Don't Sweat It: Perspiration Reduction Procedures
Nothing can ruin a day like the telltale signs of excessive sweating.
If you aren’t even working out and are sweating through your dress on a regular basis, chances are you are sweating more than you should be. It’s an embarrassing problem to have, but you aren’t alone. Excessive sweating affects one out of every five adults between the ages of 18-49, or approximately 30 million people, says Dr. Anthony Youn, a Detroit-based plastic surgeon.
While we all sweat and need to, (it is after all an important internal body function,) it has its place. Gym, fine. Going for a run, great! But on a date? At the office? No thank you!
And while there are several ways to deal with normal levels of sweat (if you’ve ever had too much caffeine or extra-spicy food you know it just makes it worse and you should avoid those) something beyond what is deemed normal may require a visit to your doctor to truly get the situation under control. Dr. Youn explains why, below.
Are there ideal times during the day to apply antiperspirant and what types should we be using?
The most effective antiperspirants contain either aluminum chloride or aluminum zirconium. Antiperspirants don't work well if you are already sweating, so some doctors recommend applying it at night so it works first thing in the morning if you perspire heavily. If you don’t, then applying in the morning after your shower should be fine.
Armpits aren't there only place we sweat. How can we protect other areas?
Some areas are hard to protect from sweating, such as the feet and the hands. Powders can help with feet sweating, but there isn't much, short of Botox, that can help with excessive hand sweating.
I've heard Botox can limit excessive sweating? How effective is that? For how long does it work in a targeted area?
Botox is a very effective, albeit temporary (up to 6 months), and an expensive (up to $1,000 per treatment) option to treat excessive armpit sweating. It works in most people, and is even more effective if an iodine starch test is tried beforehand. This test is used to identify areas of excess sweating so Botox is injected in areas where it is needed. This reduces the number of injections and cost of the procedure. The test involves applying iodine to an area, leaving it to dry then sprinkling powdered starch over it. If the starch combines with iodine to produce a dark blue color this is an indication of excessive sweating.
What other options are available?
MiraDry® is a newer treatment for armpit sweating. It uses microwave energy to permanently destroy sweat glands. The MiraDry® system was shown to be safe and received FDA approval in 2011. Most patients see more than an 85% reduction in armpit sweating after two treatments. Pain is minimal, and most patients can work the next day. MiraDry® costs approximately $3,000. It also appears to improve armpit odor and even reduce armpit hair at the same time!
If you’re suffering from an excessive sweat, there’s no need to suffer unnecessarily. Clearly there are options are at your disposal to eliminate the pesky perspiration problem, either temporarily or permanently – so don’t sweat it!