Qualified Practitioner
Dr Ros Debenham MBChB MRCGP

Don’t sweat about it

For many of us sweating is an unglamorous reality, an inconvenience that is masked by roll on day in day out, due to our bodies clever means to regulate our temperature.

We all sweat, in fact we have about 2-4 million sweat glands on our body, that can produce several litres of sweat each day. This might sound a lot, but about 65% of our mass is water. There are two types of glands; eccrine and apocrine glands.

 

Focal Hyperhydrosis:

Focal Hyperhydrosis is an excess of sweat production in the underarm area, the soles of the feet, the palms of the hands or forehead/ head area. These glands are mainly apocrine glands that produce thicker sweat. This sweat is broken down by bacteria on the skin and produce an unpleasant odour. We use deodorant to reduce this smell. Such glands do not start to function until puberty, hence this is the time when we start to use deodorants.

 

General Hyperhydrosis

General Hyperhydrosis is excess of sweat production over the whole body and may be linked to a medical condition. We sweat to control our body temperature because as the sweat evaporates it cools the body. These glands are eccrine glands and the sweat produced dos not smell. Generally, overweight and unfit people tend to sweat more than slimmer, fitter people. We also, however, sweat as an emotional response to a situation. In emotionally stressful situations the areas where sweat is produced are usually the hands, feet, armpits and forehead.

Excess sweating due emotion can be quite disabling. The tell tale signs depend on the area where there is excess sweating. Sweaty palms means that sufferers dislike having to shake hands and have problems when hand grip is important such as for tennis players and hairdressers. Sweaty feet means that sufferers tend to have smelly feet due to excess moisture in their shoes especially in non leather shoes that do not ‘breathe’. Sweaty armpits are a problem for many people especially when the visible marks on clothes are visible when lifting the arms up. This is especially problematic for teachers and people presenting in public in any shape or form. Because sweat tends to show up more on certain coloured clothes and silks etc many people limit their clothes to cottons and black colours. After treatment for hyperhydrosis people often find that they are no longer afraid of going on holiday to hotter climates or of wearing floaty silk clothes.

There are various treatments for hyperhydrosis. Most commonly people try over the counter or prescription deodorants and antiperspirants, however these can cause staining and skin sensitivity. Surgery to cut the nerves that supply the sweat glands used to be an option, but now Botox is the easiest and most effective treatment.

Botox injections into the armpits, onto the palms of the hands or soles of the feet causes paralysis of the sweat gland muscles and hence stops the glands expelling sweat. The Botox is diluted much more that when used for it’s cosmetic results and 15+ injections, very superficially placed, are done to cover the affected area. The results come on within about a week and can last for up to 6 months which is longer than the cosmetic results. Obviously it is very important to place the injections correctly so that voluntary muscles are not effected. With this in mind it is always best to source a clinic where Botox treatment is carried out by a medical professional.

The cost for hyperhydrosis is £395 per treatment and for sufferers who spend a lot on antiperspirants and ruin a lot of clothes through staining, it is well worth the money. Clients often say “Having Botox to stop my sweaty armpits has changed my life, increased my confidence and expanded my wardrobe!”

About Dr Ros

Dr Ros Debenham is one of the South West's leading aesthetics practitioners. With over 22 years experience in general practice, Ros moved over to the aesthetics industry in 2008 having undergone advanced level approved training courses.

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