Do you sweat too much no matter where you are or what you do? Well, it’s not just you – three percent of the U.S. population struggles with excessive sweating. Excessive sweating unrelated to temperature or exercise, known as hyperhidrosis, can cause significant discomfort and negatively impact one’s quality of life. Axillary hyperhidrosis, the most common type of hyperhidrosis, specifically refers to profuse underarm sweating.
If you struggle with axillary hyperhidrosis, don’t fret – there are plenty of ways you can soothe your symptoms. In this guide, we’ll go over 11 ways you can treat your excessive sweating and answer commonly asked questions about axillary hyperhidrosis treatments.
11 Hyperhidrosis Treatments for Armpits
Whether you’re looking for a quick fix or a drastic, long-term solution, there are plenty of hyperhidrosis armpit treatments to choose from. Here are 11 ways that you can fight excessive armpit sweating:
- Sweat Proof Undershirt
- Prescription Antiperspirants
- Prescription Cloth Wipes
- Topical Medications
- Oral Hyperhidrosis Medications
- Botox Injections
- Brella Patch
- Laser Treatment
- Hyperhidrosis Surgery
1. Sweat Proof Undershirt
A sweat proof undershirt is a safe, effective axillary hyperhidrosis treatment that requires little to no effort. By acting as a barrier between the skin and outer clothing, a sweat proof undershirt traps and absorbs sweat, preventing it from seeping through and causing visible stains or odor.
Thompson Tee’s sweat proof undershirts for men and women are made with patented Hydro-Shield® technology that helps keep you cool, dry and sweat-stain-free all day long. Made by and for those living with axillary hyperhidrosis, they’re crafted to absorb sweat and block it from seeping onto your outer laters. And, without the risk of visibly sweaty pits, you can live confidently, comfortably and worry-free.
2. Prescription Antiperspirants
Antiperspirants and deodorants are often used interchangeably, but there’s a key difference between the two. Antiperspirants stop sweat by clogging sweat glands with aluminum salts; deodorants combat the odor associated with underarm sweat, but they don’t stop sweat. Most over-the-counter antiperspirants are also deodorants, but deodorants are not antiperspirants (unless clearly labeled as both).
Antiperspirants work best when applied at night, as this allows ample time for the aluminum to take effect. However, antiperspirants don’t work for everyone. For those with sensitive or reactive skin, skin irritation may occur.
Plenty of over-the-counter antiperspirants are effective at stopping sweat; however, if you need extra support, prescription-strength antiperspirants are available. Prescription antiperspirants contain high aluminum chloride levels, which are extremely effective at combatting sweat. See your healthcare provider to see if a prescription-strength antiperspirant would work for you.
3. Prescription Cloth Wipes
Prescription cloth wipes are single-use towelettes that act as powerful antiperspirants, providing 24-hour support. These wipes are typically formulated with aluminum chloride or aluminum chloride hexahydrate, which clog your pores and block excessive moisture.
Prescription cloth wipes are effective and easy to use. Each wipe is pre-soaked with a precise amount of the active antiperspirant compound, allowing for controlled application to the underarm area. They are also more potent than over-the-counter antiperspirants, as they offer a higher concentration of active ingredients.
As with prescription antiperspirants, prescription cloth wipes may irritate sensitive skin. If irritation occurs, consult your healthcare provider.
4. Topical Medications
Several topical agents are available as excessive armpit sweating treatments, including topical anticholinergics, boric acid, 2-5% tannic acid solutions, resorcinol and potassium permanganate. A commonly prescribed topical medication for axillary hyperhidrosis is Qbrexza, an FDA-approved prescription treatment that blocks sweat gland activation. See your healthcare provider to learn whether or not Qbrexza will work for you.
5. Oral Hyperhidrosis Medications
Oral medications are best for treating hyperhidrosis across the body or as short-term solutions for events that may trigger heavy sweating. They are not recommended as a long-term solution for excessive armpit sweating due to their side effects.
