Cold weather is a time to increase layering up with clothing and staying warm. But if you are sweating through your winter layers, chances are you might be sweating for other reasons, this can put you out of the seasonal spirit. Those with hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating, also called other things like sweaty underarms, armpit sweat, hand sweat or other areas as well. You would think this would not be a problem when it is 40 outside–right, but this medical condition can be particularly challenging in the winter. These steps will help you stay dry, so you can enjoy your favorite cloths or enjoy the outdoors with confidence. No one wants to deal with armpit sweat, sweaty feet or hand sweat at this time of year.
What Is this clinical condition: Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes excessive sweating. If you experience hyperhidrosis, you might sweat in cold weather or when you are sitting still. This condition most often affects the underarms, face, hands, and feet.
Hyperhidrosis does not always have a clear cause, but people often experience excessive sweating because their eccrine sweat glands are always active. This may be linked to an underlying condition like thyroid issues, diabetes, and nervous system disorders. Hyperhidrosis may also be genetic.
If you sweat excessively without a clear cause, book an appointment with your doctor, or talk with your pharmacist. They can provide a diagnosis and investigate an underlying condition as a root cause. If you already have a hyperhidrosis diagnosis, a dermatologist can recommend excessive sweating treatments to keep you comfortable this winter.
How Can You Manage Excessive Sweating in the Winter?
Hyperhidrosis can cause you to sweat through your clothes, even in the winter. You might also notice that your palms and feet are sweaty when you are otherwise feeling chilly or just sitting in a chair. Risk factors can come in a variety of ways. While sweating like this can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, there are options for relief. A dermatologist can recommend several hyperhidrosis treatment options, including:
- Prescription Antiperspirants or clinical-strength antiperspirants: Over-the-counter deodorants are NOT effective with hyperhidrosis. Primary hyperhidrosis is the main name for this disorder. Remember, deodorants do not stop sweat, they mask the body odor associated with the sweat (moisture). In this case, your dermatologist may recommend a clinical strength antiperspirant as the first step in treatment. Make sure you review with your doctor or pharmacist, on which one will be best for you, Also, check to make sure they have low skin irritation, and effectiveness. Some contain an active ingredient aluminum chloride (aluminum salt), so make sure the product does not contain alcohol. This ingredient is the main ingredient to block the sweat duct. Natural deodorants usually do not work with people with these issues). Keep side effects low, especially for sensitive skin or irritation. Perspiration can affect all parts of your body. You can generally use these products on the underarms, hands, feet, and other affected areas. Antiperspirants are the gold standard for body odor, perspiration increases in body temperature,
- Topical Treatments: Dermatologists may recommend creams that contain glycopyrrolate as treatment for excessive sweating on the head and face. They have limited use.
- Thermal Treatment: Through this type of treatment, a dermatologist would target the sweat glands using a hand-held thermal device. Some people will experience results in as little as one session. This is a little more aggressive and would not recommend unless all antiperspirants fail.
- Medications: Certain oral medications can block the nerves that cause sweating. These work by preventing the nerves from communicating with each other. Since these products are taken orally, side effects are more common.
- Botox Injections: Botox can be an effective treatment for excessive sweating in the underarms. You will likely need to return for a series of injections, since it can take four to six months to notice results. Cost is also a big factor with Botox. It should only be uses as last resort or before surgery.
- Iontophoresis machines can be used also. Iontophoresis is a process of transdermal drug delivery by use of a voltage gradient on the skin. Molecules are transported across the stratum corneum by electrophoresis (electrical current) and electroosmosis and the electric field can also increase the permeability of the skin basically this machine runs a low voltage over the area of the sweating issue. This machine is usually used for people who have hand sweat.
- Surgery: If alternative treatments are not effective, your dermatologist may recommend surgery. The surgical procedure would likely involve either removing the sweat glands or the associated nerves. This is a last resort. This procedure has discomfort and still could not work.
Keep in mind that you may need to try a number of treatments to control your hyperhidrosis, especially in severe cases. Be sure to track your symptoms and see your dermatologist regularly. They will ensure that your treatments are working for you. Remember you will want and effective treatment and or an effective antiperspirant for different parts of the body. A strong antiperspirant will give you an advantage over using a deodorant for stopping body odor, or overall odor. Deodorants can’t fill the void of stopping moisture related issues and keeping you from wearing your favorite wool outfit. With all the issues of 2020, you need your quality of life wherever you can.