Can You Permanently Reduce Sweating? Here’s What Dermatologists Say
Bye-bye, pit stains.
Despite what you may have heard, you can’t fix split ends, and shaving your hair won’t make it grow back thicker. In Myth Busters, we debunk common beauty misconceptions and set the record straight.
There’s no nice way to put it: Sweating can suck. Dripping beads of sweat during the warm months is super uncomfortable and can be a real buzzkill. Not to mention, dark pit stains or a sweat ‘stache can feel embarrassing if you’re around people who appear to be immune to the wrath of sweating.
Every human being sweats (although we all have that one friend who runs three miles and stays totally dry)—but if your sweating seems excessive, you might have a condition called hyperhidrosis.
What is hyperhidrosis?
Excessive sweating has a scientific name: hyperhidrosis. “Hyperhidrosis is when the body produces an excessive amount of sweat which isn’t necessarily caused by being active or hot temperatures,” board-certified dermatologist Marina Peredo, M.D. tells HelloGiggles.
Although excessive sweating doesn’t pose a medical threat to your body, we understand how frustrating it can be—and it can even cause social anxiety and embarrassment. Sweating is a part of life, but if it reaches a point where it’s affecting your daily routine and damaging your self-esteem, some treatments can remedy the issue, both temporarily and permanently. Fair warning: These excessive sweating treatments are not cheap.
How to stop hyperhidrosis: excessive sweating treatments
Botox is most commonly known as a treatment for reducing fine lines and wrinkles, but it can also reduce sweating temporarily. “Botox can be used for severe sweating because it blocks the secretion of the chemical that activates sweat glands,” board-certified dermatologist Debra Jaliman, M.D. tells HelloGiggles.
Dr. Peredo seconds the Botox recommendation, adding, “Injecting Botox in targeted areas where excessive sweating is present—like the face, underarms, and palms—can temporarily shrink the sweat glands, which will reduce sweating.”
It’s not a long-term fix, but Botox injections can reduce sweating for four to six months. Talk to your dermatologist about getting Botox in-office, which will only take 15 to 20 minutes. “After the full effects have worn off, his procedure is safe to have repeated sessions,” Dr. Peredo points out. Botox costs vary depending on your location and provider, but she says that on average, one treatment can cost around $1,000.
“There are prescription wipes (prescribed for excessive sweating) that you can use on underarms,” Dr. Jaliman says. “They are pre-moistened with 2.4% glycopyrronium solution. When wiped once under the arm, the solution penetrates the area to inhibit neurotransmitters on the sweat glands; this reduces the amount of sweat.”
Dr. Jaliman notes that most health insurance plans cover the cost of these wipes, and over time with continued use, you will eventually notice less sweat in the area of use.
MiraDry is a non-surgical yet permanent hyperhidrosis treatment strictly for the underarms (aka, the most annoying area to sweat).
“Using thermal energy, MiraDry targets and eliminates sweat glands in the underarm area,” Dr. Peredo explains. “The heat generated from the thermal energy device destroys sweat and odor glands, along with hair follicles. It’s a quick, non-invasive procedure that’s done in-office, takes about an hour, and can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000.”
Although the long-lasting effects of MiraDry are appealing, Dr. Peredo notes that the hyperhidrosis treatment can often be painful. “You can experience swelling for several days after the treatment,” she says. However, the treatment kicks in immediately and should last forever.