Tricks of the Trade: How to deal with extreme perspiration

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Hi Kelly! I have excessive sweating in my palms and feet. Are there home remedies for my problem? Thanks!—Rena

Sweating is part of our daily lives. It is one of the “perks” of living in a tropical country, where each day could be hotter than the next and humidity is at high levels. But excessive sweating can be difficult and quite embarrassing to deal with. It’s the last thing we need, especially when we’re about to shake the hand of a potential business partner or if we’re required to remove our shoes at a party in someone’s house.

This seems to be a small, insignificant problem until you actually suffer from it. Stressing about it only makes it worse, so try to maintain a cool attitude. There are a few ways to alleviate the problem, and most of these you can do at home.

Use an antiperspirant. Yes, the same antiperspirant you use for your underarms can also be used on other parts of the body. In your case, it’s your palms and feet. Antiperspirants contain aluminum salts that form a plug and blocks perspiration. You can buy them at your local supermarket or drug store, but it might be better to choose the unscented type. You don’t want the strong scent of deodorant lingering on every place you go. You can also visit a health store which might carry an organic version that contains fewer chemicals. The best time to apply it is in the morning before you start your day. But it has been said that applying antiperspirants at night may help keep you drier in the long run.

Soak hands and feet in cold water. Cold water is a natural astringent; pores seem to close almost immediately and stay that way for minutes. Doing this several times throughout the day may help you cope with your problem. Experts say that if you soak your hands in cold water for 30 minutes, you’ll be able to prevent palm sweat for up to three hours. This should be worth a try, though its effects might wear off faster than others.

Carry rubbing alcohol with you. Bringing rubbing alcohol can save you from an embarrassing handshake. This is an astringent liquid, so it will stop your palms from sweating for some time. You may also try witch hazel, which might be a better alternative, as rubbing alcohol might dry out your skin quickly.

Apply powder. Talcum powder, baby powder, baking soda or even cornstarch can be useful in absorbing light sweat. Take note though, I said light sweat. These are temporary solutions, as excessive sweat mixed with powder could be a big mess. Powders have a tendency to cake, which may cause skin irritation for some people. But when applied after washing hands with cold water and/or applying rubbing alcohol or witch hazel, this should be OK. Powders are also usually applied on feet before wearing shoes. There are also foot sprays that prevent feet from sweating excessively. You can buy this at your local supermarket or pharmacy.

Try rosewater vinegar. Rosewater is a natural antiperspirant and astringent, so this might work for you (not to mention, it smells good, too). Applying an equal amount of rosewater with white vinegar will create an effective concoction which you can apply on your palms and feet. You don’t need a lot, just enough to soak a cotton ball so you can swab it on your hands and feet. You wouldn’t want to dip your hands and feet in the mixture as it could be pretty strong and might cause skin irritation.

Ask your dermatologist about Botox. I don’t mean for your face, but for your sweaty areas. This isn’t common practice yet, but Botox has been known to treat heavy sweating in certain areas of the body. Botox is FDA-approved for treating excessive sweating of the underarms, but some doctors recommend it for use on palms of the hands and soles of the feet. I can’t say I’ve tried it, but you may want to explore the option with your doctor. Botox works by preventing the release of a chemical that signals the sweat glands to activate. It is not a permanent solution, though. You will need several Botox injections that would last for months to almost a year.

This article was published in the Lifestyle Section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on August 29, 2014.

  1. Zoe Reply

    Soaking your feet in green tea for 30 minutes can also help in reducing perspiration and odor according to Dr. Oz. Just thought you’d like to know . 🙂

    1. kellymisa Reply

      Cool! Thanks for the tip! Will try that too. 😄

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