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FAQ

Antiperspirants

Are there any patients antiperspirants aren’t suitable for?
Antiperspirants are suitable for almost everyone but this, of course, varies from patient to patient and you should take extra care when checking the ingredients if you suffer from any allergies.
What are the side effects of antiperspirants?
Side effects of antiperspirants can include soreness, dryness and irritation. Applying a cream or moisturiser may help combat these issues.
Do antiperspirants work?
Not everyone finds ‘normal’ antiperspirants effective enough. If shop-bought antiperspirants are not working for you, it is recommended to try ones which contain higher levels of Aluminium Chloride. These may be available on prescription from your GP.
Are antiperspirants safe?
Yes. Antiperspirants have been used for years as an effective way to control excessive sweating. Manufacturers and regulatory bodies rigorously test the products to ensure strict safety test measures are met before they become available on the market.
What type of hyperhidrosis are antiperspirants used for?
Antiperspirants are usually used on the underarm area. Some patients also use them on the hands, feet and chest, although they are not usually as effective on these areas.
What are antiperspirants and how do they work?
Antiperspirants work by preventing sweat from reaching the surface of the skin. Deodorants are different and are designed to remove and mask unpleasant smells, but they do not reduce the sweating. If regular antiperspirants do not successfully manage excessive sweating, an antiperspirant containing Aluminium Chloride is usually recommended. This is available in roll-on and spray form and can be bought in pharmacies, on the internet, or may be prescribed by your GP.

Botox

How much does Botox® cost?
Private treatments usually cost between £300 and £700 each time. This will need repeating every 4 months or so.
Where is Botox® available?
Botox® is available on the NHS in a small amount of UK hospitals and generally only for the treatment of axillary (underarm) hyperhidrosis. This usually only applies to a select amount of patients and for a short period of time (around one year). It is available in private hospitals and clinics for the treatment of axillary hyperhidrosis. Some clinics may also offer to treat palmar (hand) and plantar (feet) hyperhidrosis although, due to the discomfort involved, many prefer to recommend iontophoresis.
Are there any patients Botox® isn’t suitable for?
Botox® is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding. It is also unsuitable for those with nerve or muscle problems or disorders.
What are the side effects of Botox®?
Side effects of Botox® for excessive sweating are usually temporary and can include slight bruising and tenderness and muscle weakness in the hands.
Does Botox® hurt?
Any injections can cause pain or discomfort, and this very much depends on each individual’s pain threshold. For axillary (underarm) hyperhidrosis, the procedure is considered very bearable, as it is quick and the injections relatively superficial. However, for palmar (hand) and plantar (feet) hyperhidrosis, the injections tend to be a lot more painful and often some form of anaesthesia or pain relief is required.
Does Botox® work?
Medical studies have confirmed that Botox® can reduce sweating. However, it is not a cure for hyperhidrosis as the nerve endings will gradually start to function again and repeat injections will be necessary. It is only active in the area where it is injected. If administered incorrectly it will not work, so visiting a specialist is advised.
Is Botox® safe?
Botox® is safe to use when administered by a qualified specialist.
How long do I need Botox® for?
As Botox® is not a cure for hyperhidrosis, treatments will need to be repeated every 4-6 months in order to successfully manage the condition.
Is Botox® a permanent cure for excessive sweating?
No, Botox® is not a permanent cure and will need repeating in order to manage the symptoms of excessive sweating.
What type of hyperhidrosis is Botox® used for?
Botox® is used for the temporary treatment of axillary (underarm) hyperhidrosis. Although it is not licensed in the UK for palmar (hand) or plantar (feet) hyperhidrosis, it can be performed at some private hospitals and clinics.
What is Botox® and how does it work?
Botox® (botulinum toxin) is a protein which is injected in small doses into the skin to block nerve stimulation to prevent glands from producing sweat. It is a temporary treatment and the effects only last for around 4-6 months.

