By David Lackie
Twenty-six years ago, I walked into high school for the first time and promptly began perspiring. It wasn’t the sweat-on-the-brow kind of perspiring that happens when you are momentarily nervous. I suddenly had soaked armpits that left dark, rings on my shirt and left me uncomfortable and embarrassed.
According to new Procter and Gamble research, I’m not alone. Eighteen per cent of the population consider themselves “heavy sweaters,” a condition the medical community calls hyperhydrosis or overactive sweat glands.
“Imagine standing at the front of a board-room making a presentation and constantly worrying about the wet rings under your arms. Or having to shake a business peer’s hands and having sweaty palms,” says Dr. Vince Bertucci, a Toronto-based dermatologist and consultant to P&G Beauty. Bertucci has even had clients who had difficulty holding tools because of sweaty palms.
Dr. Lisa Kellett says she’s had clients consider surgery. “But that’s pretty invasive surgery,” she says. “You have to cut nerves under the armpits that have other functions than just regulating sweat glands.” Instead of surgery, she recommends Botox injections to affected areas. The effect of the procedure lasts four to six months. She’s also had luck with Drysol, an antiperspirant containing aluminum chloride that is thought to work by altering the sweat-producing cells in the body. It’s available behind the counter at drugstores in Canada.
This month, beauty companies offer new options in fighting excessive sweating. P&G Beauty has launched Secret Clinical Strength Antiperspirant for Women. It retail for $9.49 and features a breakthrough technology that plugs underarm sweat glands for 24 hours, resulting in less sweating. The product is applied at night when the body is most receptive to forming a strong barrier against perspiration and remains effective even after a shower. Secret Clinical Strength has been a hit with U.S.consumers and the technology should appear in men’s P&G products soon.
For men who can’t wait, Coty introduced cutting-edge science of its own last year with its Adidas Absorbent-Deo that features a patented “Cotton Tech” formula. The product contains a permeable microfilm composed of cotton micro-fibers that can absorb 100 times its own weight in liquid and allows sweat to evaporate. It retails for $3.99 and is available at drugstores.
Men’s skincare brand Polaar’s offering is Get A Grip, a quick-drying hand gel that contains Dry Flo hydrophilic powders to remove excess perspiration. Aloe Vera and Icelandic lichen gently soothes and moisturizes. The 50 ml product retails for $18.
Dr. Bertucci also recommends that his clients visit www.sweathelp.org. “It’s a not-for-profit organization based in the U.S. that offers great information and answers the most common questions,” Dr. Bertucci says. California-based General Medical Company was one of the first to offer long-term relief from excessive sweating and its product was the only solution that worked for me. The company discovered that tap water iontophoresis or low-level electric current applied to the skin through wetted pads significantly reduced sweating for up to six weeks. The battery-operated devices can be used on the palms, underarms or feet. The company will ship to Canada through its website www.drionic.com.