Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Font Size

Excessive Sweating: Treatment Tips

Heavy sweating (also known as hyperhidrosis) is a very real and embarrassing problem, but there are some effective ways to treat it. Before you hide under bulky sweaters or move to a chillier climate, you can try these proven techniques for combating excessive sweating.

First Step for Treating Heavy Sweating: Antiperspirants

The easiest way to tackle excessive sweating is with an antiperspirant, which most people already use on a daily basis. Antiperspirants contain aluminum salts. When you roll them onto your skin, antiperspirants form a plug that blocks perspiration.

You can buy an antiperspirant over the counter at your local supermarket or drug store, or your doctor can prescribe one for you. Over-the-counter antiperspirants may be less irritating than prescription antiperspirants. Start with an over-the-counter brand, and if that doesn't work, see your dermatologist for a prescription.

Many antiperspirants are sold combined with a deodorant, which won't stop you from sweating but will control the odor from your sweat.

Antiperspirants aren't only for your underarms. You can also apply them to other areas where you sweat, like your hands and feet. Some may even be applied to the hairline.

Don't just roll or spray on your antiperspirant/deodorant in the morning and forget about it. Also apply it at night before you go to bed -- it will help keep you drier.

Next Steps: 4 Medical Treatments for Heavy Sweating

If antiperspirants aren't stopping your hands and feet from sweating too much, your doctor may recommend one of these medical treatments:

1. Iontophoresis: During this treatment, you sit with your hands, feet, or both in a shallow tray of water for about 20 to 30 minutes, while a low electrical current travels through the water. No one knows exactly how this treatment works, but experts believe it blocks sweat from getting to your skin's surface. You'll have to repeat this treatment at least a few times a week, but after several times you may stop sweating. Once you learn how to do iontophoresis, you can buy a machine to use at home. Some people only require a couple of treatments a month for maintenance.

Although iontophoresis is generally safe, because it uses an electrical current it's not recommended for women who are pregnant and people who have pacemakers or metal implants (including joint replacements), cardiac conditions, or epilepsy.

2. Botulinum toxin: Another treatment option for heavy sweating is injections of botulinum toxin A (Botox), the same medicine used for wrinkles. Botox is FDA-approved for treating excessive sweating of the underarms, but some doctors may also use it on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

Botox works by preventing the release of a chemical that signals the sweat glands to activate. You may need to have several Botox injections, but the results can last for almost a year.

WebMD Medical Reference

Today on WebMD

chafing
Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
woman with dyed dark hair
What it says about your health.
 
woman with cleaning products
Top causes of the itch that rashes.
atopic dermatitus
Identify and treat common skin problems.
 
itchy skin
Article
shingles rash on skin
Article
 
woman with skin tag
Quiz
Woman washing face
Video
 
woman washing her hair in sink
Video
close up of womans bare neck
Tools
 
Feet
Slideshow
woman with face cream
Quiz