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Body Areas Affected by Hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis Basics
Hyperhidrosis Treatments
Lifestyle
How Can I Control Foot Sweat?
Written by Chris Reid
October 01 2020

Excessively sweaty feet can lead to some big problems. Some people just have mildly sweaty feet, but others find that sweaty feet greatly impact their quality of life. This is often the case for people who have primary focal hyperhidrosis, a condition in which people sweat excessively from specific parts of the body - including the feet. Many people with sweaty feet struggle with staining and destroying shoes, have difficulty wearing sandals and flip flops, have trouble walking barefoot, and constantly need to wear absorbent socks. Even worse, people whose feet are constantly exposed to moisture are at risk for foot conditions like Athlete’s foot, skin maceration, infections, and irritation. This is why it is imperative for people with excessively sweaty feet to find a way to kick their sweat and get control of the problem.[1]

Natural Ways to Manage Sweaty Feet

Sometimes excessive foot sweating can be managed with natural methods and lifestyle changes. There are some practical things you can do, which won’t reduce the amount you sweat, but will help you to manage things better and prevent some of the complications that come along with sweaty feet. Here are some things you can do to manage your sweaty situation:

  • Wash your feet frequently. While washing your feet won’t stop you from sweating, it will reduce your risk of infection, keep skin from getting irritated, prevent odor build up, and prevent bacterial growth. Ideally, you should aim to wash your feet twice a day if you have been sweating in your shoes for an extended period of time. It is also beneficial to use certain products while you wash your feet. These can include antifungal products, certain essential oils, epsom salt to soothe feet, and of course, soap.
  • Soak your feet is a black tea bath. It is suggested that you fill a basin with warm water and add two tea bags to soak your feet in. It is thought that the tannins in black tea affect your sweat glands in such a way that it stops them from producing as much sweat. This method isn’t scientifically tested, but it may be worth a try!
  • Wear the right socks and shoes. Certain sock materials are good for sweaty feet, while others are not. For example, it is a good idea to avoid cotton socks, while materials like merino wool and athletic socks with moisture wicking technology are better for keeping sweat away from the skin. The material your shoes are made of are also important, leather or mesh athletic shoes are best as they allow your feet to breathe.
  • Alternate your shoes and change socks often. It might be worth it to invest in two pairs of shoes that you can alternate every other day. This allows each pair to dry completely before you get them wet again, it will also prevent shoe damage and break down from being as severe. It is also a good idea to keep an extra pair of socks with you and to change your socks any time your feet become completely soaked. This will keep your feet and skin healthier.[2]
  • Over-the-Counter Treatment Options

    One of the most helpful tools for people with sweaty feet are over-the-counter products. Over-the-counter topical treatments for hyperhidrosis called antiperspirants are the most essential. Antiperspirant is the first-line treatment doctors recommend for hyperhidrosis because they treat the problem at a local area and they effectively prevent sweat glands from producing sweat. Many people have success with over-the-counter antiperspirants, but antiperspirant is available by prescription if a higher strength is needed.[1] There is also a type of soothing treatment called foot powder. Foot powder is a powder that you apply to dry feet which absorbs excessive sweat and soothes irritated skin. When used in combination antiperspirant and foot powder can bring much relief. Finally, antifungal powder is suggested if you think you may have athlete’s foot.[2]

    Medical Treatments for Sweaty Feet

    For some people, especially those with hyperhidrosis, lifestyle adjustments and over-the-counter options might not be enough to control their foot sweat. Luckily, there are several effective medical treatment options available. Most doctors suggest that patients try over-the-counter and prescription antiperspirants before moving on to more intensive treatments. Once a patient has exhausted these options, however, doctors have many options that they can try in order to eliminate foot sweating and to improve patients quality of life. Here is a breakdown of the available treatments, from minimally invasive techniques to highly intense surgical procedures:

