Self help & anti-perspirants
Although you should talk to your GP to confirm you have hyperhidrosis, there are a number of things you yourself can do to minimise some of the symptoms of excessive sweating.
Although many people use the terms 'antiperspirant' and 'deodorant' interchangeably, they are not the same. An antiperspirant is an astringent meant to decrease eccrine and apocrine sweat secretion, while deodorants are designed just to remove and mask unpleasant smells, but not reduce the sweating. If regular antiperspirants do not control your excessive sweating, an antiperspirant containing Aluminium Chloride is usually the first line of treatment. Anhydrol Forte (roll on), Odaban (spray) and Driclor (roll on) are sold in most chemists or on-line, and are available on a prescription from your GP. Maxim, available in USA, is similar.
Treatment consists of applying the medication onto the skin, leaving it on overnight, and washing it off in the morning. It's important to follow the instructions closely. The skin must be dry and clean upon application; if it is moist, severe skin irritation may occur. It must not be applied to broken, irritated or recently shaven skin.
These antiperspirants may cause irritation, which can be alleviated by the use of a weak (1%), corticosteroid cream, or you may be able to control the sweating by using the antiperspirant less frequently.
- Sweatstop. There is a new range of aluminium choride antiperspirants available called Sweat Stop. Like all aluminium chloride antiperspirants, they are to be applied at night to a dry skin (with the exception of the 'Instant', which is a cream that takes immediate effect). The range offers 'upside down' pump sprays that are suitable for the back, and sensive sprays and creams for the face and other sensitive areas. See www.sweatstop.co.uk. The company will send out free samples to patients on request if an online form is filled out. Patient information for clinics is available on request. We have trialled these products on our members and have received very positive feedback.
- Hydrosal® gel is helpful for some sufferers.