doctor’s supervision. They cannot be purchased anywhere but a pharmacy. The concentration of active aluminum ingredient in these products is generally around 20%. Prescription options are not to be taken lightly. Misuse of prescription antiperspirants can lead to serious unwanted side effects. (we’ll talk about this later)

How does prescription antiperspirant work?

All antiperspirants, regardless of brand name or strength level, use aluminum salt as the active ingredient. The most common aluminum salt compounds found in today’s antiperspirants are aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum chloride hexaydrate and aluminum zirconium tricholorhydrex glycine.

While the effectiveness of these varies, each of these aluminum compounds works to reduce sweating in the same basic way. When they get close to water, in this case perspiration, they soak up the moisture and thicken into a gel-like substance. By spreading aluminum chloride, or one of its cousins, on areas that sweat, the resulting reaction forms a gel-like plug that blocks the sweat glands and prevents sweat from reaching the skin’s surface. Once this happens the body’s feedback mechanism stops the flow of perspiration.

The plugs dissipate over time and the sweat glands begin to function as before. That’s when the antiperspirant must be reapplied. Depending on the strength of the antiperspirant, the reapplication time may range from several hours to several days.

Prescription Antiperspirant vs. Prescription “Strength” Antiperspirant. Is there a difference?

It’s not uncommon for people to confuse the two. But they are different.

Prescription strength simply means really strong. A prescription strength antiperspirant will have more Aluminum salts or use a more potent form of Aluminum. For example, Aluminum Chloride is a lot stronger than Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex (Used in antiperspirants like Dove, Old Spice and Degree.)

Most clinical and prescription strength products will use Aluminum Chloride (usually around 12%-15%)

Prescription Strength and Clinical Strength are often used interchangeably, but they’re pretty much the same thing.

Prescription-only antiperspirants are even stronger, require a prescription, and can only be purchased at a pharmacy. They usually contain a higher concentration of Aluminum Chloride (20% or more) and can be more effective in extreme sweating cases. Last of all, a prescription option will most likely carry with it additional health risks and side effects. (more on this below…)

Prescription Antiperspirant Options:

Some of the more common prescription antiperspirant brands include:

  • Drysol is a popular prescription antiperspirant designed to treat hyperhidrosis and excessive sweating. Can be used on the underarms, scalp, hands, and feet. Active Ingredient: Aluminum chloride hexahydrate (20%)
  • Xerac AC is a topical, prescription-only treatment designed for use on the underarms, palms and feet.
    Active Ingredient: Aluminum Chloride Hexahydrate (6.25%)
  • Formalaz is a sweating treatment specifically designed to combat foot odor and sweat. A prescription-only option for plantar hyperhidrosis or foot sweating. Active ingredient: Formaldehyde (10%)

Prescription antiperspirant is strong stuff and should only be considered after exhausting all other over-the-counter hyperhidrosis and excessive sweating treatments.

Best Prescription Strength Antiperspirants:

Try some of these popular prescription strength and clinical strength antiperspirants before resorting to prescription-only. Many of these products can be purchased online via Amazon or at your local drug store.

  • SweatBlock Clinical Strength Antiperspirant
    The original 7-day antiperspirant wipe. Formulated to reduce excessive sweating and axillary hyperhidrosis. According to users, SweatBlock keeps a person dry for an average of 6.4 days and often works when nothing else will.
    Effective for: Excessive sweating and hyperhidrosis
    Application: Sweat Wipe (Antiperspirant Wipe)
    Active Ingredient: Aluminum Chloride (14%)
  • Driclor
    This another over-the-counter prescription strength option. It’s made in Australia and can be used for treating excessive sweating of the hands, feet and armpits. If you’re worried about sweat stains in your shirt, you’ll want to avoid this one.
    Effective for: Hands, Feet, and Armpit Sweatin
    Application: Roll-on
    Active Ingredient: Aluminum hexahydrate (20%)
  • Certain Dri Prescription Strength
    The strongest antiperspirant in the Certain Dri family. Designed for underarm use and can last up to 72 hours per application.
    Effective for: Underarm Sweating / Axillary Hyperhidrosis
    Application: Roll-on
    Active Ingredient: Aluminum Chloride (12%)
  • Odaban Antiperspirant Spray
    Offers 24-hour protection and may be the strongest non prescription antiperspirant available. It contains high concentrations of aluminum chloride which can increase effectiveness. But with increased effectiveness comes increased chance for skin irritation and burning.
    Effective for: Armpits, Hands, Feet
    Application: Spray
    Active Ingredient: Aluminum chloride (20%)
  • Maxim Prescription Strength Antiperspirant
    Over the counter hyperhidrosis treatment designed for underarm use.
    Effective for: Underarm Sweating / Axillary Hyperhidrosis
    Application: Roll-on
    Active Ingredient: Aluminum Chloride (15%)

If none of the above options work for you, it’s time to look at a prescription only product.

Should I Use a Prescription Strength Antiperspirant?

Choosing a prescription antiperspirant isn’t the same as picking out a pair of shoes or doing price comparisons on vacuum cleaners.

This is a personal question and you and your doctor are the only ones qualified to tackle it. But here’s a few things to consider as you venture down the path of prescription hyperhidrosis treatments.

How severe is your sweating? You wouldn’t be here reading this fascinating article if sweat wasn’t somewhat excessive. But how bad is it? If it’s an occasional inconvenience, you probably don’t need prescription strength. If profuse sweating has transformed you into a cave-dwelling hermit who avoids all social interaction, you’re barking up the right tree.

Which sweating treatments have you already tried? Again, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably tried A LOT. But if you’ve only experimented with Old Spice and Degree, you still have a lot of non prescription options on the table. It’s best to exhaust all over-the-counter antiperspirant options before reaching for a prescription solution.

Have you talked to your doctor? Your doctor will be able to help you more than any blog post or article. If you’ve tried everything and nothing seems relieve your excessive sweating, talk to your doctor about available prescription anti-perspirants.

Ultimately, your doctor will know which antiperspirant options are safe and can guide you through the process of finding one that works best for your body chemistry and severity of sweating.

Prescription Antiperspirant Risks & Side Effects:

The best part about prescription anti-perspirants is that they’re super strong. The worst part… they come with side effects and potential health risks like:

  • Allergic reactions like hives, rash, itching, chest tightness, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat.
  • Severe burning, itching, redness or swelling of treated areas.