  • Iontophoresis: Iontophoresis is a type of therapy that uses the passing of an ionized substance through intact skin by application of a direct electrical current to stop the body from producing as much sweat. While this sounds complicated, the procedure is quite simple and it doesn’t hurt the patient. Iontophoresis is used to treat palmar (hand) and plantar (foot) hyperhidrosis and is one of the least invasive hyperhidrosis treatments available. When used to treat sweaty feet, a patients is given two trays of water to place their feet in which are connected by electrical wires. A machine pulses small electrical currents through the water and through the skin of the patient’s feet which greatly reduces the amount of sweat they will produce. The procedure needs to be repeated a few times a week to maintain results. Iontophoresis has been found to be highly effective and many people use it as a part of their weekly routine.
  • Botox Injections: Botox injections can reduce the skin’s ability to produce sweat and they have been approved as a treatment for axillary hyperhidrosis by the FDA. While botox is not specifically approved for the treatment of plantar hyperhidrosis, many people have had a significant reduction in symptoms when it is used. Typically, a doctor will assess the problem area, in this case that would be the feet, and then inject botox into the skin in a grid like pattern. The results from botox injections will usually last for several months making it a convenient treatment method.
  • Oral Medications: There are oral medications that can reduce the amount of sweat people produce, however none of them are specifically approved by the FDA for the treatment of hyperhidrosis. Most of the time doctors recommend that patients receive local treatment whenever possible, but medication can be useful for certain patients. Anticholinergics are the most common type of medication that doctors prescribe for people with hyperhidrosis, these include medicines like glycopyrrolate and oxybutynin. Sometimes, other types of medications are used like beta blockers, anti anxiety medications, and clonidine.
  • Surgery: A type of surgery to treat sweaty feet called endoscopic lumbar sympathectomy is available. However, it is almost never recommended because the side effects from the surgery can be catastrophic. If you are sweating to the point where you are considering this type of surgery it is best to try the other available treatments or combinations of those treatments rather than undergoing a risky procedure. While it is similar to endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, the risks are much higher.[1]
  • Sources
    1. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier
    2. Leonard, J. (n.d.). What causes feet sweating? Retrieved June 3, 2019, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322578.php
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    Body Areas Affected by Hyperhidrosis

    9 Outrageous Things People Try to Avoid Excessive Armpit Sweating

    By Daniel McCarthy /

    9 Outrageous Things People Try to Avoid Excessive Armpit Sweating


    On my first day of work a few years ago, I got dressed to impress and walked the 20 minutes to my new office to meet my new colleagues for the first time. Having just moved to the southern US, I’d been getting used to the unbearable humidity and its effects on my excessive armpit sweating. Luckily (I thought), the sun wasn’t out and the temps dropped below 80, so maybe my sweat glands wouldn’t take center stage! Well...I arrived to meet my colleagues looking like a wet bass in business clothes. Thank goodness I arrived 15 minutes early, which brings me to the first outrageous thing people try to avoid armpit sweating. 

    1. The Hand Dryer 

    I anxiously scurried to the nearest bathroom, declothed, and put the hand dryer to good use on my shirt stains and sweat stains. More outrageously, I awkwardly hovered my sweaty extremities (including my sweaty underarms) over the hand dryer. Thankfully, I reapplied my antiperspirant and headed out to meet my colleagues a decently dry man. That was the day I knew I really needed clinical strength antiperspirant for my excessive armpit sweating (and a car). 


    1. Pantyliners


    Many with excessive underarm sweating already know that underarm pads are one way to help with sweating armpits. But if you find yourself sans pad and worried about your excessive armpit sweating, you would not be the first person to try pantyliners. That’s right, pantyliners have been used in a pinch to help keep sweat stains at bay. 

    1. Give a shirt

    In 2019, a reddit user posted that to combat his excessive armpit sweating, he skipped the typical clothing and made his own shirt. He posted asking others to try out his creation and received over 250 replies! By creating and giving others shirts, this innovative reddit user designed his way into the hearts of many with smelly armpits. 

    1. Get inked

    If you’ve been debating whether to get a tasteful tattoo and you have hyperhidrosis, this finding may just help you make your decision. A 2017 study found that getting inked helped reduce sweat [1]! Now, I don’t recommend choosing a tattoo as a means of treatment for excessive armpit sweating (and maybe don’t tattoo your armpit), but the connection is a fun little fact nonetheless. 

    1. Become a naked mole rat

    If you can’t pull the trigger on an armpit tattoo, another method some people have tried is hair removal. Yes, like Steve Carrell (who actually has hyperhidrosis himself) in the hit movie 40-year Old Virgin, removing hair can help reduce sweat buildup for you too. Many likely already “naturally” lose hair thanks to some sweat prevention products, but more natural hair removal may just be the trick to solving excessive sweating

    1. Armpit art

    Even though we know most sweaty armpit causes, like too much caffeine or spicy foods, it’s no fun to cut these out completely. A more outrageous approach to excessive underarm sweating is actually turning sweating armpits into art. Multiple users of the Reddit community r/Hyperhidrosis have created shirts, sweatshirts, and other clothing that includes beautiful tie-dye in the armpits. Creative, fun, and beautiful, and even better when combined with sweat prevention like antiperspirant or carpe underarm

    1. Vinegar your armpit

    You may already know how to get rid of pit stains with vinegar, but there are other interesting ways it can help with excessive armpit sweating. Splashing vinegar on your sweaty underarms  is one method many recommend. Those that swear by this method also recommend using deodorant or antiperspirant, too. 

