I would like to share my experience of Iontophoresis with you, in the hope that it may be useful to somebody who was in a desperate situation like me. I realise this is quite a long story as I talk about my situation before treatment. If you just want to read about my method in using Iontophoresis to effectively treat facial sweating then feel free to skip to the last two paragraphs.
I have suffered with excessive sweating since puberty, not realising until somebody pointed it out to me and then becoming increasingly conscious about it. The area that affects and bothers me most is my face, with a little bit of heat/exercise/nervousness sweat starts building above my lips and on my forehead. Even walking a short distance or walking up the stairs! Something that has resulted in me avoiding any situation which I deem likely to make me sweat in front of people. The trouble is that the anxiety it caused and that I felt before any situation made me sweat which made me more anxious. So, I completely understand how restrictive this condition can be, and also misunderstood by people that don’t consider sweating a big issue.
I didn’t consider any treatments for this until I was about 25, I looked at internet forums and read about anti-perspirants and surgery. I was disappointed to find that these were either aimed more towards other areas of the body and not facial sweating, or very drastic operations. I went to my GP who prescribed me with ‘Driclor’ (Which I still have 2 years later and should probably throw out), I first used ‘Driclor’ when I started a new job, I remember on my first day going to wipe the sweat from my face but it not being there, I was sweating in other areas but it didn’t matter because my face was dry! It felt great, I was so happy that something had finally worked when I was convinced that my condition was so bad it couldn’t be treated. But this came at a cost, every night before bed rubbing this horrible liquid on my face and trying to get to sleep through the burning sensation. I hated it, although I stopped sweating whenever I was in a situation that I would normally sweat I got sudden pain in my face that felt like someone was sticking a pin in me. I have very sensitive skin anyway, some might find they can use this without a problem, Great!
I stopped using ‘Driclor’ when I was working in a place that was constantly air conditioned and I was cycling to work – I know this might seem like more reason to try and prevent sweating, but I felt like cycling gave me a legitimate excuse for sweating so I wasn’t embarrassed about it. Then I saw a video about Iontophoresis on ‘Embarrassing bodies’ and how successful they were claiming it to be! I looked into it and found, once again, that the use for facial sweating had not progressed as much as other areas like hands and feet. Nevertheless, there was a mask available, which I bought, which allowed for facial treatment. The machine is very expensive, but I had read so many good things about this that I was not going to let any cost get in the way of my treatment. I took out my first credit card – at 26! – and purchased it in January 2016. By this time, I had left work and gone back into full time education and I was doing an access to higher education course.
After using the mask for a few weeks, I was disappointed to find that it didn’t really seem to be working. I spoke to the company that sold it to me who were helpful and positive and gave me some tips, but sadly I still didn’t find it very effective. I think it improved, but not enough! It also left me with red marks, sometimes broken skin, on my cheeks where the wires connect to the mask.
Over the summer of 2016, after noticing how effective it had been on my hands, which I treated as well, I started to think about the differences between the hand and face treatments. I’m not too good with electricity, currents etc. but I suspect that with the facial treatment, the difficulty is getting it to stay wet and getting the current to flow all around the affected areas. So I decided to experiment.
My plan was to get a face sized basin of water, a snorkel, a nose plug and some goggles – you can see where this is going. I set the machine up using the hand electrodes, one in the basin and one in the hand tray. I thought if I could get the flow to go through me, like with the hand treatment, it might work a lot better. I briefly considered the safety of it, it travels through me for the hand so should be ok there, the delicate parts of my face are protected so that should be fine, and I had nothing metal on me. Under supervision of my partner, I set the machine to a very low voltage, and a short time and dived in. I was so happy when I felt the pins and needles feeling on my face! I straight away knew that it was working, my partner told me that the light was on and the voltage was increasing.
My next step was to increase the time and voltage to a normal treatment. I felt it a lot more in my hand than I did my face, I wonder if that is because there is a smaller area in contact with the current on my hand than my face? So, it’s almost like the current is being funnelled?
After only a few days, I was going on dog walks on hot sunny days, and I was dry! I couldn’t believe it, I was so happy, dryness with no horrible side effects! It felt life changing! Then I started studying at university and there were so many situations where I would have started sweating, but I wasn’t! I could relax about heat and social situations.
It’s now a year since I do it this way, I still do frequent treatments to keep it up. I got a bit lazy over the summer holidays and have gone long times without it. I think this is good because I start sweating again but not in embarrassing situations because I am at home. So, it is good at reminding me how effective it is and how lucky I am.
My reason for wanting to share this story with you is because I remember how hard it was to find a promising treatment for facial sweating, and it was only with a bit of experimenting that I managed to massively improve it for myself. After all the other options seeming to not work for me, or being too drastic that I didn’t want to take the risks, this is perfect. I know that it is unlikely the manufacturers will be able to recommend this method because there is a risk of drowning etc. but for me it is the only way that works.
If there is interest, I would be more than happy to provide a step by step document with photos on how I do this treatment but basically, I follow all the preparation instructions from the manufacturer e.g. washing face, using warm water etc. I then raise the basin in line with my bed and put the hand tray on the floor. The machine goes on the other side to the hand tray so I can alter the voltage or reduce it quickly in case of some sort of emergency. I have memorised the position of the buttons as well. I lie down ready, get my goggles, nose clip and snorkel on and go in. I usually put the radio on or something I can listen to and it’s almost like a power nap. I started by setting a timer or having my partner there to tell me when my time is up. I have found now, that if I lift one or two fingers out of the water in the hand tray when the machine is on, I notice a change in my vision between green and purple, which I am sure there is a very interesting explanation for relating to wave lengths or something, when the machine is of, there is no change in colour. So, when I think I am nearing the end of the time, I do that test, if there is no change then I use my free hand to pick up the machine and tilt my head so I can see out without removing myself from the water. If it has finished, then I pack up, moisturise and enjoy a dry day!
I would be interested to hear if anyone has any views on this method, maybe you think its dangerous? You might have tips to improve it or balance out the intensity on my hand to my face? Maybe an interesting explanation about the colour change? Please comment, and feel free to ask any questions at all!
Disclaimer: This story is to tell others how I have adapted the iontophoresis machine to find a more effective treatment for myself. There is a risk of drowning if I were to lose consciousness for some reason during the treatment or even fall asleep so I always do it when my partner is with me. I am not suggesting others follow my method but if you do, then this is at your own risk, please do so under supervision!