These precautions should be observed when using Prescription antiperspirants:

  • Always consult a doctor before using any Prescription antiperspirant.
  • Tell your doctor if you are using Antabuse (disulfiram) before using.
  • Do not use any other deodorant or antiperspirant (unless your doctor says otherwise)
  • Avoid getting Prescription antiperspirant in your eyes, nose, mouth or on your lips.
  • Do not use any antiperspirant on irritated or broken skin.
  • Wait at least 24 to 48 hours when applying to shaved areas.
  • Prescription antiperspirants may stain clothing and metal surfaces.
  • It is not known if the use of Drysol and other Prescription antiperspirants may harm an unborn baby.

Alternative Treatments to Prescription Antiperspirant:

It might be worth exploring outside the realm of prescription antiperspirant. Hyperhidrosis has been around for a long time and many treatments have been developed over the years. Their effectiveness varies, but some have proven very efficient at stopping embarrassing sweat. Here’s a few of them…

  • Clinical Strength Antiperspirants. Over-the-counter clinical antiperspirants are stronger than your average Dove or Speedstick, but don’t require a doctor and don’t come with as many side effects or potential health risks. We like this one (wink… wink)
  • Qbrexza Wipe. A prescription-only treatment for axillary hyperhdirosis. This medicated cloth is designed for underarm topical use. It contains a nerve blocking solution that stops underarm sweat in its tracks. It can be extremely effective, but comes with a long list of unwanted side effects.
  • Iontophoresis is a treatment that uses electric currents in water to drive medications into the skin. Can be very effective, yet very expensive.
  • Botox injections in affected areas can curtail sweating for months before they must be repeated. Effective, but painful and not permanent.
  • Miradry is a procedure that uses microwaves to nuke your sweat glands. No more sweat glands leads to no more sweat.

Do you suffer from excessive sweating?

Hyperhidrosis, the official medical term for profuse sweating, affects millions here in the USA and around the world.

Antiperspirants with aluminum chloride are the first line of defense against extreme sweating. There’s a lot of information floating around about antiperspirants and aluminum. For your convenience, we’ve compiled the most important stuff for your quick reference.

6 Things You Should Know About Aluminum Chloride

  • What is aluminum chloride?
  • How does aluminum chloride stop sweating?
  • Is aluminum chloride safe? False claims debunked
  • What are the side effects of aluminum chloride and how to minimize them?
  • Other forms of aluminum used in antiperspirants
  • Discovery and history of aluminum chloride

aluminum chloride facts

What is aluminum chloride?

(Read on with caution – scientific terms to follow)

The chemical formula for aluminum chloride is AICI3. As its name implies, it is a chemical compound of aluminum and chlorine. For you chemistry buffs, AICI3 has three electrons in its valence shell. It forms a covalent compound with chlorine. It doesn’t form an octet by combining with chlorine, so it can take 2 more electrons. This makes it a Lewis Acid (Lewis acid is a compound that can take an electron from a donor compound.) Whew!

The molar mass of aluminum chloride is 133.34 g/mole. (What the heck is a mole?) A mole is a unit of measurement used by chemists. It indicates the number of atoms, ions, molecules, etc., in a given chemical sample. Fun fact: Aluminum chloride can exist as a solid, liquid or gas.

Aluminum chloride is classified as an aluminum salt. It is found naturally in rocks that were formed as the earth was born. It can also be synthesized. As a solid, it is a coarse white powder. Often it is found contaminated with iron which gives it a yellow color. Aluminum chloride has a low melting point, and a low boiling point as well. It is highly reactive when it comes into contact with water. It has a strong, sharp odor, and can’t burn or catch on fire.

The uses of aluminum chloride are varied and include the production of pure aluminum metal. Large amounts are also produced for use in other industries too. It is used in the making of paint, synthetic rubber and in making petrochemicals. Aluminum chloride is found in nail strengtheners and air fresheners, and it can also treat wastewater. It has a lot of uses!

Most importantly, aluminum chloride is used to make antiperspirants, which offers the greatest benefit of all — it helps stop excessive sweating. By the way, if you’re looking for a strong antiperspirant, this one works pretty good 😉

How does aluminum chloride stop sweating?

There are two types of sweat glands found in your body, apocrine and eccrine. The eccrine sweat glands are far more numerous. They’re responsible for most of the sweat your body produces.

When an antiperspirant like SweatBlock is applied to the underarms (or other areas of the body), aluminum ions are absorbed. Dr. Eric Hanson of the University of North Carolina’s Department of Dermatology says, “The aluminum ions are taken into the cells that line the eccrine-gland ducts as the opening of the epidermis, the top layer of the skin.”

Dr. Louis Kuchnir, a physical chemist who practices in Marlborough, Massachusetts, describes the process in more detail. He explains that an aluminum chloride molecule can bind six water molecules. It can also tightly bind additional layers of 12-20 water molecules, “making the water very viscous such that the weak muscles that push sweat out of our sweat glands are unable to move the sweat to the surface of our skin,” he says.

Dr. Kuchnir continues, “When aluminum chloride gets close to water, it soaks it up and thickens it. By spreading it over the areas that perspire, it thickens the water in the top of the duct where the sweat’s coming out, and that thickening, like a gel, will block it.”

In layman’s terms, aluminum chloride and other aluminum compounds react to sweat. The resulting reaction forms a gel-like plug that blocks sweat from reaching the skin’s surface.

There you have it. That’s how antiperspirants with aluminum chloride work. Isn’t medical science amazing?

Is aluminum chloride safe? False claims debunked

You may have read something somewhere or heard rumors asserting that aluminium chloride is not safe. Some deeply flawed studies have linked its use to breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and even kidney disease.

So, what’s the truth?

The International Hyperhidrosis Society notes that aluminum chloride has been safely used for over 80 years and has proven to be effective and non-toxic.

Let’s briefly consider one of the most persistent rumors: Aluminum chloride in antiperspirants causes breast cancer. This is simply not true.

The authors of these now discredited studies asserted that the chemicals in antiperspirants, including aluminum chloride, are absorbed through the skin in the underarms. They claimed the chemicals then interact with DNA creating malignant mutations.

Because most breast cancers begin in the upper and outer portion of the breast, the region closest to the armpit where antiperspirants are used, they assumed antiperspirants must be responsible for some breast cancers.

Not so!

“Why you would think that antiperspirant would somehow go upstream and get into your lymph nodes and then somehow get into the breast is unclear,” states Dr. Timothy J. Moynihan. Dr. Moynihan, an oncologist, serves as the Education Chair and consultant for the Division of Medical Oncology at the Mayo Clinic. “It doesn’t make sense other than the fact that it’s in the neighborhood.”

