Excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis, is a condition where the body sweats more than needed to maintain optimal body temperature. Sweating is our body’s natural way of regulating temperature and getting rid of chemicals in our system. Someone with hyperhidrosis, on the other hand, will perspire even in unusual situations, such as while resting, in cool weather, or for no notable reason at all.
There are 2 forms of hyperhidrosis:
Primary focal hyperhidrosis or Localised hyperhidrosis The nerves responsible for signalling your sweat glands become overactive, even without triggers such as physical activity or hot weather. This is localised to mainly our hands, feet, head or underarms. There is no known medical cause for this form of hyperhidrosis, although it may be hereditary.
Secondary hyperhidrosis or Generalised hyperhidrosis This form of excessive sweating is a result of certain medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid problems, low blood sugar or menopause hot flashes. It is a less common occurrence and can be experienced throughout your whole body.
Although generally, the causes of excessive sweating are unknown, it could be borne from a myriad of factors, from genetic predisposition to taking certain medications — all of which can be further exacerbated by hot weather or daily activities.
What are the symptoms of hyperhidrosis?
Naturally, we sweat as a normal response to a rise in body temperature or as a result of nervousness or anxiety. Hyperhidrosis occurs when we sweat excessively, even during cool and calm situations, and is apparent with clammy hands and sweaty underarms. This can prove even more distressing with Singapore’s hot and humid weather, where our rate of fluid loss can double, making it even harder to keep our sweaty pits in check.
You may also experience the following:
Avoidance of warm areas or strenuous activities for fear of too much sweating
Avoidance of physical contact with other people
Constantly wiping away sweat
Possibly, an unpleasant odour caused by an overgrowth of harmless skin bacteria
A family history of hyperhidrosis
Excessive sweating that began from childhood
What are the causes of hyperhidrosis?
In most cases, hyperhidrosis is idiopathic, which means there is no known cause for why one sweats excessively. More commonly, in cases of localised hyperhidrosis, it is genetic and starts early in childhood.
Secondary hypohidrosis may be caused by an underlying medical condition or as a side effect of certain medications. These medical conditions may be heart disease, adrenal gland disorders, hyperthyroidism, diabetes or Parkinson’s disease, among others. In these cases, it would be good to consult your doctor to manage the underlying diseases as well.
When should I be concerned about sweating too much?
As mentioned above, excessive sweating could be a symptom of a more serious underlying medical condition. Other symptoms to take note of include:
Sweating accompanied by weight loss
Sweating that occurs even while you sleep
Sweating for prolonged periods
Sweating with chest pains
Sweating with a fever or rapid heartbeat
Some prescription drugs that cause sweating as a side effect are, but not limited to:
Heartburn and acid reflux medications
Breast cancer medications
It will be good to note that oftentimes, the excessive sweating we experience is generally harmless. However, it is still psychologically damaging and can take a toll on one’s confidence and quality of life.
What are the treatments for excessive sweating?
Antiperspirants Antiperspirants are readily available at your local supermarket and can be used on a daily basis. They come in roll-ons, spray and powder formulations that contain active ingredients which help block the pores on the skin, reducing the amount of sweat allowed to surface.
Iontophoresis During Iontophoresis, affected body parts are submerged in water while a medical device is used to deliver mild electrical currents across the skin barrier. Treatment usually lasts about 20 - 30 minutes and is continued every day until the desired effect is achieved.
Neurotoxin Injectables Neurotoxin Injectables function by blocking the nerves that trigger sweat production in the sweat glands. The procedure takes approximately 10 - 20 minutes and the effects can last up to 6 months.
Anticholinergic medication Anticholinergic medication can be prescribed by a doctor for your excessive sweating. These are taken orally and function by stopping the activation of the sweat glands. However, they are usually used as a last resort as they could have side effects such as blurred vision, heart palpitations, dry eyes, dry mouth and difficulty urinating.
Sympathectomy A sympathectomy is a surgical procedure where the surgeon cuts or destroys certain nerves to stop nerve signals that trigger sweat glands.
JetPro Sweatless treatment
If going under the knife or needles do not sound appealing to you, the Sweatless treatment would be a good option to consider. It is a non-invasive, painless, needleless transdermal treatment that could reduce signs of sweating by up to 40%.
Sweating is controlled by the brain, which sends signals along the nerves to the sweat glands in the skin. The Sweatless serum is a targeted solution, comprised of a combination of peptides and vegetal extracts that work together to limit excessive sweating by reducing acetylcholine release - a neurotransmitter that activates the sweat glands. At the same time, it helps keep the skin moisturised and hydrated.
The treatment involves the JetPro, which uses advanced skincare jet propulsion technology to reach deeper layers of the skin to produce visible results, without skin breakage or pain. A 15% reduction in sweat production can be achieved within the first session and will take about 4 - 5 sessions for optimal results.
The Sweatless active ingredients include:
Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 and Pentapeptide-18 Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that activates the sweat glands in your body. These two peptides complement each other in helping reduce up to 40% of the acetylcholine release.
Hyaluronic Acid Helps retain sweat while keeping your skin hydrated.
Aloe Vera Gel The aloe vera gel has hydrating and repairing properties and helps calm skin inflammation and irritation. When applied to the skin, aloe vera gel forms a protective barrier that aids the skin in retaining moisture.
Ruscus Extract This ingredient has anti-inflammatory and vasoconstrictor properties, which act as an astringent on blood vessels.
Equisetum Provides further astringent action on the blood vessels and helps in cases of capillary fragility.
The formula also contains Gingko Biloba, Hippocastani, Hamamelis Virginiana, Achillea, and Harpagophytum.