Read more: Side Effects of Anti-Sweat Pills
There are three types of oral medications that can be used to treat axillary hyperhidrosis on a short-term basis:
All three of the above are ‘off-label’ drugs, meaning they are not designed to treat hyperhidrosis specifically. They are available by prescription only.
Anticholinergics are the most common medications used to treat hyperhidrosis. They cause drying over the entire body and can have mild side effects like dry mouth, constipation, urinary retention and heart palpitations. If you play sports, engage in outdoor work or activities that cause bodily overheating, take care when taking anticholinergics.
Common anticholinergics include:
- Propantheline (Pro-Banthine)
- Glycopyrrolate (Cuvposa)
- Benztropine (Cogentin)
- Oxybutynin (Ditropan)
Beta-blockers, commonly prescribed as an anxiety treatment, work by impeding stress hormones in the body that trigger the “fight or flight” response. Temporarily blocking these responses tends to ease excessive nervous sweating during stressful moments but is not an effective long-term solution. Side effects may include fatigue, dizziness, cold hands and feet, gastrointestinal issues and weight gain.
Common beta-blockers include:
- Propranolol (Inderal)
- Atenolol (Tenormin)
- Bisoprolol (Cardicor, Emcor)
- Metoprolol (Betaloc, Lopressor)
Benzodiazepines, or “benzos” for short, enhance GABA, a tranquilizing brain neurotransmitter. They act as a sedative and reduce anxiety, muscle spasms and seizures. Significant side effects may occur, including drowsiness, brain fog, depression, blurred vision and slurred speech.
Caution: Benzodiazepines are highly addictive and are intended only for short-term use. Mixing alcohol with benzodiazepines can be fatal.
Common benzodiazepines include:
6. Botox Injections
Botulinum toxin injections, commonly referred to as botox, are a cosmetic drug that is injected into the skin to treat wrinkles and fine lines. Although botox is thought to be for cosmetic use only, it is also quite effective at treating hyperhidrosis.
Botox reduces excessive sweating by blocking the nerve signals that instruct the sweat glands to become active. Retreatment is typically needed in four to six months, although patients can go longer between treatments over time. It typically costs around $500 per armpit.
Note that botox is made from a toxin produced by the bacterium clostridium botulinum, the same toxin that causes life-threatening food poisoning, botulism. If you’re interested in receiving botox as a treatment for hyperhidrosis, consult with your healthcare provider first to see if it’s right for you.
Iontophoresis treatments for axillary hyperhidrosis involve sending a weak electrical current through the skin via two water-soaked ‘sponge pockets’ in each armpit. The current is passed through the skin in one direction for a fixed time before it is reversed and passed through a second time. Discomfort during iontophoresis is minimal.
Although there are no significant side effects of iontophoresis, the results vary. If you adhere to a steady maintenance schedule – typically weekly – you can experience long-term benefits. Treatments take 15 to 20 minutes and can provide results that last up to six weeks.
Treatments can be completed in specialized doctors’ offices or at home with the help of an iontophoresis machine. Dermadry sells an iontophoresis machine that boasts a 98.3% success rate.
miraDry, or microwave thermolysis, is a non-invasive axillary hyperhidrosis treatment that uses microwave technology to destroy sweat glands in the underarms and stop sweating. Multiple treatments are recommended for lasting results, each of which costs around $3,000.
The procedure requires a mild local anesthetic in each armpit prior to treatment. Common side effects include underarm swelling as well as red, tender skin that may last for several days. Numbness and tingling can occur in the upper arm or armpit that can persist for up to five weeks.
9. Brella Patch
The Brella patch is a discreet, convenient solution for axillary hyperhidrosis. It is an adhesive patch that is applied directly to the underarm area, using antiperspirant ingredients like aluminum chloride to inhibit sweat production.
The effectiveness of the Brella patch lies in its targeted and localized approach. By applying the patch to the affected area, it delivers the antiperspirant ingredients directly to where they are needed most. In turn, perspiration is reduced and controlled.