Any claims that aluminum chloride in antiperspirants can also be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease and kidney disease have been similarly disproven. “These products can be used with high confidence of their safety. They’ve been used for many years, and there’s no evidence that suggests a problem,” states John Bailey, Ph.D., Chief Scientist with the Personal Care Products Council.

There’s much more reliable information available regarding the safety of aluminum chloride.

What are the side effects of aluminum chloride and how to minimize them?

The possible side effects of aluminum chloride are mild. The most commonly reported side effects are itching or a mild burning immediately after application. Tingling or a prickly sensation are also common side effects. These are short-lived and normally disappear shortly after application. If skin irritation persists you should talk to your doctor.

The possibility of itching, burning or tingling or other skin irritation due to aluminum chloride in deodorants or antiperspirants can be minimized by observing these precautions:

  • Wait 24 to 48 hours after shaving before applying.
  • Never apply an aluminum chloride antiperspirant to broken or infected skin.
  • Let your underarms or other areas where antiperspirant has been applied to completely air dry before putting on your clothing.

For people with extremely sensitive skin, aluminum chloride antiperspirants or antiperspirant deodorants may not be a viable solution.

Other forms of aluminum used in antiperspirants

While aluminum chloride is the most common aluminum compound used in today’s antiperspirants, there are other forms of aluminum that are also used to reduce sweating and treat hyperhidrosis. They are:

  • Aluminum Chlorohydrate (also known as Aluminium Chlorohydrate).
  • Aluminum Zirconium Tricholorohydrex Glycine
  • Aluminum Chloride Hexahydrate
  • Aluminum Hydroxybromid

All of these aluminum salts work in the same fashion as aluminum chloride. However, not all forms of Aluminum are created equal. Some forms are stronger than others and may have longer lasting results. For example, an antiperspirant with 10% aluminum chloride is not the same as an antiperspirant with 10% aluminum zirconium.

Discovery and history of aluminum chloride

Aluminum chloride was discovered in 1825 by Hans Christian Oersted, a distinguished Danish physicist and chemist. It is one of the oldest chemicals used in organic chemistry.

Aluminum salts were marketed as an antiperspirant as early as 1903 in a product named Everdry. Another notable and popular brand was Odo-ro-no, invented by a Cincinnati surgeon who suffered from sweaty hands. His daughter promoted Odo-ro-no throughout the country. Her company embarked upon an aggressive marketing campaign in 1919 featuring ads highlighting “a subject too often avoided.” That subject was the foul-smelling underarms of women. The popularity of Odo-ro-no skyrocketed and sales doubled almost overnight.

Three years previous to the debut of Odo-ro-no, an Illinois dermatologist, Arthur W. Stillians, published a cure for profuse sweating. Dr. Stillians observes, “the knowledge that an unpleasant odor clings to one makes the sensitive person dread to meet others.” Those who suffer from hyperhidrosis will confirm Dr. Stillian’s statement. Hyperhidrosis messes up the lives of those who have it— emotionally, physically, and socially.

This was a time when people with hyperhidrosis symptoms were often dosed with X-rays. But instead of zapping his patients with dangerous radiation, Stillians offered a much better solution in the form of a revolutionary hyperhidrosis treatment: An aluminum chloride cream that could be applied three times a week to the underarms. He wrote in a medical journal of the period, “In 20 cases in which I have used this lotion, it has never failed to give relief.” It was a harbinger of things to come.

Unfortunately, both Stillian and Odo-ro-no suffered from a common problem. The aluminum chloride contained in these early products could stain clothing and irritate the skin. Stillians notes in his medical journal, “The drug is not wholly bland. For excessive use of it will cause a sharp itching or stinging sensation.”

It would be 1940 before anyone found a way to reduce the unpleasant side effects of antiperspirants made with aluminum chloride. A chemist, Jules Montenier, found a way to buffer the acidity. He filed a patent for the process and an antiperspirant product called Stopette, (great name, BTW) was introduced. In postwar America, a significant uptick in office life led to the increased popularity of deodorants and antiperspirants. In the early 1950’s, roll-ons were born. Aerosol products hit store shelves in the late 1960’s. Today the deodorant and antiperspirant market is almost $76 billion worldwide.

It’s worth noting that while Everdry was the first antiperspirant, deodorants were actually introduced much earlier. They smelled nice but didn’t stop sweating. In the 1860’s, doctors found that certain chemicals used as disinfectants could eliminate body odor. A commercially available disinfectant made specifically for armpits found its way into the market in 1888. It was called Mum (another great name).

In conclusion

It’s easy for people who DON’T sweat excessively to say things like “Antiperspirant is bad!”

For those who suffer with hyperhidrosis, aluminum-based antiperspirants can be life-changing (in a good way). It works non-invasively to eliminate or significantly reduce profuse sweating for millions of people around the world.

According to qualified experts, aluminum chloride is safe. It’s been tested for over eight decades. Study after study demonstrates that there is no connection between antiperspirants and breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease or any other malady. The American Cancer Society and the International Hyperhidrosis Society, among others, attest to its safety and efficacy.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a prescription-only drug designed to treat axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive armpit sweating). This hyperhirosis medicine is called Qbrexza (or Qbrexza Cloth), and it is manufactured by Dermira.

New hyperhidrosis treatments are encouraging and welcome. Let’s look at this newly approved treatment and it’s application(s) and potential side effects.

What Should Know Before Trying Qbrexza:

  • What is Qbrexza?
  • How does Qbrexza work? How does it reduce sweating?
  • How to use Qbrexza
  • Who should use Qbrexza?
  • Why is Qbrexza only available by prescription?
  • What is the difference between Qbrexza’s ingredients and clinical-strength antiperspirants like SweatBlock?
  • How is Qbrexza different from other Anticholinergic drugs (focused topical treatment vs generalized oral treatment)?
  • What are the side effects of Qbrexza?
  • Qbrexza risks and warnings
  • Where can you purchase Qbrexza?
  • Who makes Qbrexza and what do I need to know about Dermira
  • Are there Qbrexza alternatives?

Over 15 million in the United States suffer from excessive sweating ( hyperhidrosis ). Many of these people suffer in silence. And fewer than 40% ever seek help for their excessive perspiration.

☝️ Wondering why you might be sweating more than normal?
Here are 12 possible reasons people sweat so much.

