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How to Treat Excessive Sweating

Ep 24: Excessive Sweating? Hyperhidrosis Symptoms & Treatment

Hi guys, this is Dr. Teo Wan Lin, and welcome to this week’s dermatology flash briefing. This episode is brought to you by Dermadry. Their iontophoresis machine is an all-natural, non-invasive, needle-free, and drug-free treatment option for palmoplantar and axillary hyperhidrosis that has revolutionized conventional hyperhidrosis treatment.

Now to begin with – we’re going to be talking about hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis is a medical term referring to the condition of excessive sweating. This can occur over the palms and the soles, and also areas of skin folds known as the flexures. Such as the axilla, under the breast and groin. When it occurs on the face, it is facial hyperhidrosis. These are the areas where sweat glands are the most active.

Hyperhidrosis can lead to…

Some issues associated with palmoplantar hyperhidrosis in particular would include social embarrassment, difficulty with certain activities, such as writing in cases of severe hyperhidrosis because of excessive sweaty palms. The key thing about palmoplantar hyperhidrosis, is that it can significantly interfere with activities such as playing sports. For example, in racquet sports, one may find it difficult to hold on and to even grip the racquet. This can also be the case for ball games. Furthermore, it can lead to leaving wet patches on the steering wheel or on the keyboard. Even in a casual social setting,  it is embarrassing having to shake hands when your palms are excessively sweaty.

For school-going children who may have to write for routine homework and especially for exams, this can be debilitating as the wetness can cause difficulty in gripping pens and even cause smudged, illegible writing. If your job requires direct contact with instruments, or in the case of a kitchen worker, it could even be dangerous because lack of grip when using knives can cause accidents.

The psychosocial effect of hyperhidrosis

Now we have seen how excessive sweating especially of the palms and soles can significantly interfere with activities of daily living. What I wish to highlight as a dermatologist is that it can also cause the individual to be extremely self-conscious, a source of chronic social embarrassment that can affect one’s psychosocial wellbeing and quality of life.

Unfortunately this is a vicious cycle. The ensuing anxiety of having palmoplantar hyperhidrosis can worsen the condition because of the hormonal regulation that occurs with the sweat glands— leading to a self perpetuating cycle where one is anxious about this condition, a state that brings on the symptoms even more.

Climate can worsen symptoms

Also, the accumulation of sweat in a tropical humid climate for example, can worsen the growth of bacteria, and this predisposes to certain skin infections such as the flexural areas, due to the bacterial skin infection for example, corynebacterium. When this occurs over the axilla, it is erythrasma. Pitted keratolysis is a condition affecting the palms and soles, presenting as little pits on the skin. This is due to bacterial infection, and there is an association with palmoplantar hyperhidrosis.

Individuals with excessive sweating may develop eczema, because the persistent moisture, especially in tropical humid climates can cause skin irritation. When it occurs over the skin folds,  it can lead to a condition known as intertrigo.

Hyperhidrosis is also a risk factor for bromhidrosis, the medical term for body odor. This is due to accumulation of moisture in a humid, occlusive environment and subsequent bacterial proliferation. This is also socially embarrassing.

Hyperhidrosis treatment options

Moving on to treatment, individuals who have palmoplantar hyperhidrosis are often under the care of a dermatologist. The first line treatment is usually with aluminium chloride -based topicals which aim to reduce sweating. One of the biggest problems associated with it is skin dryness, especially an issue with those suffering from eczema. Even those who do not have eczema can develop hand and feet eczema after using aluminium chloride topicals for hyperhidrosis. One of the most effective interventions for palmoplantar hyperhidrosis today would be tap water iontophoresis. However, as this usually means attending a dermatologist’s office for the procedure, there is significant non-compliance and lack of effectiveness. 

Science behind an iontophoresis device

Dermadry has developed a home-use iontophoresis device that reduces the activity of the sweat glands with regular treatment, that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of palmar, plantar, and axillary hyperhidrosis.

The difference of tap water iontophoresis being conducted as an in-clinic treatment, versus a home device- lies in the convenience, accessibility and ease of use in the latter. This directly translates into compliance, saved costs and better disease control. This can improve psychosocial wellbeing significantly in an individual suffering from palmoplantar hyperhidrosis. In a study published in the Journal of the Canadian Dermatology Association, it was found that patients with palmoplantar hyperhidrosis were non-compliant with tap water iontophoresis mainly because of the inconvenience and lack of time. The recommendation of the dermatologists involved was to encourage them to have a home device for maintenance.

Home device for treatment

Dermadry is a solution for excessive sweating of the hands, feet, and underarms—the three zones most commonly affected by hyperhidrosis. Their home-use device is able to control hyperhidrosis symptoms in as little as a few treatments. Each session lasts between 15 to 20 minutes and can provide up to six weeks of dryness at a time. An easy-to-follow treatment schedule must be maintained, and their user-friendly instruction manual even lays out the treatment schedule for you, according to your level of hyperhidrosis. Additionally, Dermadry is a very compact and portable home-use device that can be conveniently used and stored away.

You can easily incorporate Dermadry into your schedule as part of your daily or nightly self-care routine, or use it while watching your favourite show, reading a book, or simply relaxing. Their home-use iontophoresis device improves patient compliance, overall wellbeing and quality of life, and reduces the need for in-person visits for iontophoresis treatments. Overall, it is a cost-efficient and effective treatment option for a chronic disease that affects millions of people worldwide.

Well that’s it for this week’s dermatology flash briefing. Find out more about Dermadry by visiting their website dermadry.com and following them @dermadry on instagram. Thank you guys for listening in and till the next episode!

This podcast episode is sponsored by Dermadry as a joint collaboration to create scientific educational content relevant to skincare and dermatology.

Excessive Sweating? Hyperhidrosis Symptoms & Treatment