During winter, most of us worry about freezing in the cold, dry air. However, about 1 in 50 Americans must also contend with excessive sweating -- yes, even when it’s cold outside. The medical term for this condition is known as hyperhidrosis, and while it isn’t life-threatening or physically painful, this condition can have serious ramifications on one’s mental health, social life, and career. Let’s outline five ways to handle hyperhidrosis this winter and beyond.
Who doesn’t love dressing nice and cozy during the cold season? Unfortunately, wearing thick, heavy, synthetic clothing and too many layers can contribute to your excessive sweating problem. So, those fuzzy socks you love wearing around the holidays might not do you any favors. You can still bundle up, but, if possible, try to change into clean clothes if you start sweating profusely, and choose clothes that suit your environment and activity.
While removing some layers and opting for clothing made from natural fabrics can help reduce your perspiration, this might not be enough to keep you from sweating entirely. If you suffer from mild hyperhidrosis, try an over-the-counter hyperhidrosis treatment, namely an antiperspirant that doesn’t irritate your skin. You may need to test out a few different options until you find one that works for you and remains comfortable throughout the day.
If over-the-counter antiperspirants aren’t doing the trick for your sweating problem, you may need to switch to a prescription-strength one under the guidance of a dermatologist. These stronger antiperspirants typically contain aluminum chloride, which can irritate the skin and the eyes if contacted. Unlike standard antiperspirants, these are primarily meant to be applied to the affected areas before bed and then removed in the morning.
Your skin might not react kindly to prescription-strength antiperspirants. If that’s the case, your dermatologist might recommend a medical treatment for hyperhidrosis called iontophoresis. This 20-30-minute procedure requires that you submerge your hands and/or feet in shallow water wherein a mild current of electricity is sent through the water and into your skin. While it remains unclear why iontophoresis works, this method has proven effective, apparently preventing sweat from reaching your skin’s surface. While several treatments (a few each week) are usually necessary to see results, you may see a significant reduction in your sweating over a long-term period.
To stamp out your uncontrollable sweating entirely, you may want to undergo a thermal procedure known as miraDry. This non-invasive, FDA-approved treatment can eliminate overactive sweat glands in less than an hour's time. During the miraDry procedure, thermal (heat) energy is applied to your skin’s sweatiest areas, which essentially deactivates the glands in question. While results may vary, some patients experience immediate results that last forever. Even those who don’t see such quick and effective results can see a reduction in their perspiration over time. Overall, miraDry is a relatively painless procedure, though some discomfort may occur. Side effects such as swelling are possible, but these tend to be mild and subside on their own within weeks.
Sweating is completely normal and a sign of proper bodily function -- but excessive sweating is no fun, especially during the winter. If you want more information and tips regarding how to mitigate your sweating problem this winter and year-round, the experts at Premier Dermatology Partners can help. To learn more about our providers and all the services we offer, contact us today.