Solutions for when sweat is a problem

Sweat is a normal and necessary mechanism to regulate body temperature that, however, is synonymous with a problem for more than 1,200,000 people in Spain who suffer from  hyperhidrosis , according to a 2012 study signed by dermatologists at the Central Hospital of Asturias . In spite of the serious affectation of the quality of life that it provokes, “ only 40 percent of the patients consult, because of shame or ignorance, ” says Ignacio Sánchez-Carpintero, head of the Laser Unit of the International Dermatological Clinic, in Madrid to Pharmaceutical Mail .

In the hyperhidrosis approach there are from over-the-counter solutions to medical treatments that promise to be definitive. Thus, in a first step, there are antiperspirants available in pharmacies , “which have a much greater potency than products sold in supermarkets since they have a higher concentration of metal salts such as aluminum and zirconium,” explains Javier del Boz , of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV) .

These products “have assets that are capable of decreasing the intensity of sweating and thereby, secondarily, improve the smell, but are more than just a deodorant,” abounds Mayte Truchuelo, dermatologist at the Dermatological Institute of Vithas International in Madrid .

Aluminum, safe

Among its main components is aluminum chloride hexahydrate. “Aluminum, despite being a metal, when formulated in this presentation – aluminum hexahydrate chloride – and applied topically, does not pass into the blood and does not pose a health hazard, according to scientific evidence,” clarifies the dermatologist Although, he warns, one must be careful that the skin is not moist to avoid irritation .

When choosing an antiperspirant, the body area must be taken into account. “The skin of a palm or a plant is not the same, which is hard, with a thick corneal layer, which hinders the penetration of compounds, requires higher concentrations and is less easily irritated, than that of the face, much thinner and exposed to the sun, which is more easily irritated, or the armpit, which will suffer the occlusion phenomenon , with greater penetration of any compound that is applied, by pure anatomical issue, ”says Del Boz.

In children, whose skin is thinner, specific products are used, with lower concentrations of metal salts, says the AEDV spokesman.

An unwanted partner of hyperhidrosis is usually bromhidrosis. Against bacterial colonization that is usually responsible for the bad smell, Truchuelo is committed to using specific sponges and antiseptic products, such as soaps and gels. Also, after showering or bathing, it is advisable to dry the area well to prevent bacterial growth and use templates with absorbent assets, such as activated carbon.

Already in the field of medical prescription, dermatologists highlight that there are effective oral options such as anticholinergic oxybutynin , which has the limitation of side effects, and topical treatments, such as oxybutynin in patches or creams with glycopyrrolate. Against the bad smell, there are topical products with antibiotic substances such as clindamycin or erythromycin.

Microwave oven

Other options are the iontophoresis technique, botulinum toxin, surgery and microwave devices. The dermatologist of the International Dermatological Clinic highlights that this system is “the most effective against hyperhidrosis and axillary bromhydrosis, since, with one or two sessions, it achieves a permanent effect with the elimination of the eccrine glands, responsible for sweat , and apocrines, of the bad smell ”.

It can be a sign of illness

Although most cases of hyperhidrosis are considered primary, excessive sweating may be a sign of other diseases, such as neurological, endocrine, infectious and tumor disorders . It can be associated with anxiety and menopause. It may also be secondary to the administration of certain medications, such as opioids, some NSAIDs, antidepressants, calcium antagonists or chemotherapeutic agents.

Beyond products and drugs

  • Daily recommendations to make life with hyperhidrosis more bearable:
  • Wear fresh clothes and preferably synthetic fibers, as they repel sweat and keep clothes dry, unlike natural fiber.
  • Have plenty of clothes to change throughout the day if necessary.
  • Maintain a fresh and well ventilated work environment .
  • Avoid alcohol, coffee, tea, tobacco and spicy foods, which stimulate the production of sweat.
  • Reduce stress , tension and anxiety, which are associated with sweating.
  • Maintain good body hygiene to reduce body odor as much as possible .