Hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive sweating. The problem may be limited to the underarms but often the palms and soles also sweat excessively. Excessive sweating usually becomes noticeable after puberty. Stressful situations such as examinations, job interviews or an important date often aggravate sweating. Unfortunately, most over-the-counter antiperspirants do not control hyperhidrosis.
Treatment aims to control the excessive sweating however does not always provide a permanent cure. One treatment method is the use of aluminum chloride hexahydrate in absolute alcohol. In the United States 20% aluminum chloride hexahydrate alcoholic solution is available by prescription under the name of Drysol. A weaker, over-the-counter preparation containing 13% aluminum chloride hexahydrate is sold under the name of Certain-Dri.
How to apply aluminum chloride hexahydrate (Drysol):
Underarms: Apply the medicine at bedtime to your dry underarms. To prevent irritation, wash it off in the morning with plain water. Do not use your regular daytime antiperspirant. You can use a deodorant if you still have odor. Repeat the treatment nightly until the sweating is under control; then treat every other night, then every third night, to find the treatment frequency that prevents excessive sweating. Most people can control excessive underarm sweating with overnight applications of aluminum chloride hexahydrate. Sometimes it is necessary to increase the medicine’s penetration by covering the area with a plastic film overnight. After applying the aluminum chloride medicine to your dry underarms at bedtime, cover them with pliable plastic film, such as Saran Wrap. Keep the plastic film in place with a t-shirt or similar light garment. In the morning, remove the plastic film and gently wash your underarms with plain water.
Palms & Soles: The thick skin of the palms and soles is more resistant to aluminum chloride’s effect. At first, apply the medicine at bedtime to your dry palms or soles and in the morning, wash it off with plain water. Continue applications nightly. If in 10-14 days you do not see a decrease in sweating, cover your hands and feet overnight with plastic film. For your hands, use the thin, pliable, plastic, disposable gloves available at most drugstores. After applying the medicine, allow it to dry and then put on the plastic gloves. Remove the gloves in the morning and wash your hands with plain water. For the feet, use plastic bags held in place with socks. Cut the plastic bags to size so that they cover only your feet and not your legs. In the morning, remove the plastic bags and wash your feet with plain water. Repeat the aluminum chloride applications and plastic covering nightly for 1-2 weeks, until you get the desired effect; then decrease the frequency of applications.
Aluminum chloride may irritate your skin. If your underarms become sore or itchy use the antiperspirant less often. Until your excessive sweating is controlled, apply only the aluminum chloride medicine and water. Usually local applications of aluminum chloride hexahydrate provide satisfactory sweat control. If this fails, other options exist to treat hyperhydrosis including internal medications, electrophoreses, iontophoresis, laser treatments or Botox injections. For almost everyone troubled by excessive perspiration, there is a treatment to control the problem. Please follow up if your results are still unsatisfactory. If you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call our office.
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