So you have sweaty hands?
And by sweaty I don't mean sweat in hot, humid conditions or after a round at gym – I am talking about inexplicable sweat dripping through your palms in the dead cold at christmas, or when you are in a air-conditioned room that is cold enough to need a jacket. If so, welcome to the club – its not much of consolation, but you are hardly alone. In medical speak, this is known as Palmar Hyperhidrosis and the silver lining is that sweaty hands/palms are mostly manageable without falling for miracle cures you will see splashed through internet. Read on..
Sweaty Hands and Me
A quick background about me. You can read more here if interested, but in a nutshell, I am some sort of an authority on sweaty hands! 🙂
After suffering with sweaty palms for years, I finally took it upon myself to get rid of the condition – and in the process, left (almost) no stone turned. based on what I know now, I believe that the vast majority of palmar hyperhidrosis (sweaty hands) patients can get significant comfort from sweaty palms by following a simple step by step process as outlined below.
Ofcourse, I should stress that I am not a medical professional – so please take opinion from a qualified medical professional before you act on the advise below. However, I do believe that if you are suffering from palmar hyperhidrosis, following the below mentioned steps is quite likely to help you reduce the sweating.
Treating Sweaty Hands – Step 1: Normal Antiperspirant
Start with antiperspirants. Not only they are cheap, they are also the least invasive and without serious side effects – so it makes sense to try them before you try anything else. If you need any further convincing, read these articles on hyperhidrosis treatment options.
If you are already using an antiperspirants for day-to-day underarm sweating, you can start with that. Yes – that's right, In some cases, normal antiperspirant may work. Even if they don't for you, they may provide you with some indication on whether clinical/prescription antiperspirants will work for you.
Treating Sweaty Hands – Step 2: Clinical Strength OTC Antiperspirant
If the normal antiperspirant did not cause you any significant discomfort (itching or any other reaction), and it did not provide you with enough relief, its time to move on to the step 2 – using a higher strength clinical antiperspirants available over the counter (i.e you don't need to go to a doctor to get the prescription for these).
Again, follow the procedure to apply antiperspirant for sweaty hands for a week continuously. You should ideally start to notice the difference after 3 nights. By the week's end, you should see significant reduction in sweating on palms throughout the day. If that happens, congratulations – you have just found the least invasive and cost effective solution for your sweaty palms. If it did not provide adequate comfort, move on to step 3
Where to get the Clinical Strength Antiperspirant?
Most of the pharmacies will have a few brands and you can ususally find them in the same aisle where the ususal deodorants are stocked. If you order them on Amazon, you may have more options at your disposal. It doesnt really matter for the first time though. If you find that these work for you, you can always switch brands later
Treating Sweaty Hands – Step 3: Prescription Antiperspirants
If the OTC clinical strength antiperspirants did not work for you, its time to get a bit aggressive. See a doctor (dermatologist should do), and get prescription for a high strength antiperspirants. The prescription antiperspirants have much higher concentration of the active component (aluminium chloride or similar) than that found in the OTC antiperspirants – thus they may work for more severe cases of hyperhidrosis.
Tip: In some cases, your insurance may not like to bear the cost of antiperspirants if they consider it to be ‘cosmetic” (yes, that happens!). Since antiperspirants have to be used regularly, you are better off convincing your insurance firm to bear the cost. This may require some discussion and your insurance company may want additional details from your doctor, or may want you to use a particular brand.
Treating Sweaty Hands – Step 4: Iontophoresis
Iontophoresis sounds intimidating with the technical sound – however, it is not at all complicated. This process has high success rate (especially for palmar hyperhidrosis – i.e. sweaty hands), is non-invasive and has no serious side effects. You may want to ask your doctor to give you an iontophoresis treatment. However, its actually very easy to do it yourself at home if visiting the doctor is not an option, or if doctors in your area do not have the equipment to do it.
You will need to get access to an iontophoresis machine first. If you know anyone who has a machine – ask them to lend it to you for trials. If not, its actually very easy to make one on your own for under $40. If you are not inclined to borrow or build the iontophoresis device, there is always an option to buy an iontophoresis device. Iontophoresis devices are a bit expensive, but if they work, the lifetime cost is actually not that high.
You should start seeing significant reduction in sweat on your palms after about a week or so of iontophoresis treatment. Once you get to a comfortable level, you can then gradually reduce the frequency of iontophoresis treatment (one a week or even once a month).
Treating Sweaty Hands – Step 6: Oral Medication
If antiperspirants and iontophoresis did not work for you, you can try oral medication. While I don't like using oral medication unless absolutely necessary – if your sweaty hands are impacting your lifestyle severely, it may be worth trying oral medication.
There are several prescription medications available that will significantly control sweating. They usually work across the body and not a particular area and may cause not so pleasant side effects. So, try them for a while and take your call whether the relief they bring to you is worth the cost and side effects.
Treating Sweaty Hands – Step 7: Botox
I don't usually like Botox for the same reason as I don't like oral medications – that they inject something unnatural in your body. To top it off, Botox treatment for hyperhidrosis is quite expensive and a bit painful. However, many patients report having high success rate with Botox when other options did not work.
Tip: Insurance will usually cover a large part of the Botox treatment cost. However, you need to go about it smartly and discuss this with your insurance company prior to getting the treatment. Your insurance may require you to prove that you have tried other cheaper options (oral medication, iontophoresis etc) before they will reimburse you for botox treatment.
After Step 6, if you are still not yet happy with the improvement in your sweaty hands and palms, you may want to consider the last resort – Hyperhidrosis surgery. I cannot recommend that to anyone, though I know a few cases where the ETS surgery worked well.
Drop in a comment if you followed this approach and how it worked for you.