How can I stop my hands from sweating?
We all know the feeling. The moistening of your upper lip on a hot sunny day, clammy hands before an important interview or the moistening of your lower back on a busy train. And while sweating is an entirely natural process that helps keep the body cool, for some people, sweating can have a debilitating impact on daily life. Hyperhidrosis, a condition that causes a person to sweat excessively for no apparent reason, is common, affecting between 1 and 3 in every 100 people in the UK. The palms of the hands are a particularly common area to suffer from the problem.
Sweaty palms can be detrimental to confidence, it makes social situations uncomfortable and creates unnecessary anxiety and embarrassment. So, what causes it, and how do we solve it?
What causes sweaty hands?
Sweating is your body’s way of keeping your temperature in check and keeping you cool. It kicks in when you need it on hot, humid days or when you’re in the midst of an intense workout. Your body sweats in these situations, and the sweat then evaporates off your skin, which helps regulate your overall body temperature.
There’s also, of course, the stress sweat that creeps up on us during interviews, presentations and other out-of-the-comfort-zone situations. This is known as ‘emotional sweating’ and is triggered by nervousness or anxiety, tending to affect the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
Our eccrine sweat glands are concentrated in our hands, forehead and feet and are directly connected to our sympathetic nervous system. When these areas sweat excessively, this is medically defined as hyperhidrosis or palmar hyperhidrosis in the case of the hands. It can occur from birth, but it’s more likely to start in adolescence.
For some, the problem will go away with age. For others, it’ll stick around all their lives.
What can you do to stop sweaty hands?
Manage your stress and anxiety
While this may be easier said than done, implementing some tactics to help you manage your stress and anxiety can go a long way in tackling the cause head-on. Whether it’s meditation, breathwork, or making some time for self-care, find what works for you and stick to it.
Carry a pocket-sized talcum powder
This will help absorb sweat and give your hands a better grip, so grab a small bottle and keep it close by.
Botox may not sound like an obvious solution for curbing sweat, but as with facial Botox (where it temporarily blocks signals from nerves to muscles to prevent them from contracting), it works similarly for hyperhidrosis by blocking the chemical pathway which stimulates sweat glands. In doing so, it minimises or potentially stops sweating in the area where it has been injected.
How does Botox prevent sweating?
Sweat production requires acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter) to activate the eccrine sweat glands. Botulinum toxin temporarily inhibits the release of acetylcholine, preventing the hyperstimulation of these sweat glands. Therefore, by blocking or interrupting this chemical pathway, Botulinum Toxin minimises (or potentially stops) sweating in the area where it has been injected.
Symptoms tend to improve gradually (usually in about one to two weeks) and return progressively with time over 6 to 9 months, so follow-up injections will be required to maintain dryness. Everyone is different in terms of the effects of botulinum toxin on sweat gland activity. Whilst it’s highly effective in stopping sweat, Botox to the hands and feet can be painful because of all the nerves in those areas. To help minimise any discomfort, we use a very fine needle and will numb the area using a topical numbing cream.
To find out more about tackling hyperhidrosis, click here to book a consultation with one of our expert practitioners.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.