Hyperhidrosis

What non-surgical treatment options are available for excessive sweating?
Non-surgical treatment options include antiperspirants, medication, iontophoresis, Botox® injections and the miraDry electromagnetic energy procedure.
Why does sweat smell?
Sweat itself doesn't smell. The odour comes from bacteria on the skin that breaks down the sweat into acids.
What is bromhidrosis?
Bromhidrosis, also known as body odour, is the unpleasant smell that can occur when you sweat.
Can hyperhidrosis be prevented?
You cannot prevent hyperhidrosis, you can only adapt to it or treat it. However, you can take certain steps to prevent or delay episodes of it. For example, wearing cool clothing and staying out of the direct sun, and avoiding situations that trigger bouts of excessive sweating.
Is there a cure for hyperhidrosis?
There are many treatments available to help reduce the sweating or make the condition manageable for daily life. A permanent solution can be achieved for some people depending on where you are sweating from.
What’s the difference between primary and secondary hyperhidrosis?
Secondary hyperhidrosis is usually determined to have an underlying cause, such as a side effect of taking medication, or being related to another condition, such as an overactive thyroid gland. Primary (or focal) hyperhidrosis usually has no obvious cause.
How is sweat produced?
Sweat is produced through sweat glands located just below the surface of the skin. There are two different types of sweat glands:
  • Eccrine glands regulate body temperature and so are located over almost the entire body. They secrete sweat directly onto the surface of the skin.
  • Apocrine glands are located mainly in the armpits, genital area, and around the nipples and they secrete sweat into the hair follicle and, eventually, out on to the skin.
Why do we sweat?
The purpose of sweating is to control our body temperature and cool us down.
What is hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a condition which causes excessive sweating. This is most common in the underarm area or on the palms and soles of the feet, but it can also affect other areas such as the face and scalp, back, neck, groin, legs and buttocks.
How do I know if I sweat too much?
If sweat is interfering with your daily life in a frustrating or unmanageable way and you answer yes to any of the following questions, you might wish to consider alternative treatments.
  • Does your underarm sweat make you feel embarrassed?
  • Does your underarm sweat interfere with your daily activities?
  • Do you frequently apply antiperspirant?
  • Do you worry someone will notice your sweat stains?
  • Do you change your clothes more than once a day due to underarm sweat?
  • Do you wear fabrics, colours and styles of clothes that do not show sweat easily?
  • Are you frustrated over constantly ruining clothes?
  • Do you often research different ways to stop sweating online?
Is it unusual to sweat a lot?
No – excessive sweating is a condition that affects millions of people around the world. 1 in 3 people suffer from hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).
Why do some people sweat more than others?
Some people have overactive sweat glands, meaning they’re frequently at work when they should be at rest, and they produce much more sweat than necessary.

Iontophoresis

How much does an iontophoresis machine cost?
Iontophoresis machines can cost anywhere from £360 to £1,200, and this depends on its features.
How much does one course of iontophoresis treatments cost?
A course of 7 treatment sessions may cost from £340 in a private clinic.
Where is iontophoresis available?
Iontophoresis is available on the NHS, but usually only one course of treatment is offered. It is also available in some private hospitals and clinics.
Are there any patients iontophoresis isn’t suitable for?
Iontophoresis is not recommended during pregnancy. It is also unsuitable for people with heart conditions; people with epilepsy; or those with any metal implants such as joint replacements or pacemakers.
What are the side effects of iontophoresis?
Side effects of iontophoresis can include dryness of the skin and skin irritation, both of which can usually be treated with moisturisers or creams.
Does iontophoresis hurt?
Iontophoresis should not hurt, although many patients report discomfort. If you have cuts on your skin, these should be covered with petroleum jelly before treatment to minimise the risk of electrical burns.
Does iontophoresis work?
As it is not entirely understood how the treatment works, it cannot be said that iontophoresis will work for everyone. For example, it is known to have a lesser effect when used in areas of soft water.
Is iontophoresis safe?
As long as the ionthophoresis machine is certified by European legislation and contains the EC standard marking, the treatment is generally considered to be safe when carried out correctly.
How long do I need iontophoresis for?
The treatment consists of seven 20 minute sessions usually spanning four weeks. The majority of patients find that they don’t see results until at least session four. After treatment has been completed, regular maintenance treatments can be carried out, usually weekly. Most hospitals will only provide one course of treatment and will then expect you to purchase your own iontophoresis machine.
Is iontophoresis a permanent cure for excessive sweating?
No, iontophoresis is not a cure for excessive sweating and will need repeating to keep the issue at bay.
What type of hyperhidrosis is iontophoresis used for?
Iontophoresis is usually used for both palmar (hand) and plantar (feet) hyperhidrosis. It is less effective for axillary (underarm) hyperhidrosis as it is more likely to irritate the skin in this area.
What is iontophoresis and how does it work?
Iontophoresis uses water to conduct a mild electrical current through the skin's surface to interrupt sweat production. It is not entirely understood how the treatment works, but it is thought that the electric current reacts with the mineral particles in the water to thicken the outer layer of the skin and block the flow of sweat to the surface.

