Do your armpits sweat way too much? It's not just you. One study found that three percent of the U.S. population is diagnosed with excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis. Another 2016 study showed that axillary hyperhidrosis, or profuse underarm sweating, is the most common type of hyperhidrosis.
In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about axillary hyperhidrosis treatments. Can your axillary hyperhidrosis go away, or will you be fighting your sweaty pits forever?
8 Axillary Hyperhidrosis Treatments
What is the best hyperhidrosis underarm treatment? From quick fixes to more invasive solutions, there is a whole spectrum of treatments for axillary hyperhidrosis. But not all treatments are created equal — what works for one person might not work for you.
- Thompson Tee sweat proof undershirts
- Oral hyperhidrosis medications
- Botox injections
- Laser treatments
- Hyperhidrosis surgery
Antiperspirants block sweat and should be your first line of defense against underarm sweating. Most over-the-counter, clinical-strength antiperspirants contain aluminum salts that clog sweat glands to prevent you from sweating.
You may use antiperspirants and deodorants interchangeably. But deodorants don’t contain any anti-sweat ingredients - they just combat the smell associated with underarm sweat. Most over-the-counter antiperspirants are also deodorants, but deodorants are not antiperspirants (unless clearly labeled as both).
To treat excessive underarm sweating, stick with an antiperspirant or see your doctor for a prescription-strength version. Some prescription antiperspirants also contain high aluminum chloride levels, which are even more effective at fighting wetness.
Antiperspirants work best when applied at night, so the aluminum chloride has time to take effect. But antiperspirants don’t work for everyone. Common side effects include skin irritation, though newer antiperspirants contain aluminum zirconium compounds which are less likely to cause skin sensitivity.
Some of our favorite antiperspirants for axillary hyperhidrosis include CertainDri, ZeroSweat and Dove Men+Care, to name a few. Check out the full list here.
2. Sweat Proof Undershirt
A sweat proof undershirt, like The Thompson Tee for men and women, is a safe, effective axillary hyperhidrosis treatment. The Thompson Tee was created for axillary hyperhidrosis by two individuals who live with the condition.
Made with patented Hydro-Shield technology, the Thompson Tee is guaranteed to prevent pit stains and stop underarm sweat from seeping through to your outerwear.
Unlike regular undershirts, the Thompson Tee’s underarm shields absorb and release sweat as a vapor. Wearing a Thompson Tee help you feel dry, prevents sweat marks, extends the lifespan of your clothing and lifts your confidence.
3. Oral Hyperhidrosis Medications
Oral medications are best for treating excessive sweating on large parts of the body or as short-term solutions during stressful events. They are not recommended as a long-term solution for excessive armpit sweating due to their side effects.
There are three types of oral medications you can use to treat axillary hyperhidrosis on a short-term basis:
- Beta blockers
All three are “off-label” drugs, meaning they are not designed to treat hyperhidrosis specifically. All three are available only by prescription.
Anticholinergics are the most common medications used to treat hyperhidrosis. Anticholinergics cause drying over the entire body and can have mild side effects. If you participate in sports, work outdoors or engage in activities that may cause you to become overheated, you should take extra care when taking anticholinergics.
Side effects include dry mouth, constipation, urinary retention and heart palpitations.
Common anticholinergics include:
- Propantheline (Pro-Banthine)
- Glycopyrrolate (Cuvposa)
- Benztropine (Cogentin)
- Oxybutynin (Ditropan)
Beta blockers impede 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 can include fatigue and dizziness, cold hands and feet, gastrointestinal symptoms and weight gain.
Common nerve-blocking medications include:
- Propranolol (Inderal)
Benzodiazepines enhance GABA, a tranquilizing brain neurotransmitter. “Benzos” act as sedatives, reducing anxiety and excessive sweating.
Significant side effects include drowsiness, mental confusion, depression, blurred vision and slurred speech.
