15 03 17 SweatingtheSmallStuff1Exploring the options available for treating hyperhidrosis.

Whether it’s dripping palms, pooled feet or extremely darkened underarms, the embarrassment of excessive sweating can be enough to stop you from leaving the house. But it doesn’t have to be. Say so long to changing your shirt several times a day and carrying tissues in all of your pockets; it’s time to rediscover your cool confidence and reclaim your life with a solution that’s right for you, no matter what your budget may be.

What is hyperhidrosis?
First, know that you aren’t alone. In the U.S., 2.8 per cent of people suffer from excessive sweating, and in a survey of 810 Canadians, 25 per cent of respondents said that sweating actually affects their quality of life. Although the causes of hyperhidrosis aren’t exactly clear, it’s basically a breakdown of communication between the nerves that triggers sweating and your glands, which causes these glands to go into overdrive— sometimes producing four or fives times more sweat than is needed to cool the body.

The signs and symptoms of Hyperhidrosis
- Excessive sweating, usually in one or more of these areas: palms, soles of the feet, under the arms, face and, in rare cases, the entire body (a.k.a. secondary hyperhidrosis).
- Sweating that is not caused by a rise in temperature, exercise, spicy foods or anxiety/stress but can be exacerbated by these factors.
- Instances of excessive sweating happens at least once a week but most commonly on a daily basis.
- Sweating has an impact on your day-to-day activities (social and work).
- In some cases, excessive sweating causes skin infections and irritations.

SHORT-TERM Solutions
Dr. Cory S. Goldberg, MD, MASc, FRCSC, FACS, treats hyperhidrosis using Dysport, a prescription neuromodulator. He explains that the drug is injected so the glands will stop receiving the message from the nerves to produce sweat. It can be used on any area with excessive sweating, and prices will vary, but for the underarms (the most expensive treatment) it costs around $550. “Sometimes extended health care through one’s employer might cover the cost, and then there is just an injector fee,” says Dr. Sean Rice, BA, MD, FRCSC, a plastic surgeon at Rice Cosmetic Surgery. The treatment takes up to 15 minutes, and the effects last around four to six months. There is little to no downtime, and side effects can be minimal swelling, irritation or bruising at the injection site. Dr. Goldberg warns that, for treatment of the hands, “If the injections are done too deeply, it can cause weakness of the muscles.” Botox can have the same effect as Dysport, but Dr. Rice adds that there is a small group of people with hyperhidrosis where a neuromodulator may not work at all. Warning: If you have a milk allergy, these treatments are definitely not for you.

LONG-TERM Solutions
There are also laser-based treatments available that are relatively new to the beauty scene. Dr. Darren Ezer, MD, CCFP, FRCPC, co-owner of the Toronto Sweat Clinic, has used miraDry for over a year to treat patients with excessive sweating under their arms. “MiraDry is a non-invasive procedure that uses electromagnetic energy to safely eliminate sweat glands in the underarm region. We tend to quote the literature of 82 per cent sweat reduction, but we have been seeing even better results,” he says. Consisting of two treatments done three months apart, miraDry targets only the superficial layers of the skin, which is where the sweat glands are, limiting a lot of side effects and destroying these glands for good. Post-treatment, patients experience slight discomfort for 24 hours (which can be relieved with ice and Advil) and bruising that can last for seven to 10 days. Very few patients reported arm numbness after this treatment, which has never been shown to be permanent and usually goes away within a few weeks’ time. Although a lifelong solution, miraDry is not covered by OHIP and will run you $2,995 for both treatments.

Another laser-based option is PrecisionTx. Minimally invasive, this procedure is done under local anaesthetic. A small incision is made and a cannula is inserted under the skin to deliver thermally controlled laser energy to the sweat glands, basically destroying them. Dr. Sean Rice says, “The laser is highly absorbed by water and therefore effective in treating sweat glands. This is generally a one-time treatment that takes approximately 45 minutes and costs around $3,500. The results are excellent, with approximately 80 per cent reduction in overall sweating of the underarm, and we’ve had patients whose results have lasted over two or three years.” He adds that side effects are few but can include swelling and bruising, minor skin burns and permanent hair loss (bonus, right?). Patients who are not ideal for this treatment are those with a neuromuscular skin disorder or those who are on blood thinners.  

Hit the beauty Aisle

If you’re still contemplating treatment options, these beauty routine switch-ups for high, medium and low budgets can help you cope in the meantime.

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LOW
Secret Clinical Invisible Solid Completely Clean

How it helps:
This prescription-strength powerhouse of a deodorant efficiently releases active ingredients (including odour-neutralizing molecules) to
help control wetness and make sure your scent stays fresh.

What it costs:
$9.99, available at drugstores across Canada.

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MEDIUM
RoC Enydrial Extra-Emollient Rich Shower Cream

How it helps:
Harsh soaps can aggravate already irritated skin. Try a soap- and fragrance-free option that will cleanse skin without drying out sensitive areas.

What it costs:
$24, available at drugstores across Canada.

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HIGH
DERMAdoctor Med e Tate

How it helps:
Great for on-the-go travel, these medicated wipes work similar to Botox Cosmetic (when applied to the skin) and contain a strong antiperspirant and botanicals to alleviate sweat.

What it costs:
$60, available at sephora.ca.