Medications

Where are medications available?
Most medications must be prescribed by your GP but some, such as aldioxa/chloroxylenol (Zeasorb®), are available over the counter.
Are there any patients medications aren’t suitable for?
Medications are not suitable for everyone and you should always be advised by your GP.
What are the side effects of medications?
Side effects of medications for excessive sweating may include dry mouth, extreme thirst, drowsiness, urinary retention, increased body temperature, constipation, blurred vision and difficulty swallowing.
Do medications work?
Medications may work for people where topical treatments have not. They do not work for everyone.
Are medications a permanent cure for excessive sweating?
Medications are not a cure. They work on a temporary basis and will not completely eradicate the issue. If the medication is stopped, the issue is likely to return.
What type of hyperhidrosis are medications used for?
Medications are used when topical treatments have been unsuccessful and are used to treat underarm, chest, back, groin or head sweating. They might also be used to treat compensatory sweating following surgery.
What type of hyperhidrosis are medications used for?
Medications are used when topical treatments have been unsuccessful and are used to treat underarm, chest, back, groin or head sweating. They might also be used to treat compensatory sweating following surgery.
What medications are available for excessive sweating?
There are a number of other medications available to help prevent excessive sweating, some examples of which are below and can be explored with your GP.
  • Aldioxa/chloroxylenol, available under the brand name Zeasorb®, can be purchased over the counter, without a prescription. It is a powder which relives sweating and helps to prevent infection.
  • Propantheline bromide is a prescription drug which blocks nerve chemical messengers and prevents signals from reaching the sweat glands.
  • Beta blockers work by blocking adrenaline and nor-adrenaline and are usually prescribed for people who suffer anxiety which exacerbates their sweating.

miraDry

How much does miraDry cost?
miraDry starts at £1,950 for one treatment but prices may vary at each clinic and some clinics may offer finance packages.
Where is miraDry available?
miraDry is available from select private clinics throughout the UK. More information can be found at www.miradry.co.uk.
Are there any patients miraDry isn’t suitable for?
miraDry is not suitable for pregnant women or people under the age of 18. It should also not be used if you have an electrical implant (i.e. pacemaker). Suitability will be discussed during your initial consultation.
What are the side effects of miraDry?
Localised soreness or swelling is normal, and usually clears within a few weeks. Small lumps may appear under the arm as the body removes the destroyed sweat glands; these disappear within a few weeks. Some patients have temporary altered sensation in their underarm or upper arm skin, which gradually disappears. During the initial consultation, a miraDry clinician will discuss any potential side effects with you.
Does miraDry hurt?
Most patients experience little pain because the procedure is performed under local anaesthesia. During the procedure, most people experience some pressure and light pulling on the skin, with some sensations of warmth. There may be an occasional "hot spot" that lasts briefly but is usually well tolerated. On average, patients describe the discomfort as about a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest).
Does miraDry work?
Yes, miraDry is the only procedure that provides lasting results in a non-invasive way.
Is miraDry safe?
Yes, miraDry is a safe procedure which is cleared by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the USA and has been used clinically since 2011.
How long do I need miraDry for?
Patients will either need one or two treatments, three months apart. Each appointment generally lasts around one to one and a half hours.
Is miraDry a permanent cure for excessive sweating?
Yes, miraDry can produce sweat reduction after one or two treatments.
What type of hyperhidrosis is miraDry used for?
miraDry is used for the treatment of axillary (underarm) hyperhidrosis.
What is miraDry and how does it work?
miraDry is a safe, clinically proven, non-invasive procedure which delivers precisely controlled electromagnetic energy to the region where the underarm sweat glands reside. This heats the sweat glands and eliminates them for good.

Surgery

How much does surgery cost?
Each treatment varies.
Where is surgery available?
Surgery is offered in private hospitals and clinics and may be available by GP referral.
Are there any patients surgery isn’t suitable for?
Surgery is not a suitable option for everyone and so should be discussed in detail with your practitioner during your initial consultation.
What are the side effects of surgery?
Side effects of surgery for excessive sweating include compensatory sweating, where patients will sweat more from other areas of their body. Practitioners will discuss side effects of procedures with you individually.
Does surgery hurt?
Each procedure is different but, as there are always incisions involved, surgery is a more painful option. Some surgeries are carried out under local anesthetic and patients can return to work the next day, whereas some require general anesthetic and a longer period of recovery time.
Does surgery work?
There is no guarantee that surgery will be successful for all patients.
Is surgery safe?
As with all surgical procedures, there are risks involved and no procedure is guaranteed to be 100% safe. Practitioners will discuss the full risks with you during your consultation.
How long does surgery take?
Each procedure is different and each only usually requires one operation. However, ETS involves 2 hospital stays as each side of the body must be operated on separately. Recovery time varies for each treatment.
Is surgery a permanent cure for excessive sweating?
Surgery is designed to be a permanent cure for hyperhidrosis, although with certain procedures patients will see a return of some sweat months afterwards.
What type of hyperhidrosis is surgery used for?
Surgery is used to treat axillary (underarm) hyperhidrosis, but ETS can also treat palmar hyperhidrosis.
What surgery is available for excessive sweating and how does it work?
There are three types of surgery used to treat hyperhidrosis:
  • Retrodermal curettage scrapes the underarm sweat glands out through a small incision.
  • Laser sweat ablation involves making a small incision and inserting a laser to destroy the sweat glands.
  • Endoscopic Transthoracic Sympathectomy (ETS) is a major surgical operation and is used for sweating of the hands, face and armpits. It is carried out under general anaesthetic and involves the surgeon deflating a lung to access and cut the nerves that control sweating. This should be a last resort and only undertaken after careful consideration.