Hyperhidrosis is normally not life-threatening, but it can l be profoundly life-altering. People who suffer from extreme cases of excessive sweating find that it reeks havoc on the social, emotional and occupational facets of their lives. It turns outgoing social butterflies into a cave-dwelling introverts who may feel like lighting a candle and waiting until it’s all over.

There are many treatments available for axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweating). The newest is Qbrexza Cloth. Qbrexza Cloth is a prescription drug specifically designed for topical use on the underarm area. If you sweat excessively, you might consider making a trip to your doctor to see if you are a potential candidate.

This guide is designed to answer your questions about Qbrexza: how it works and what side effects can be expected and even anticipated. What follows will help you make an informed decision.

What is Qbrexza?

Qbrexza is a medicated wipe or towelette that is topically applied to the underarms to reduce excessive armpit sweating. Available only by prescription, it is a topically applied anticholinergic medicine for the treatment of primary axillary hyperhidrosis (extreme focal sweating).

How does Qbrexza work? How does it reduce sweating?

Qbrexza contains an anticholinergic drug called glycopyrronium. Anticholinergic drugs prevent your body’s nervous system from communicating with certain other cells. In this instance, the glycopyrronium blocks your body from activating your sweat glands. As an analogy, imagine cutting the cable on your computer’s wired keyboard. Whatever you type on the keyboard will be blocked from getting to the computer because of the broken connection. That’s how Qbrexza works.

How to Use Qbrexza

The Qbrexza cloth is applied by swabbing the affected underarm area every 24 hours with a saturated wipe. If effective as intended, the medicated Qbrexza wipe will prevent armpit sweat glands from activating. Because Qbrexza is a powerful prescription drug, your doctor may have additional instructions for its safe use. As with other topical axillary hyperhidrosis treatments, Dermira recommends that Qbrexza be used only on clean, dry skin AND never on broken or irritated skin.

Should you use Qbrexza?

Qbrexza is specifically designed for those who suffer from axillary hyperhidrosis or excessive underarm sweating. As with many prescription drugs, Qbrexza is accompanied with a entourage of potential unwanted side effects and warnings. It should only be considered after you’ve exhausted all other lower-risk treatment options.

You should never use prescription drugs without first consulting your doctor. (And never use a prescription that hasn’t been prescribed for you personally.) Qbrexza’s maker also recommends its use for patients aged 9 and older. Clinical testing on children younger than 9 years is inconclusive. Its safety and effectiveness for young children are unknown.

Why is Qbrexza only available by prescription?

Qbrexza contains the active ingredient glycopyrronium, an anticholinergic drug. This drug has been previously available as an oral medication for treating diseases unrelated to hyperhidrosis. It’s use as a treatment for hyperhidrosis has been “off label” meaning that it was not specifically intended to treat excessive sweating. Neurotransmitter-blocking anticholinergic drugs like glycopyrronium were initially prescribed for the treatment of COPD, asthma, incontinence, and other types of gastrointestinal issues.

Qbrexza is the first topical application of glycopyrronium specifically intended for the treatment of hyperhidrosis. The side effect warnings for applying the drug topically are the same as when the drug is taken by mouth.

What is the difference between Qbrexza’s ingredients and clinical strength antiperspirants?

Clinical strength antiperspirants available over the counter use some form of the active ingredient aluminum chloride. It has proven effective for over 80 years and does not require a doctor’s prescription. Potential side effects of the antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride are minor, localized, and short-lived.

Because Qbrexza uses the active ingredient glycopyrronium, there are potentially very serious warnings and side effects. Other less risk-prone treatments may offer as much efficacy as Qbrexza.

How is Qbrexza different from other Anticholinergic drugs?

As mentioned before, Qbrexza is the only anticholinergic drug currently approved by the FDA specifically for the treatment of hyperhidrosis. Both the oral anticholinergic and the topical anticholinergic in Qbrexza utilize the same drug. Orally administered anticholinergics affect the entire body. The topical formulation applied locally on your armpits is intended to be more focused. Either way the anticholinergic is absorbed into your system. There is a high risk for negative side effects in both the oral and topical treatments.

What are side effects of Qbrexza?

Patients with certain medical conditions should avoid glycopyrronium, both in oral and topically-applied forms, as with Qbrexza Cloth. The use of anticholinergics for these people can have dire health consequences.

These include patients with conditions such as:

  • Glaucoma
  • Unstable cardiovascular status
  • Paralytic ileus
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Toxic megacolon
  • Sjogren’s syndrome

Caution: Dermira recommends that Qbrexza medication should not be used while taking any other anticholinergic drug. There could be a resultant additive effect that will increase the adverse side effects of other anticholinergic medications.

Possible side effects of Qbrexza

The possible side effects of Qbrexza and other anticholinergic drugs include:

  • Dry mouth. Dry mouth was the most commonly reported side effect in the clinical Qbrexza trials. 24.2% of trial subjects reported dry mouth– a 1 in 4 chance.
  • Constipation. Because anticholinergic drugs affect the central nervous system, constipation is a frequent side effect. You may need to use a laxative while using Qbrexza.
  • Urinary retention (trouble peeing). If you have a history of trouble urinating, or if you have difficulty passing urine now, or you have a distended bladder, you should proceed with great caution when considering the use of Qbrexza. If you experience any urinary troubles, tell your doctor. Anyone with bladder neck obstruction or prostatic hypertrophy should exercise extreme caution. When Qbrexza was tested in the clinical trials, people who had a history of any urinary retention problems were excluded from the study.
  • Blurred vision. in the clinical trials of Qbrexza, mydriasis or dilation of the pupils in the eyes was reported nearly 7% of study participants. This is why it’s dangerous to drive or operate machinery. Be careful and safe. If you experience any vision problems while using Qbrexza, immediately discontinue activity until your vision clears. It will pass. Wait it out.
  • Head and throat pain. Head and/or throat pain was reported by 5.7% clinical study participants. Dry throat without specific pain was also noted.
  • Burning and itchy skin. Skin irritations are frequently experienced by users of anticholinergics. Localized skin reactions at the site of the application in the armpits were not uncommon in the Qbrexza clinical trial. These included erythema (redness) by 17.0% of study participants, some burning or stinging sensations by 14.1% of participants and pruritus or severe itching was experienced by 8.1% of those in the study.
  • Dry skin, mouth, and eyes. Also common side effects from anticholinergic use.
  • Body temperature control. Qbrexza users will experience reduced sweating. Heat stroke and hyperpyrexia can occur when you don’t sweat enough to cool your body. If you become overheated while minimally sweating or you stop sweating all together, seek out a doctor’s help immediately.
  • Anticholinergic Syndrome. Anticholinergic syndrome is the result of an overdose of anticholinergic drugs. It can cause central inhibition, which leads to a hyperactive, agitated state of delirium, accompanied by feelings of confusion and restlessness. Poking at imaginary objects is a common symptom of anticholinergic syndrome.