Potential side effects include skin irritation, redness, itching or a mild burning sensation at the application site. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully, conduct a patch test before use and consult with your healthcare provider if any adverse reactions occur.
10. Laser Treatment
Laser treatments for axillary hyperhidrosis can significantly reduce excessive underarm sweating. Tiny incisions are made in the armpit to allow a laser to pass underneath the skin, which heats and destroys sweat glands. Most patients experience a reduction in sweat after one laser treatment, but it may take three to four sessions to see a significant difference.
Laser treatments typically cost about $3,000 per session and are often not covered by insurance. Side effects include bruising, numbness and swelling.
11. Hyperhidrosis Surgery
After exhausting all other options, your physician might suggest surgery to treat hyperhidrosis. It can be challenging to find a surgeon well-versed in sweat-related operations, so be sure to do extensive research prior to scheduling your surgery.
Health insurance providers typically do not cover local operations as a treatment for hyperhidrosis, meaning most patients must pay out of pocket. Underarm surgery techniques include:
- Excision (cutting out sweat glands)
- Cutterage (scraping out the sweat glands)
- Liposuction (removing the sweat glands via suction)
- Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, or ETS (cutting/destroying the nerve paths of overactive sweat glands)
IMPORTANT: Excisions and ETS surgery are NO LONGER RECOMMENDED. While these treatments can be effective, they are extremely invasive and expensive. They require local anesthesia and can leave irreversible effects.
Read more: My Experience With ETS Hyperhidrosis Surgery
Common Questions About Axillary Hyperhidrosis Treatment
Now that we’ve gone over excessive armpit sweating treatments, here are the answers to a few common questions about axillary hyperhidrosis:
Do I Need Axillary Hyperhidrosis Treatments?
If your underarm sweating is so severe that it interferes with your quality of life, you most likely have axillary hyperhidrosis. The following symptoms are common indicators:
- Your sweat seems uncontrollable.
- You think about sweating every day.
- You frequently sweat through your clothes.
- You plan your day around sweat management.
- You keep an extra change of clothes with you at all times in case you sweat.
- You purposely avoid social situations because of sweat.
- Excessive sweating has ruined an important meeting or presentation at work.
- You're unable to be confident during job interviews because of your sweat.
- Regular undershirts don’t stop underarm sweat from bleeding onto your clothes.
- You sweat even when you don’t physically exert yourself.
- You sweat when it’s cold out.
- You avoid wearing colorful garments because they show sweat.
- You don’t buy nice clothes because you know your sweat will ruin them.
- You’re anxious or depressed because of excessive sweating.
If you have experienced any of these symptoms, it may be time to seek treatment for axillary hyperhidrosis.
Is There a Cure for Axillary Hyperhidrosis?
Currently, there is no known permanent cure for axillary hyperhidrosis, and hyperhidrosis does not resolve itself on its own. However, there are multiple ways to treat and reduce excessive sweating. We recommend exhausting all minimally invasive solutions, like wearing a sweat-proof undershirt or trying an antiperspirant, before considering invasive or costly treatments.
How Do You Stop Armpit Sweating Naturally?
There are plenty of ways to stop armpit sweating naturally, from drinking green tea to eating potassium-rich foods like potatoes and broccoli – however, for those who need an immediate solution, taking a risk on a natural remedy may be too great a burden to bear.
Get Your Confidence Back With Thompson Tee
Thompson Tee’s sweat proof undershirts eliminate visible sweat stains and help keep you cool, dry and comfortable 24/7. Armed with patented sweatproof technology, they completely absorb underarm sweat and release it as vapor. And, unlike most moisture-wicking materials on the market, Thompson Tees are made from non-toxic, natural fabrics that guarantee long-lasting sweat-absorbing abilities.
Keep excessive underarm sweating at bay and live confidently with a Thompson Tee.