How to cure sweaty hands?
September 26, 2008 1:31 PM   Subscribe

My hands sweat even when I'm not nervous or hot. It's more of in social situations (even though I'm not nervous). Any tips?

I don't think it's Palmar Hyperhidrosis because it is not excessively and not all the time. (and that's the only thing that comes up on a Google search) It's just enough to make it embarrassing to have to shake someone's hand. Since it's most likely not Palmar Hyperhidrosis I don't want to have surgery. More of home remedies or even over the counter medicine that I can just apply at the beginning of the day and not have to worry about it again.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Easy possible solution: You could spray/swipe your hands with a little unscented antiperspirant at the beginning of the day.

Extreme possible solution: Botox. In the sweat glands.
posted by phunniemee at 1:40 PM on September 26, 2008

I have a friend who used Drysol at night on her palms.
posted by riane at 1:48 PM on September 26, 2008

Still sounds like Palmar Hyperhidrosis, just not a severe case. (And I would not recommend surgery in ANY case).

I have the same issue; it is infrequent but embarrassing. Happens when I play videogames and when I'm in social situations (and likewise, I'm not consciously nervous).

Seconding Drysol (Certain Dri or B-Drier may be easier to find as an OTC antiperspirant). It works almost TOO well; make sure you keep your hands moisturized as they will dry/crack sometimes.

Even though it's been a year or two since I've stopped using Drysol, it seems like the "incidents" are fewer and less noticeable.
posted by Perplexer at 2:20 PM on September 26, 2008

Seconding hyperhidrosis. Tends to be hereditary, welcome to the club. There are some medications that can help, prescription and non-prescription. See your doctor. This is not a diagnosis, IANAD. YMMV. Good luck!
posted by 6:1 at 2:36 PM on September 26, 2008

Drink lots of water and watch your sugar intake.

My hands get super clammy if I drink a soda or if I haven't had much water that day.

Really not a medial opinion at all! Just a funky anecdote.
posted by thebigdeadwaltz at 2:48 PM on September 26, 2008

- if you think about it, does it get worse?
- do you ever put cream/lotion on your hands?

My doc asked me those two. I was horrified at the thought of the second, and he laughed, and said it was a really good litmus test for hyperhidrosis. It doesn't sound like yours is as extreme as mine, but I totally understand that it's a royal pain in the butt. Here are things that have worked for me:
- Drysol or equivalent (at night)
- carrying a cotton handkerchief that I can use to blot as needed
- limiting caffeine

Ultimately that really didn't cut it, and I developed an allergy to Drysol. Did the Botox thing in the sweat glands in your hands. Hurt a bit while doing it, but my results lasted from 6-12 months. I repeated the procedure multiple times because I was so thrilled with the results. I'm now finally in my 30s and it's kinda going away.

There's a new antiperspirant in the general drugstore aisle, called Secret - Clinical Strength. I think you put that on at night too - worth a shot for sure.
posted by barnone at 4:38 PM on September 26, 2008

I had a weird sweating problem a long time ago and I used some rx stuff that was basically really concentrated antiperspirant. I heard Adam on Loveline recommend it once too. It was in a roll-on liquid...dang what was it called!
posted by radioamy at 10:05 PM on September 26, 2008

I have a friend who finds that going barefoot or sockless with sandals keeps his hands from sweating as much.
posted by callmejay at 9:23 AM on September 27, 2008

IANAD. You have mild palmar hyperhidrosis. You have described the symptoms perfectly. Some people who have hyperhidrosis ignore it, because it has essentially no effects on life. Others take measures to solve the small problems it creates. It may not be worth your time and energy to solve these problem.
posted by Mr. Justice at 10:10 AM on September 27, 2008

Sorry, didn't mean to press return. A friend of mine with palmar hyperhidrosis said getting the nerve operation for it "changed my life." He was very positive about the changes. It sounds like it's less of a big deal to you, though.
posted by Mr. Justice at 10:12 AM on September 27, 2008

From what I know, there are varying treatments for differing levels of hyperhydrosis:

- mild: over the counter antiperspirants, like Maxim (actually, this one is only available on the internet)
- medium: prescription antiperspirants like Drysol
- severe: botox injections
- very severe: surgery (absolute last resort)

If you're not concerned enough to go to a doctor about your problem, it sounds like you have a mild case. I recommend trying Maxim; if that is not effective, go to your doctor/a dermatologist and get a prescription of Drysol. Both of them are applied at nighttime right before you sleep, so you won't have to worry about it until the next night.

I fall under the "severe" category and honestly, it sucks ass. I've tried both Maxim and Drysol, another thing called iontophoresis, and the botox injections.

Iontophoresis requires you to put your hands in water with a mild electric current, but it is VERY inconvenient because it takes a LONG time (imagine placing your hands in water for hours to start, and then one hour a week for maintenance). However, this method was very effective, almost TOO effective (it was incredibly hard to turn pages of a book).

I tried botox injections for the first time about a year ago. Let me describe the procedure: they'll give you a painkiller cream to put on your hands (which you have to leave on for about 40-60 minutes) and some disposable gloves (to allow you to do things with your hands). You can get those beforehand by a prescription the doctor gives you. When you get to the doctor's office, you'll be given a painkiller (oral) and then they'll put some antibiotic cream on your hands (the brown stuff, I forgot what it's called). After a few minutes, the derm will use a pen/marker to mark spots for injections (about 20-30 per palm and a few per finger), and then inject the botox with a needle (think, about 0.5-1.0 cm into your hand). The procedure takes a few minutes per hand (if the doctor goes quickly) and for me, the palm isn't really painful (a bit of cringing) but as you know the fingers have more nerves, so those hurt quite a bit. Of course that depends on your pain tolerance -- the doc told me of a person who had a low pain tolerance and had to take a break every few shots so it took about an hour to do both hands. ANYWAY, it was quite effective and it's my method of choice. For most people the results will last 4-6 months.

As for surgery, I've heard mixed reviews on that. Before, the surgical procedures were irreversible but nowadays newer procedures allow for it. For some, it can change your life in a good way (like Mr. Justice's friend), for others, it can almost ruin it. Some people who went to stop sweating in their hands and feet got what they wanted, but also some side-effects in the form of compensatory sweating, so now instead of sweating like crazy in their hands/feet, they were sweating like crazy on their backs (which smelt really bad). Also, the procedure will run you $5000-10000 and I think many insurance carriers don't cover it.

thebigdeadwaltz: I heard from another person that that is an effective way for some people with very mild palm sweating.
barnone: I ENVY YOU! Both times I got botox injections (using two different botox formulas), the results only last two months each. For each person, the results will vary... (so next time, my derm recommends to use botox together with drysol)
posted by NeoLeo at 11:14 AM on September 28, 2008

In case anyone is still reading this, Driclor is an OTC clinical strength antiperspirant readily available in Irish, UK, and Australian pharmacies which seems to be equivalent to the US Drysol.

I've had this problem for years and it has prevented or discouraged me from doing many things (read a pristine new book, play an instrument, shake hands, etc.) but I only recently bothered to read about it, and found I'm in fact one of the luckier ones. I've being using Driclor at night (in moderation) for 3 days and it's almost not an issue anymore.

You should have some moisturizer handy when you wash it off in the morning, and Driclor will cause stinging, at least at first.
posted by carnival of animals at 6:00 PM on July 15, 2009

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