    While we don’t know how this was discovered, I like to think someone accidentally splashed vinegar on their pits hundreds of years ago and voila! Too bad the first person to splash his pits with vinegar didn’t also have access to the best antiperspirant for his excessive armpit sweating. 

    1. Baking soda your sweaty underarms

    If you find deodorant or antiperspirant irritating, one creative way to help alleviate your excessive underarm sweating is baking soda. Many crafty people with hyperhidrosis swear that not only can baking soda help reduce sweat, but it can also help alleviate pesky underarm smell with some of the best sweat prevention. 

    1. Restart the plaid fad

    Black t-shirt, black sweatshirt, black button down, black tank top. If this sounds like your closet, you’re clearly an expert on the hyperhidrosis wardrobe. But if you want some variety as you fight excessive armpit sweating, add some plaid, a trick many with hyperhidrosis use that you may not know. Hey, you just may be starting the resurgence of the plaid fad, and at worst, you’ll add some fun, lumberjack variety to your dark closet. 


    Sources: 

    [1] Luetkemeier, M. J., Hanisko, J. M., & Aho, K. M. (2017). Skin Tattoos Alter Sweat Rate and Na+ Concentration. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 49(7), 1432–1436. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0000000000001244
    Body Areas Affected by Hyperhidrosis

    How to Cure Sweaty Hands Permanently at Home

    By Daniel McCarthy /

    How to Cure Sweaty Hands Permanently at Home 

    Scenario 1: You’re invited into the office, confident you will land the job. You’ve prepared, you’re highly qualified, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. You walk in and confidently reach out to shake the CEOs hand. But then, your confidence turns to dread as the CEO pulls her hand back, wet with your sweat. 

    Scenario 2: You’re at home, playing video games with your friends and absolutely dominating. They get so upset, they tell you to take a break to let another friend play. But there’s another problem... nobody wants to use your controller after you finish. Despite your domination, your palmar hyperhidrosis (excessively sweaty hands) has taken center stage. 

    Do these scenarios sound familiar? Wondering how to cure sweaty hands permanently? Although you may not have had these exact things happen to you, your sweaty hands likely have caused something similar and you’re looking for a home remedy. To stop sweating these situations, let’s talk about how to cure sweaty hands permanently at home. 

    One of the best ways to cure sweaty hands at home is actually not related to the hands at all. Instead, working on reducing anxiety can have immensely positive results on how to cure sweaty hands permanently naturally. There are many root causes of anxiety, and some or many may be related to your hyperhidrosis. Likewise, it is easier said than done to reduce anxiety. But there are also many ways to work on reducing anxiety that are worth a try. One interesting way to reduce anxiety, and in turn, sweaty hands, is to be grateful. Specifically, Petrocchi and Couyoumdjian found that “grateful people experience less anxiety mostly because they are able to encourage and be compassionate and reassuring toward themselves when things go wrong in life” [1]. Other ways include stepping outside for a walk, drinking tea, or even distracting yourself. In general, starting with anxiety reduction not only can help with how to cure sweaty hands, but also your wellbeing in general. 

    Another great way to cure sweaty hands at home permanently is to reduce consumption of coffee and alcohol. Now you may be reading this and thinking “Hey, those are all my favorite things! I’m done with this article!”. And while I wholeheartedly agree and enjoy coffee and alcohol myself, consumption in moderation is key, especially with hyperhidrosis. Caffeine, for example, activates part of the brain that is already a main part in causing hyperhidrosis symptoms. Instead of giving it up, try to reduce consumption to under 200 mg or add in decaf to your routine. Alcohol can affect hyperhidrosis in a similar manner, but like coffee, 1-2 glasses of alcohol may be okay. When figuring out how to cure sweaty hands permanently naturally, it is important to find a balance of coffee, alcohol, and managing your hyperhidrosis. And remember to always drink responsibly, in moderation. 

    Tackling how to cure sweaty hands permanently, naturally, and at home may require more than behavioral changes we’ve talked about so far. Luckily, there are other great remedies you can try at home! First, finding the right antiperspirant is of paramount importance, especially appropriate antiperspirant for hands. Another possible over the counter option is anti-sweat wipes. If neither of these work for you, another option to cure your sweaty hands permanently is to buy your very own iontophoresis machine for at-home use. This machine delivers mild electrical currents to your hands (or other affected body part) while submerged in water. A combination of these treatments may have your hands feeling less clammy in no time! 

    Ultimately, your palmar hyperhidrosis may not be treatable at home and permanently, but these recommendations may help alleviate some of your symptoms. If symptoms persist, consult a medical professional for further assistance with how to cure sweaty hands. 