If you’re using Qbrexza or any other anticholinergic drug, be watchful for these tell-tale symptoms:

  • 1. Hot, dry skin with a flushed appearance
  • 2. Dilated pupils in your eyes (mydriasis)
  • 3. Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • 4. Constipation and decreased bowel sounds
  • 5. Difficulty urinating

Anticholinergic syndrome ranges in severity from mild to life-threatening seizures, coma, and even cardiovascular toxicity.

Qbrexza Risks and Warnings

If you are taking any of the following medications, it is important to talk to your doctor as there could be dangerous drug interactions:

  • Antihistamines (cold medicines) such as Cyproheptadine, Chlorpheniramine, Promethazine, Doxylamine, or Diphenhydramine
  • An antitussive (cough medicine) like Dextromethorphan
  • Tricyclic antidepressants like Doxepin, Amitriptyline (often used for migraines), or Imipramine
  • Antipsychotics like Olanzapine, Quetiapine, Haloperidol, Droperidol, or Chlorpromazine
  • Anticonvulsants like Carbamazepine
  • Antiemetics (travel sickness medicine) like scopolamine (brand name Hyoscine)
  • Topical ophthalmoplegics (for optical migraines) such as Homatropine and Cyclopentolate

In addition, contact with certain plants can trigger negative side effects. Be careful using Qbrexza wipes in proximity to any of the family of nightshade plants (also known as Atropa belladonna), mandrake root, jimson weed, lupin beans, and Angel’s Trumpet (also known as Datura).

Other Warnings include…

  • Pregnancy. There is currently no available data on the use of Qbrexza medication for pregnant women. It is not possible to determine the potential risk associated with this drug for adverse developmental outcomes for the fetus.
  • Lactation (breast feeding) There is currently no data available on the how the presence of glycopyrrolate in human milk may affect an infant or what the effects would be on the mother’s milk production. Developmental benefits of infant breastfeeding should be considered.
  • Renal Impairment (kidney disease) The ability to eliminate glycopyrronium will be impaired for any patient with a diagnosis of kidney disease or renal failure.

Qbrexza effectiveness

The long-term clinical studies assessed the safety of using Qbrexza over the period of one year.

When compared to participants who received placebos, the patients dosing with Qbrexza did report significant improvement. The severity of excessive sweating was reduced. The quality of life improved with what was considered to be a mild to moderate range of side effects.

Between 72% and 77% of participants reported a reduction in excessive perspiration. The patients who experienced a reduction in underarm sweating reported at least a 50% reduction in the sweat volume.

Who makes Qbrexza and what should I know about Dermira?

Dermira is the manufacturer of Qbrexza. It is a specialty biopharmaceutical development-stage biotech company. It focuses on the development and commercialization of innovative therapies and differentiated products in dermatology. The company is based in the San Francisco Bay area of California, in Menlo Park.

When will Qbrexza be available?

Dermira made Qbrexza available via prescription in early October of 2018.

Are there Qbrexza alternatives?

For the millions of people that suffer from excessive sweating, there is an entire gamut of hyperhidrosis treatments that have proven safe and effective. Some may provide lasting relief without using an anticholinergic with it’s associated risks and side effects. Qbrexza alternatives include:

  • Lifestyle remedies including regular bathing, choosing the right clothing and using an underarm antiperspirant or deodorant. There are even special tee shirts that absorb or block sweat.
  • Clinical strength antiperspirants like SweatBlock. These can safely and effectively stop profuse sweating for up to 7 days with no serious side effects. SweatBlock provides dependable relief for sufferers of all forms of primary hyperhidrosis.
  • Prescription strength antiperspirants. These have the highest allowable concentration of aluminum chloride (or similar).
  • Botox injections
  • Microwave treatments that destroy targeted sweat glands. Painful and effective but expensive.
  • Iontophoresis. These treatments for excessive sweating of the hands or feet use low voltage electrical current to drive medications, often anticholinergics, through the skin.
  • Sweat gland removal surgery. A last resort option where sweat glands are permanently removed. Highly invasive and expensive.

Whatever the extent of your sweating problem, there is a viable treatment that can provide relief. Qbrexza is a new, powerful drug that can reduce or eliminate underarm perspiration. But, it’s active ingredient, glycopyrronium, brings with it the high likelihood of unwanted, perhaps even serious, side effects.

Before you go down the road of prescription antiperspirants or hyperhidrosis medications like Qbrexza, try SweatBlock. It’s a strong antiperspirant that doesn’t require prescriptions or come with a long list of scary side effects. Try SweatBlock risk free today.

What causes excessive sweating? Unpredictable, profuse sweating can be head scratching. And like some things… there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.

Heavy sweating can be caused by overactive sweat glands, genetics, climate, anxiety, or a prescription medication you’re taking.

Excess sweat can also be a symptom of something more serious. In this article we’ll explore some of the reasons you might be sweating a lot.

Why Does My Body Sweat So Much?

Producing sweat is how your body regulates your overall body temperature. Basically, any time your body temperature rises, you produce sweat, which helps cool your body down to normal temperature.

Because your body produces sweat any time your internal temperature rises, there are several things that could impact the amount of sweat you produce, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Hormone levels
  • Outside temperatures
  • Medications
  • Physical activity

Your body is always sweating — even when you don’t feel it. If you’re lucky, the sweat your body produces evaporates quickly. But if you produce a lot of sweat, it won’t evaporate as it’s produced, and you’ll start to see small droplets on your skin.

You have more than three million sweat glands on your body, so sweat can be produced pretty much anywhere. However, some parts of your body — such as your underarms, the soles of your feet, your groin area, and the palms of your hands — have more sweat glands than other areas. That’s why you might see more sweat production in those areas.

Medical Conditions That Can Cause Excessive Sweating

  • Endocarditis
  • Diabetic hypoglycemia
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Fever of undetermined cause
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Heart attack
  • Leukemia
  • Hyperhidrosis
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Menopause
  • Stress
  • Tuberculosis
  • Obesity

Can Excessive Sweating Be Cured?