Caution: Benzodiazepines are habit-forming and intended for short-term use. Mixing alcohol with benzodiazepines can be fatal.
Common benzodiazepines include:
In addition to the oral medications listed above, there is a topical medication for hyperhidrosis called Qbrexza.
4. Botox Injections
Botox, or a botulinum toxin injection, is a cosmetic drug that’s injected into the skin to treat wrinkles and fine lines. It can block the secretion of the chemical that triggers sweat glands and is 80 to 90 percent effective in treating axillary hyperhidrosis.
Botox is made from a toxin produced by the bacterium clostridium botulinum — the same toxin that causes the life-threatening food poisoning called botulism. Be sure to check with your doctor if you’re pregnant, plan to become pregnant, are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.
Botox injections cost around $500 per armpit, per treatment and can last anywhere from three to twelve months.
During iontophoresis treatments for axillary hyperhidrosis, a weak electrical current is passed through two water-soaked ‘sponge pockets’ in each armpit. The current is passed one way for a fixed time and then reversed for the same amount of time.
The current level is always set at a reduced ‘pulse setting’ that you control, allowing for optimum treatment with minimal discomfort.
There are no significant or severe side effects of this underarm hyperhidrosis treatment, but results vary. Unlike Botox, you can experience long-term benefits if you keep up with the maintenance schedule (typically weekly) your doctor recommends.
Dermadry sells an iontophoresis machine for at-home treatments that boast a 98.3% success rate. Treatments take 15 to 20 minutes and can provide good results that last up to six weeks.
Miradry is a non-invasive axillary hyperhidrosis treatment option. It uses microwave technology to destroy sweat glands in the underarms to suppress sweating.
This procedure does require a local anesthetic in each armpit. Results vary, so multiple treatments are recommended. Treatments average around $3,000.
Common side effects include underarm swelling, redness and tenderness lasting for several days. Numbness and tingling can occur in the upper arm or armpit and may last for about five weeks.
7. Laser Treatments for Hyperhidrosis
Laser treatments for axillary hyperhidrosis can significantly reduce excessive underarm sweating. Tiny incisions made in your armpits allow a laser to pass underneath your skin, heating and then destroying your 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 for axillary hyperhidrosis cost about $3,000 per session and may not be covered by insurance. Side effects include bruising, numbness and swelling. The effectiveness of lasers to treat sweating is not as well documented as that of other treatments.
8. Hyperhidrosis Surgery
After exhausting all other options, your physician might consider surgery to treat hyperhidrosis. It's challenging to find a surgeon experienced in sweat-related operations, so be sure to do your homework, get referrals and test their knowledge.
Health insurance providers do not typically cover local operations as a treatment for hyperhidrosis. Most patients undergoing hyperhidrosis surgery have to pay for the procedure out of pocket. Underarm surgery techniques include:
- Excision (cutting out sweat glands)
- Curettage (scraping out the sweat glands)
- Liposuction (removing sweat glands via suction)
- Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, or ETS (cutting/destroying the nerve paths of overactive sweat glands)
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.
Do I Need Axillary Hyperhidrosis Treatments?
The general rule of thumb is if your sweating is so severe that it interferes with your quality of life, you most likely have a diagnosable condition.
If you experience several of the following symptoms, it may be time to look for better axillary hyperhidrosis treatments:
- Your sweat seems uncontrollable
- You think about sweating every day
- You sweat through your clothes frequently
- 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
Is There a Cure for Axillary Hyperhidrosis?
Sadly, as of now, there is no axillary hyperhidrosis cure, and it does not go away on its own.
If you want to reduce excessive armpit sweating, we recommend you exhaust all minimally invasive solutions, such as combining antiperspirant with a sweat proof Thompson Tee, before considering more complicated or costly treatments.
*PLEASE NOTE: As with any medical-related issue, it's best to seek advice from a qualified medical practitioner. Do not use the information provided for diagnostic purposes or as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.