Don’t sweat the small stuff
Sweating is our body’s way of keeping cool and it’s a natural and healthy part of being human. Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) in social situations, however, is enough to make anyone hot under the collar. So what can be done to get less wet with sweat?
Wear the right fabrics
Much as synthetic fabrics, like polyester, make for more affordable fashion, if stinky or excess sweat is an issue, leave it in the wardrobe or save your pennies for more breathable materials.
“Always choose lightweight breathable fabrics such as cotton, linen or even rayon,” advises Australian Skin Clinics National Training Manager and Dermal Technician, Darlene O’Gara. “You should also choose clothing loose weave and opt for light colours. The looser the weave, the cooler the clothing. Lighter colours also reflect light and heat so will keep you cooler on a hot day.”
Iontophoresis involves placing sweaty palms or feet in a shallow bowl filled with water as a very mild electrical current is delivered through the water and skin’s surface. It sounds scary, although practitioners insist it is painless and safe and, at most, patients feel a tingle from the current.
The precise mechanism of action of iontophoresis is unknown, however it is thought that the combination of minerals in the water and the electricity thickens skin’s outermost layer, helping keep sweat from reaching the skin’s surface. For optimum results, regular treatments are required, for this reason it is best to purchase a home Iontophoresis device for ease of application, although a professional treatment first helps with ensuring it is used correctly. Treatments are generally performed daily (10 minutes) for the first few weeks and when symptoms reduce, treatments can often be reduced to a maintenance routine just once per week.
Iontophoresis is also used for sport’s injuries and may result in skin dryness.
Cosmetic anti-wrinkle injections are a well-known treatment for excessive sweat (hyperhidrosis). The most commonly treated areas are the palms of the hands, underarms, beneath the breasts and areas of the face, explains O’Gara. It works by blocking secretion of the chemical that turns your sweat glands on. A series of superficial injections are given to the local area and while the discomfort is minimal under the arms, it can be more painful on the hands or feet where there are more nerve endings. Effects are apparent after a few days but may take up to two weeks. Treatment takes around 30 – 40 minutes and lasts between 4 and 12 months. There have been no long-term studies on the risks, however preliminary research has found it to be a safe and effective treatment.
The most common medication used to treat hyperhidrosis is anticholinergics, a type of medication that can block the chemical messenger that triggers the sweating response, O’Gara says. They work all over the body, which can make them very effective for treatment of overall sweating, although your doctor will tailor the medication to your specific needs, a low, monitored dosage can reduce the excessive sweat without eliminating the ability to sweat altogether. There can be side effects, which generally depend on the dose.
Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy Known as ETS, is a type of surgery that should be considered as a last resort. Usually the surgery is used to treat sweating in the palms or face and the procedure involves cutting the nerves that control sweating in the problem area. While it works for some, it does not guarantee results and there can be complications and side effects, including compensatory hyperhidrosis. This means although sweating in the treated area is reduced, it causes more sweating to another part of the body.
There are many topical formulations on the market, from over-the-counter products to prescription-strength formulas which will offer maximum effectiveness. These preparations often contain aluminium-based compounds (Aluminium Chloride is the most common active ingredient and a 20 per cent solution is often prescribed) that absorb into the sweat duct, temporarily blocking sweat from rising to the skin’s surface, O’Gara explains. This style of preparation is best applied at night and washed off in the morning, the product is not removed by showering so will continue to work throughout the day. While it won’t stop the sweat completely, it’s a good option, O’Gara says.
There is evidence that aluminium chloride can cause skin irritation, so an organic deodorant is an alternative option. They may be less effective in stopping the flow of perspiration from your pits, but they do stop the odour and may prove better for your health.
What are the organic alternatives?
“The Crystal is a well-known alternative, it is a blend of essential minerals highly beneficial in deodorising and cleansing,” O’Gara says. “It contains no aluminium chlorohydrate or aluminium chlorhydroxide. The Crystal leaves an invisible layer of these minerals on the skin preventing the formation of perspiration and odour causing bacteria. It can be used for underarm or foot odour and is ideal for people with sensitive skin.”
Top 4 tips to stop sweating after exercising
1. Drink COLD water to rehydrate
If you’re heading straight back to the office after a lunchtime workout, and you’re not a fan of the flushed and sweaty look, cold water could be your new best friend. A recent study by the University of Ottowa found people who drank ice-cold water while exercising perspired less than people who drank warmer water.
The researchers found that thermoreceptors in the abdomen detect changes in temperature and help your brain regulate sweat output. When the cold water reaches the stomach, the thermoreceptors tell your brain to decrease your sweat production. So make sure you drink lots of ice-cold water during and after your gym session.
2. Find a fan or air conditioner
Steady airflow on your skin will help to accelerate the evaporation of your sweat. Stand still in front of a fan while you continue to rehydrate with cold water.
3. Have a cool shower
When the sweating slows down, jump into a nice cool shower this will also help to lower your core body temperature and reduce sweating.
4. Cold packs or a wet towel
If you’re still feeling the heat, apply a cold pack or a wet towel to the back of your neck or your underarms, there are large arteries close to the skin surface in these areas.
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