While we’d love to tell you there’s a sure-fire cure for excessive sweating, we just can’t. Body chemistry, sweat severity, diet, anxiety levels, and medications can all impact our sweating. Which makes finding that one-size-fits-all cure pretty difficult.

However, there are treatments and lifestyle changes that can help you sweat less.

If you sweat a lot, consider a clinical strength antiperspirant. While not a permanent fix, antiperspirants (not deodorants) can provide temporary relief while you explore a longer term solution to your excessive sweating.

If you’ve tried different home remedies and clinical-strength antiperspirants and haven’t found anything that works, you should consider consulting your doctor for advice. In some cases, doctors and/or dermatologists might prescribe an anticholinergic to help reduce the amount of sweat your body produces. This medication is either prescribed in pill or cream form — depending on which part of your body sweats a lot. For excessive head sweating, some dermatologists use botox injections as a treatment. The botulinum toxin freezes the glands in the treated area so they don’t produce sweat.

Beta-blockers (propranolol) and benzodiazepines also may be prescribed if your excessive sweating is a result of anxiety. While these don’t reduce the amount of sweat you produce, they do help control your anxiety levels, which in turn, reduces sweat production.

Does Sweating Too Much Lead to Dehydration?

You become dehydrated when your body loses more water than you consume. So if you are profusely sweating on a regular basis and you aren’t drinking enough water to replenish the amount your body loses, you could become dehydrated. Normal, non-active people should drink between eight and 12 glasses of water per day. But if you sweat excessively on a regular basis, you should consider increasing your water intake slightly. Even an extra glass or two of water per day could keep you from becoming dehydrated.

What Causes Excessive Sweating on the Head, Neck, and Face?

Facial sweating is common, but it certainly isn’t desirable. In fact, many people battling excessive sweating have the hardest time coping with the stuff that develops on their face and/or neck — mostly because it’s difficult to hide.

Medical conditions, such as diabetes or chronic heart conditions, can cause you to sweat on the head, neck, and/or face, but this type is also caused by anxiety or nerves. Additionally, when it comes to excessive head sweating your diet could be the problem. You should consider eliminating any hard-to-digest foods from your diet to see if that solves your problem.

What Causes Extreme Armpit Sweating?

Excessive underarm sweating is the pits! No one wants to be known at work as the guy or gal with pit stains. Unfortunately, there isn’t one specific cause for extreme underarm sweating. Like other types, it can be caused by a medical condition, nervousness, medications, or overactive sweat glands.

It is important to note that there are more sweat glands on your underarm area. So when your body produces sweat, you’re likely to notice it more there than you would elsewhere on your body. The good news is, with the help of a good antiperspirant, most of the sweat your underarm area produces can be kept at bay.

Will Excessive Sweating Stop After Puberty?

Sometimes excessive sweating is caused by overactive hormones, which is why teenagers, pregnant women, and women in menopause typically sweat more than the average person. The good news is, this also means that if your sweating is caused by overactive hormones, it could stop after puberty. Once the hormones in your body settle down a bit, your body won’t produce as much sweat. In the meantime, consider using a clinical-strength antiperspirant, such as SwaetBlock towelettes, to control the amount of sweat our body produces.

Common Health Problems Associated With Excessive Sweating

Before you decide the best way to stop excessive sweating, you need to determine the cause of the problem. For most people, the cause is simply overactive sweat glands. But sweating a lot can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

Is Excessive Sweating a Sign of Diabetes?

Excessive sweating is one of several symptoms of diabetes. However, diabetes typically causes very specific types of sweating, all of which are common. So you should consult your doctor to determine whether or not diabetes is really your problem.

Night sweats are common in people with diabetes. They are often caused by low blood sugar levels. However, exercising close to bedtime and drinking alcohol in the evening can also cause you to have night sweats. People with diabetes also commonly experience normal hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), but it’s typically only one of several symptoms. Gustatory sweating is unique to diabetes, though. So if you find yourself breaking a sweat when you’re eating or drinking, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Is Excessive Sweating a Sign of Pregnancy?

Pregnancy hormones and the added weight gain from your pregnancy can both cause a bit of excessive sweating. Once you have the baby and your hormones regulate again, the amount of sweating your body produces should go back to normal though.

In the meantime, try drinking more water. It helps keep you hydrated and regulate your body temperature, which can help reduce the amount of sweat your body produces. Also, try your best to wear lightweight clothing and stay out of the heat. Anything you can do to keep cool will help prevent sweating.

Is Excessive Sweating a Sign of Cancer?

Night sweating is a sign of certain types of cancer such as:

  • carcinoid tumors
  • leukemia
  • lymphoma
  • bone cancer
  • liver cancer
  • mesothelioma

However, you shouldn’t assume that you have cancer just because you sweat more at night. Night sweating is actually really common, and people who experience night seat caused by cancer usually have other symptoms of the disease as well such as rapid weight loss and unexplained fevers.

Is Excessive Sweating a Sign of Heart Disease?

Excessive sweating can be a sign of heart disease. This type of sweating is caused because your body has to work extra hard to push your blood through the clogged arteries in your heart. Even though excessive sweating is one symptom of heart disease, it’s important to note that heart disease usually causes cold sweats and clammy skin. So if you suddenly start randomly breaking out in cold sweats that make your skin feel clammy, you should consult your doctor for further testing.

Medications and Excessive Sweating

If you’ve started a new medication, and then, noticed that you’ve started sweating a lot more, the medicine could be the cause of your problem. Not all medications can cause sweating, though. The side effect is typically associated with painkillers, antidepressants, cardiovascular drugs, and hormonal drugs.

Antidepressants are one of the most common medications that cause sweating. In fact, about 19 percent of people taking an SSRI or SBRI antidepressant report increased amounts of sweating. So if you’re taking Celexa, Zoloft, Prozac, Paxil, Luvox, Lexapro, or Symbyax, and you’ve started breaking out in sweats, you may want to discuss other options with your doctor.

Even though increased sweat production is a sign of a hormonal imbalance, it can also be caused by the medication you take to balance your hormones out. This includes thyroid regulators, endocrine hormones, testosterone drugs, vasopressins, and certain types of birth control, specifically Depo-Provera.

Excessive sweating is also a side effect of analgesic painkillers such as Vicodin, Methadone, OxyContin, Vioxx, Ultram, Celebrex, and any fentanyl-based drug. While it’s most often associated with withdrawal, these medications can cause you to sweat while you take them. Prescription Midol and Aleve can also cause you to sweat more than normal. The good news is, there are other painkillers available. If one of these options increases the amount of sweat you produce, talk to your doctor about switching to prescription-strength IB Profen, Tylenol, or another non-narcotic painkiller.

