By Sudha Hariharan

Excessive underarm sweating is uncontrollable and annoying. Apart from the discomfort you feel with sweat trickling down and the tell-all stains, it can undermine your confidence in a big way.

Did you know that over 220 million people of the world, suffer from this and are in need of treatment? Thirty percent of them show higher risk of developing skin infections caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi; 95 per cent said sweating intensified when they were anxious or stressed.

Also known as polyhidrosis or sudorrhea, this is a condition characterised by excessive sweating, that is not necessarily related to higher temperatures or exercise. One may sweat so much that it soaks through one’s clothes or drips off one’s hands.

 Besides disrupting normal daily activities, hyperhidrosis can cause social anxiety, embarrassment and psychological trauma.

Hyperhidrosis tends to begin during adolescence. Mostly armpits, feet and hands are affected, because of their relatively high concentration of sweat glands.

Leading dermatologist, Dr Falguni Shah talks about the various treatment available to banish his embarrassing problem.

Treatment of hyperhidrosis (especially for axillary hyperhidrosis)

Prior to any treatment in the underarms an iodine-starch test can be performed which displays blue- black discoloration in areas responsible for excess sweating.

Botulinum toxin (Botox injections): Botox injections block the nerves that trigger the sweat glands. One Botulotoxin A is a naturally purified protein with the ability to temporarily block the secretion of the chemical that is responsible for “turning on” the body sweat glands. By blocking or interrupting this chemical messenger, botulinum toxin “turns off” sweating at the area where it has been injected.

Results are noticeable approximately two to four days after treatment with full effects usually noted within two weeks. Results can last as long as 14 months. Anything between 100-120 units of Botox could be used for both underarms.

Micro needling with secret: A novel radiofrequency (RF) treatment approach for axillary hyperhidrosis using the secret RF device (from Ilooda Co.Ltd, Korea), appears to significantly reduce the production of axillary sweat, offering hope for those patients who suffer from this condition.

It is a fractional bipolar RF system that employs micro-needles to penetrate the skin at the preset depth ranging from 0.5mm to 3.5mm, and precisely deliver energy to the target site. The treatment is painless under local anaesthesia. Despite a marked improvement in axillary hyperhidrosis after two sessions performed at six-week interval, most of the patients were keen for further improvement, so a third or fourth session can certainly be considered.

Some alterations in daily activity and lifestyle can also help the patient to some extent. Some prescription antiperspirants like aluminium chloride, which plugs the sweat glands can be used. Armpit shields protect a garment from perspiration.

You can also try out a few of the simple home remedies listed:

  • Dab a cotton in apple cider vinegar and apply to the underarm, leave it overnight. Wash off and apply deodorant as usual.
  • Apply a paste made with corn starch, baking soda and essential lavender oil. If you are in a hurry, just baking powder will suffice.
  • You can add crushed camphor to coconut oil and massage it in.
  • Aloe vera juice/gel soothes, cools and helps regulate excessive sweating.

One no longer needs to suffer from embarrassing wet patches on underarms. It’s time to wear and flaunt all our silk and satin wear and get rid of axillary odour.