I have a male client who travels regularly to Dubai on business and used to go through five shirts a day because of his excessive sweating. Dark patches would appear under his arms whilst the back of the shirt would become discoloured and stick to his skin. His clothes buying and laundry bills were sky high, and there was no chance he could get away with travelling light because of the number of shirts he had to pack. I have another client who profuse perspiration caused him problems in meetings when nerves caused sweat to drip from his forehead, and he has often seen people judiciously wiping away his sweat after shaking his hand.
Excessive sweating is medically known as Hyperhidrosis. The condition affects 2-3% of us, both men and women, and can affect the armpits, face scalp, head, neck, back and groin, as well as the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.
At one end of the spectrum I have menopausal women who experience hot flushes and complain that they are drenched with sweat which can be very distressing, and I have clients whose hair goes frizzy or lank because of their sweaty scalps.
Profuse sweating is not only induced by hot weather, but can be brought on by stress or anxiety. This occurs when the nerves responsible for triggering the sweat glands become overactiveand call for more perspiration, even when it’s not needed. It can also be brought about by eating spicy food or drinking alcohol. Not only can this lead to intense embarrassment, discomfort and distressing body odour for the sufferer, but for those who come into contact with them.
10 tips and hints to help avoid or tackle your excessive sweating
- Chose cotton over synthetic fibres
- Wear light coloured clothing which don’t betray the sweat signs
- Opt for loose, flowing fabrics over tight fitting styles
- Try sweat-wicking clothing – from outer wear to underwear
- Change your clothes after every sweat
- Consider body hair removal
- Don’t use deodorant, instead look into sweat-wicking powders or baby powder
- Avoid food and drinks which induce sweating – note your triggers in a food diary
- If your sweating is triggered by stress and anxiety look for ways to mitigate this – yoga, mindfulness, meditation could all help
- Consider botulinum toxin injections in the affected areas
Hyperydrosis can be treated using a series of small injections of botulinum toxin into the affected areas. Botulinum toxin is better known for its wrinkle smoothing ability, however it is also approved by the FDA for excessive underarm sweating. The drug blocks the impulses between nerves that message a sweat gland to activate and the gland itself. This prevents the sweat glands from over producing and will prevent any excess sweating in the treated areas.
In addition to all the clinical cases I tackle, I have recently introduced a new treatment at Skin South West we call ‘Blowtox’ for people whose hair goes frizzy or lank due to excess scalp and neck sweating – either when they exercise, are going through the menopause or in hot weather.
The results of treatment with botulinum toxin for hyperhidrosis will become evident after approximately seven days, and last up to six months, after which another course of treatment can be carried out.