Medications That Can Cause Excessive Sweating

  • Painkillers
  • Hormonal medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Cardiovascular drugs

Lastly, there are 17 classes of cardiovascular drugs that can cause you to sweat profusely. Some of the more common medications include Norvasc, Digitek, Cardura, Zestril, Altace, and Bumex.

When to See a Doctor

Even though hyperhidrosis is annoying and embarrassing, it isn’t a condition that’s medically serious. You should consult your doctor if you are having trouble treating the condition on your own, using clinical-strength antiperspirants and other home remedies. Your doctor may be able to give you a prescription medication or cream that will help you. However, most doctors and dermatologists suggest their patients use clinical-strength antiperspirants before trying prescription-strength medicine.

If you believe that your excessive sweating is caused by a more severe medical condition, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible. If this is the case, you would probably notice all-over body sweating, because it’s more associated with other medical conditions than sweating in one part of your body. Also, there’s a good chance you’ll have other signs of the illness as well. Regardless, no one knows your body the way you do, so if you’re concerned that the excessive sweating you’re experiencing is caused by something more severe, go to the doctor.

If you’re taking medication and you think that medication is causing your excessive sweating, you should also talk to your doctor. You never know, your doctor may be able to suggest a similar medication that doesn’t make you sweat a lot.

The fact is, excessive sweating is always annoying. It can be really embarrassing too. But with a combination of clinical-strength antiperspirants, such as SweatBlock, and your doctor’s recommendations, you can reduce the amount of sweat your body produces.

There are 4-5 million sweat glands on the human body. Over 250,000 of those sweat glands reside on your feet. It’s no surprise that sweat and stink find their way between your toes and in your tennis shoes.

The smell, slipping, sliding, blisters and infection are just a few of the side effects of sweaty feet. For those who suffer with plantar hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating of the feet), things only get worse.

18 Ways to Stop Sweaty Feet

If you’re tired of soggy socks and toe-curling foot odor, follow these tips to help prevent sweaty and stinky feet.

1. Wash your feet daily

Wash your feet daily with an antibacterial soap. Dirty, sweaty feet attract bacteria which can lead to foot odor.

2. Stop Sweat with Foot Antiperspirant

With all those sweat glands hanging out on your feet, sweat can come fast and furious. A strong antiperspirant for feet is one of the best ways to stop unwanted sweat.

3. Use a Foot Deodorant Spray

Stinky feet go hand-in-hand with with sweaty feet. Once you get foot sweat under control with a foot antiperspirant, de-stink your feet with a foot deodorant spray. The best foot deodorants can be directly applied to smelly feet and stinky shoes.

4. Use Foot Powder to Keep Feet Dry & Fungus Free

After cleaning your feet, apply an anti-fungal foot powder. This will help reduce wetness from sweat and control foot odor.

5. Use an Alcohol Wipe Reduce Sweating

Wipe down your feet with an alcohol wipe to close up your pores and reduce sweating temporarily. Do this before you put on your socks and shoes for the day.

6. Use Cornstarch to Absorb Sweat and Keep Feet Dry

Like foot powders, cornstarch can absorb sweat and keep your feet dry and comfortable. Sprinkle clean feet with cornstarch and let sit for a few minutes before putting on shoes and socks.

7. Put Baking Soda in Your Shoes

After you remove your shoes, put some baking soda in them to soak up excess moisture. This prevents nasty smelling bacteria from festering.

8. Choose the Right Shoes

Wear breathable shoes if possible. Shoes with poor ventilation won’t do your sweaty feet any favors. Avoid plastic and leather shoes. And … always wear socks. (but never with sandals. PLEASE!)

9. Keep Shoes Dry to Prevent Bacteria Build-up

Alternate shoes to give them time to dry out. Dry shoes are less likely to be stinky shoes.

10. Wear Socks, Wear the Right Socks

If you’re wearing closed toe-shoes, you need to wear socks — clean, dry, socks. Change your socks daily and avoid wearing cotton socks. The best socks for sweaty feet are going to be breathable, moisture-wicking socks. Wool, bamboo, and anti-bacterial materials are all good options for preventing sweaty feet.

11. Diet and Exercise

Eating a healthy diet and avoiding spicy, processed, fatty foods can help reduce sweating. More water and less coffee (or caffeine) can also help.

Foot sweating is largely influenced by emotional stress. So, keeping stress to a minimum is in your best interest. Regular exercise and relaxation techniques can help manage stress before it turns into pools of sweat in your shoes.

12. Soaking Feet in Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a great home remedy for sweaty feet and stinky feet. It’s a natural astringent (tightens skin and closes pores) which can help reduce sweat — just like an antiperspirant. But it also keeps foot odor away with its antifungal and antibacterial properties.

Use a cotton ball to apply the vinegar to problem areas of your feet or you can do an apple cider vinegar soak. Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar, 1 part water, and 1/2 part baking soda in a large bowl or basin. Then soak for your feet for 15-20 minutes. This also works for sweaty hands.

13. Soaking Feet in Tea (Black or Sage Tea)

Like apple cider vinegar, black and sage tea are natural astringents. Many people claim that sage tea is one of the best remedies for sweaty feet and sweaty hands.

Just add 4 – 5 tea bags to a quart of boiling water. Once cooled, soak your feet for 15-20 minutes. Some report that drinking the tea can also be helpful in combating foot sweat.

14. Exfoliate Feet

This is more of a stinky feet remedy. Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from your body. Odor causing bacteria love to feed on these dead skin cells. Use an exfoliating brush or glove on your feet 2-3 times a week to help keep bacteria away.

15. Lemon Juice

Use cotton balls to apply fresh lemon juice to the soles of your feet before putting on your shoes and socks. It helps to close your pores and prevent sweating. Lemon juice can also work as a natural deodorant.

16. Prescription Strength Antiperspirant

Clinical strength antiperspirants can be very effective in treating hand and foot sweating. Antiperspirant works by plugging up your pores and blocking sweat. By blocking the sweat, it can also prevent bad foot odor.

