After us, please specify: It’s normal to have sweaty palms. Everyone perspires. Naturally, some of us perspire a little more than others do, and frequently at inconvenient moments. like when you’ve just been called into a meeting with your boss and you find that your hands are now so greasy from sweating that you are unable to turn the doorknob. Or perhaps you go to shake a new coworker’s hand and discover that your palm is wet.
Of course, sweating has its benefits. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the body uses sweat to cool itself and maintain our body temperature in a healthy range, which is between 97 and 99 degrees. Additionally, it’s possible that sweating aids in toxin removal (although some experts dispute this claim), maintains bacterial balance, and retains moisture in the skin, but more research is required on all of these claims. In other words, while sweating is necessary for our health, excessive perspiration—especially the kind that seems uncontrollable or results in skin problems—might really be a sign of a health problem.
Although you may not be familiar with the term “hyperhidrosis,” if you are, you are aware that something is wrong. People with hyperhidrosis frequently perspire. According to Marlyanne Pol-Rodriguez, MD, a dermatologist and expert on hyperhidrosis at Stanford Health Care, “in some people, it may be as high as four to five times the normal level of sweat.” She also adds that millions of people suffer from this problem. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology estimates that 3% of Americans have excessive sweating (AAD).
The causes of sweating hands and remedies for keeping your palms and feet dry and fresh are discussed in the sections that follow.
What causes sweaty hands and feet? The difference between hyperhidrosis and normal hand- and foot-sweating The physical and psychological implications
How do you know if the perspiration on your hands and feet is excessive or “normal”?
The body’s hands and feet contain the highest density of sweat glands. Therefore, it may simply be a matter of biology if you notice that specific sections of your body perspire more (but not excessively) than other parts of your body. Numerous factors, such as stress, worry, heat, or activity, can cause sweating. Consider that you have a presentation to give at work and you notice you have sweaty palms; perhaps the paper you are carrying becomes wet. That falls into the category of common.
When sweaty palms transition from a nuisance to a condition, there isn’t a really clear-cut boundary. How much you perspire and how much it impacts your life are two of the main variables. According to Dr. Pol-Rodriguez, “the simplest description of hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating beyond what would be expected given whatever the trigger of the sweating is.” In essence, the same triggers—stress, heat, and exercise—cause a lot more sweating for a person with hyperhidrosis.
Imagine being unable to maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel while driving or slipping barefoot across a tile floor. S. Max Vale, MD, a dermatologist at UW Medicine, says that hyperhidrosis’ sweating “impairs your typical activities” since it is so extreme. That might imply that you perspire even when you’re not working out, something a doctor will look for. The skin may feel especially soft or peel as a result of the excessive wetness. Even more serious complications can arise from persistent skin infections like athlete’s foot.
What leads to perspiring hands and feet?
Some people’s excessive perspiration is brought on by a medical condition, such as diabetes or menopause, or it could even be a drug side effect. It is referred to as secondary hyperhidrosis. It’s important to note that the American Heart Association says it’s a fallacy that having high blood pressure can make you sweat. (Rarely does high blood pressure have symptoms.)
However, primary hyperhidrosis, which has no recognised aetiology, affects a lot of people. We do understand that the sweat glands themselves are not the issue. According to Joyce Fox, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Southern California and physician at Cedars-Sinai, they are neither bigger nor more numerous; rather, something is making them hyperactive.
Although the cause of this response is unknown to experts, it appears to be related to the messages your body is sending. According to Dr. Pol-Rodriguez, “the neurological system is delivering an inflated message to the sweat glands.”
Sweating excessively can have an impact on your physical and mental health.
According to Dr. Fox, hyperhidrosis can have physical and psychological effects on your day-to-day life, “like if you’re shaking hands at work when having sweaty palms which also. might be ruining your clothes.” People may become more anxious and self-conscious as a result. According to Dr. Pol-Rodriguez, patients with hyperhidrosis may struggle with psychological issues like depression, social isolation, and low self-esteem.
As we’ve already said, your skin may potentially suffer as a result. According to Dr. Pol-Rodriguez, excessive perspiration on the skin can result in infections, skin breakdown, and skin irritation.
It is important to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms if you suspect you may have hyperhidrosis. Dr. Pol-Rodriguez advises that you consult a doctor if you have had excessive sweating for more than six months, if it interferes with your everyday activities, is widespread across broad portions of your body, or causes you to endure heavy night sweats. Another justification to visit the doctor is if your mental health is being harmed by your perspiring hands and feet.
How to prevent excessive sweating in your hands and feet
If you occasionally have sweaty palms and feet, but it doesn’t interfere with your quality of life, Dr. Pol-Rodriguez advises that you may be able to manage your triggers by keeping a spare pair of socks with you or avoiding them altogether. However, “the triggers may be something that they either can’t control or haven’t fully been able to recognise,” she says, adding that this is the case for many people.
In that instance, antiperspirant—an old standby—is the first line of defence against sweat. Serious sweaters should try “clinical strength” varieties, more precisely those that have an aluminium chloride content of between 12% and 15%. Salt, in the form of aluminium chloride, temporarily blocks the sweat gland ducts in order to work. Dr. Vale advises applying it to your hands and feet before bed and letting it dry overnight because this is the time of day when your body perspires the least, allowing aluminium chloride to penetrate and perform its job. After using it every night for about a week, you may be able to reduce use to once a week.Dr. Vale advises using the antiperspirant the night before any situational triggers, such as a business presentation or eating hot food, if you sweat in those circumstances (when you can plan for them, of course).
According to Dr. Vale, the one drawback is that high-concentration aluminium products have the potential to cause skin irritation; however, this is more likely to happen under the arms than on the hands and feet. For the same reason, he also advises staying away from the face and groyne.
It may be time to consult a dermatologist if these over-the-counter deodorants still don’t work for you. They might suggest an even more potent aluminium chloride antiperspirant, typically with a concentration of 20% or higher. According to Dr. Pol-Rodriguez, prescription antiperspirants frequently take the form of a liquid, making it simpler for patients to administer them to places like their hands and feet.
According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, anticholinergics (there is also a new wipe form) are systemic drugs that appear to work by preventing chemical messengers from activating sweat glands.Botox injections, iontophoresis—where you submerge your hands and feet in water and an electric current is delivered to shut down the sweat glands—and, as a last resort, surgery are additional treatments for hyperhidrosis. According to the AAD, surgery may involve severing the nerves that provide signals to sweat glands or removing sweat glands (usually done in the underarms). It’s crucial to discuss your options with your doctor and carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks of nerve destruction because it can have some unpleasant and long-lasting side effects.
The bottom line is that you should consult a health professional if excessively sweaty palms and feet are impacting your physical or emotional well-being. According to Dr. Pol-Rodriguez, “This is a medical issue, and it is treatable.” “You don’t just have to tolerate hyperhidrosis,” she said.