Don’t sweat it! Your skin is the largest organ in the body and plays many important roles, such as protection from extremes of temperature, from infection and from UV radiation, to name a few. Sweating is one way the skin helps prevent us from overheating. Sweat is made in the deeper layers of the skin and is excreted through our pores. Armpits have the highest concentration of sweat glands, but we have sweat glands throughout our body, including the palms and soles. Sweat glands can be activated when we are hot or under stress. There are two kinds of sweat glands: eccrine, located throughout the body, which produce clear sweat and cool the body, and apocrine glands, which are located in the hair follicles, and respond to emotion as well as temperature. Apocrine glands produce a fatty sweat that is broken down by bacteria on the skin and may result in body odor.
Hyperhidrosis refers to excess sweating and is a problem experienced by 7.8 million individuals in the US and 50% of those individuals experience underarm hyperhidrosis. This can be an embarrassing, or even debilitating, problem for individuals who experience this. The good news is that there are a variety of options that can alleviate hyperhidrosis in affected individuals. In fact, as recently as July 2018 a new topical medication was FDA approved for individuals ages 9 and up who suffer from excess underarm perspiration.
We treat patients with excess sweating everyday in our dermatology office. There are a variety of treatment options we can offer patients, from topical prescription anti perspirants, to oral medications that decrease sweat production, as well as a brand new prescription medication cloth applied to the underarms to block sweat glands from activating. The Miradry is an FDA approved device offered in our practice to eliminate sweat and odor glands. Your underarms only contain about 2% of your 2 million sweat glands and it is not harmful to eliminate those glands and you will continue to sweat normally everywhere else. As an added bonus, the Miradry results in about 60% permanent underarm hair reduction! The Miradry is extremely safe with minimal to no downtime.
There are now a variety of options to treat hyperhidrosis, so why sweat it?!