17. Iontophoresis Treatment

If antiperspirant doesn’t stop foot perspiration, Iontophoresis might be a good option. It’s been used for over 50 years to treat excessive sweating of the hands and feet. Iontophoresis works by using electrical currents to drive medication into the skin surface. It’s similar to an injection, but without the needles. Iontophoresis machines can be purchased and used in home. (cost ranges from $300-$1000)

18. Botox Injections (Botulinum Toxin)

Botox injections temporarily block the chemicals that activate the nerves that cause sweating. Affected areas of your feet will receive enough injections to ensure that all the nerves have been treated. The desired effects will last 3-4 months. Then treatments must be repeated. Botox injections for plantar hyperhidrosis (excessive foot sweating) can be very painful.

What Causes Sweaty Feet?

Sweating is an essential part of our body’s cooling system. To regulate body temperature, the body releases excess heat via sweat glands in the form of sweat. Our feet are not exempt from this process.

In fact, our feet have more sweat glands per inch than any other part of the body. That’s over 250,000 sweat glands on just your feet. The feet alone will produce roughly half a pint of sweat daily.

So, even if you don’t have an extreme sweating problem, you’ll likely still sweat quite a bit on your feet.

But there are things that can cause more-than-normal sweating on your feet. Your genes, for example, could be the main reason you sweat more than normal (thanks a lot mom and dad).

Your shoes, socks, diet, and emotional stress levels can also dictate how much your feet sweat.

One thing to note is that sweat glands on the soles of your feet respond mostly to your emotions. So people who are prone to anxiety, get nervous easily or have a lot of emotional stress are more likely to have sweaty feet.

For some people, foot sweat flows in niagra-like proportions. For others, sweating is unpredictable and happens regardless of physical activity or temperature. This type of extreme sweating is called Plantar Hyperhidrosis (or excessive foot sweating).

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Hyperhidrosis is abnormally excessive sweating that’s not necessarily related to heat or exercise.”

The most common types of hyperhidrosis are:

  • Craniofacial Hyperhidrosis (Head and Face Sweating)
  • Axillary Hyperhidrosis (Sweaty Armpits)
  • Palmar Hyperhidrosis (Sweaty Palms & Hands)
  • Plantar Hyperhidrosis (Sweaty Feet)

Think you might have plantar hyperhidrosis? Consult with your doctor about possible causes and best treatment options. Hyperhidrosis could be a side effect of certain medications or a symptom of more serious health conditions (i.e. diabetes, cancer, heart failure)

What Causes Stinky Feet?

Sweat isn’t the sole contributor to foul smelling foot odor. When the bacteria on your skin mingles with sweat, it causes that “stinky feet” smell (bromhidrosis).

For most people, the odor doesn’t start out strong. But over time, the smell gets locked into your shoes, and then, mixes with more sweat and bacteria.

Sweat + Bacteria = Stinky Feet

If you’re prone to anxiety or your hormones are out of whack, it only exacerbates the sweating and odor. That’s why teenagers have such sweet smelling feet (sarcasm alert).

How to prevent sweaty feet in shoes

If you wear tennis shoes, loafers, or similar closed-toe shoes, it’s important to keep them clean and dry. Sweat and odor can build up as you sweat each day. Alternating your shoes every day can give them time to dry out and reduce bacteria.

To help keep your feet from sweating while wearing this type of shoe, consider putting a bit of baby powder into your socks.

If you prefer, you can also use anti fungal foot powder, which you can purchase at amazon or most drug stores. It will help absorb the moisture and odor causing bacteria.

Also, when you take the shoes off, put a bit of baking soda inside them to absorb left-behind moisture and neutralize the smell.

There are also stinky shoe home remedies you can try if your favorite pair of sneakers are already smelling a bit ripe. We recommend things like deodorizing sprays, tea bags and even old socks filled with cat litter.

How to prevent sweaty feet in flats and heels

If you have overly sweaty feet, you probably avoid wearing flats because they aren’t worn with socks — which helps keep moisture at bay. And of course, when it comes to heels, your options are pretty much limited to strappy dress sandals or nothing. Don’t worry! You don’t have to avoid those cute ballet flats or edgy stilettos anymore.

Try soaking your feet in a 1:1 mixture of white vinegar and hot water three times per week to keep the smell away. Then, apply rubbing alcohol to the bottom of your feet before putting on your flats to help close the pores and prevent sweating. You can also use SweatBlock antiperspirant towelettes instead of rubbing alcohol.

Common Problems Caused by Sweaty Feet

Did you know sweaty feet can actually cause other problems? Basically, when your feet sweat a lot, they end up sitting in excess moisture all day long.

It’s the perfect environment for infection to breed — and some of them are pretty darn serious! And, if you have excessively sweaty feet, you’re probably more prone getting warts and blisters too.

Can sweaty feet cause athlete’s foot?

Sweat doesn’t cause athlete’s foot, but sweaty feet could lead to it if you aren’t careful. Athlete’s foot is actually a fungal infection. It’s caused when the bacteria on your feet mingles with moisture for too long.

You’re more likely to get athlete’s foot if you wear wet shoes and socks for long periods of time. By taking steps to prevent your feet from sweating too much, you lower the risk of getting athlete’s foot immensely.

Keep in mind, athlete’s foot is really easy to catch if you come in contact with the fungus directly — and because you have naturally sweaty feet, the infection is more likely to grow and spread.

So instead of going barefoot outside, at the gym, in public showers, and at swimming pools, wear flip-flops to protect your feet!

Can sweaty feet cause itching?

When most people think of skin itching, they think of dry skin. But moisture can make your skin itch too. So yes, excess sweat can cause your feet to itch. However, once you’ve washed and dried your feet, the itching should stop. The only exception to this rule would be if the added moisture causes the skin on your feet to dry out.

Keep in mind, excess sweat isn’t the only thing that can cause your feet to itch. Athlete’s foot, allergic reactions, and scabies are also common causes. So if your feet itch a lot or itch consistently, regardless of what you do, you should have a doctor examine you.

Can sweaty feet cause trench foot?

Trench foot is a serious condition that’s caused by prolonged exposure to cold and wetness. But because it depends more on the water exposure than the cold, it’s possible for people to get trench foot in the dessert too. This condition can cause nerve damage and low blood circulation, which could result in amputation if not treated.

However, you have to remember that it’s prolonged exposure to moisture that causes it. That means it takes awhile to develop. Basically, you won’t get trench foot from wearing sweaty tennies one day. You can avoid this condition by removing wet shoes and socks as soon as possible, and then, cleanse and dry your feet.

Wrap Up

Sweaty feet aren’t fun. And the resulting foot odor is even less fun. Try some of the tips above and grab yourself a foot antiperspirant like this one. If you don’t get the results you’re looking for, talk to your doctor about Botox Injections or Iontophoresis Treatment.