    Sources

    Sources

    1. Nicola Petrocchi & Alessandro Couyoumdjian (2016) The impact of gratitude on depression and anxiety: the mediating role of criticizing, attacking, and reassuring the self, Self and Identity, 15:2, 191-205, DOI: 10.1080/15298868.2015.1095794

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    8 Random & Interesting Facts about Excessive Armpit Sweating

    By Daniel McCarthy /

    8 Random & Interesting Facts about Excessive Armpit Sweating

    Our worries about shirt stains, sweaty underarms, and smelly armpits may dominate how we think about excessive armpit sweating. Hey, we may even avoid thinking about these all together. But guess what? There are some random and interesting facts that just may change how you think about excessive underarm sweating! Let’s take a look: 

    Fact number 1: Sweat by itself ISN’T smelly

    Sweat is often associated with smelliness. But by itself, it doesn’t smell AT ALL. The reason sweat can smell (in places like your armpit) isn’t really about sweat. It’s about the sweat glands (and hair)! Apocrine glands are the biggest of sweat-producing glands and are usually located near hair. It’s this combo that leads to smelly armpits.

    Fact number 2: Excessive armpit sweating is as old as cavemen

    Hang with me here. Excessive underarm sweating is connected to the fight-or-flight response ingrained in even the most ancient of human predecessors. This excessive armpit sweating response has helped humans survive for millenia. And yep, it means our cavemen ancestors likely had sweating armpits, too. Even though they didn’t have to worry about shirt stains like us, we have the benefit of products like carpe underarm and antiperspirant in general to help with our excessive armpit sweating.  

    Fact number 3: Famous people worry about excessive armpit sweating too

    Michael Gary Scott, fearless and deliciously cringeworthy leader of Dunder Mifflin Scranton on the show The Office, is perfectly played by actor Steve Carell. Carell seemed to play the role with such ease, comfort, and confidence that nobody would ever know he was worried about excessive underarm sweating due to his hyperhidrosis. Co-star Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute on the show) even pointed out that the set temperature was a cool 64 degrees to keep Carell’s sweaty underarms from becoming the focus of the scene. 

    Even though Carell’s excessive armpit sweating wasn’t part of the show, I like to think Michael’s approach to sweat stains could be summed up by his famous line:  “I knew exactly what to do. But in a much more real sense, I had no idea what to do.” 

    Fact number 4: Other celebrities combat hyperhidrosis too

    Steve Carell is not the only notable person looking for the best sweat prevention. As a longtime vampire and real-life human with hyperhidrosis, Robert Pattinson is another actor who combats hyperhidrosis (and werewolves) on the regular. 

    Like Pattinson and Carell, Halle Berry also has hyperhidrosis. Famously, Berry confidently showed her sweat stains on the Ellen Show back in 2010. So when you’re feeling a little self-conscious about your own excessive underarm sweating, remember you too can confidently move through your day like Berry barring her pits for the world. 

    Fact number 5: Ventilation over here please!

    If you’re still worried about how to get rid of pit stains, some ventilation could provide a brief respite. Because we sometimes get pesky pit stains, it can feel like our excessive underarm sweating is due to our pits proclivity to produce the most amount of sweat. Yet, this annoying issue is more commonly attributed to a lack of ventilation, although sweaty armpit causes cannot be narrowed to one thing. Still, a little ventilation and clinical strength antiperspirant can go a long way in dealing with pesky pit stains and excessive armpit sweating. 

    Fact number 6: An underappreciated aspect of a non-meat diet

    Sometimes even the best antiperspirant and deodorant may not feel like enough to help with excessive armpit sweating and underarm smell. That’s okay though because there are other interesting ways to approach this issue. A 2006 study showed that women found mens’ armpit odor “more attractive, more pleasant, and less intense” when these men ate a non-meat diet [1]. If you haven’t already thought about eating less meat, the improved aroma of your pits (and the kitchen) may be another reason to eat a non-meat diet. 

    Fact number 7: Fashion matters

    Choosing clothes is a fashion statement for many. And while fashion may matter more to some than others, there’s one interesting reason we can all get behind to choose our clothes. Our clothing choices can help deal with excessive underarm sweating. That’s right, there are clothes, materials, styles, and pads that all can help with excessive armpit sweating as well as excessive sweating and shirt stains in general. 

    Fact number 8: You aren’t alone

    An estimated 2-3% of the US population suffers from axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweating). Even though this percentage may seem small, 3% of the US population is right around 10 million people. That’s like all of NYC combating excessive armpit sweating at the same time. It can be easy to feel isolated in dealing with hyperhidrosis, but there’s some comfort in knowing many others are dealing with the same worries. 

    Sources

     

    1. Havlicek, J., & Lenochova, P. (2006). The Effect of Meat Consumption on Body Odor Attractiveness. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/chemse/article/31/8/747/364338
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