Sweaty Palms: How to Get Your Hands to Stop Sweating
How Do You Get Rid of Sweaty Hands?
Sweaty hands? It's called palmar hyperhidrosis. It always happens right before you need to shake someone's hand right? Or maybe right before a high-stress event when you're a little nervous. Your hands get abnormally cold or hot and clammy, and your palms are obnoxiously wet. It's embarrassing and you want it to stop. Luckily, you can stop it.
My partner suffers from sweaty palms. He often wears gloves and tries to air-dry his hands and wash them right before meeting someone new and shaking hands. He finds it to be very embarrassing and I don't blame him. Over the years we've found a couple of at-home techniques that seem to work for him.
At-Home Natural Remedies and Ways to Stop Sweating
Our bodies respond to biological stressors. So general anxiety might not be causing your palms, armpits, or feet to sweat, but anxiety about having them sweat may very well be causing the problem to begin with. Some of your symptoms can be managed with natural remedies and therapeutic techniques at home. Let's take a look:
Baking Soda Soak
Baking soda is alkaline whereas your sweat is acidic. Simply dissolve 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda in warm water and soak your hands for 15-30 minutes. Avoid using a metal bowl as baking soda may react with metal. This should help reduce your symptoms.
Cornstarch or Talcum Powder
Cornstarch or talcum powder works well to dry out the skin and prevent excessive moisture from accumulating. Go for a unscented talcum powder and simply apply it to the target areas of your body. This is much more gentle on the body than using aluminum-based antiperspirants like Drysol.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar makes for a great all-natural pore toner and tightener. You can use it every day for many purposes. According to Healthline, whereas standard kinds of vinegar are generally acidic, ACV is slightly alkaline because of its natural components. Simply apply ACV to your hands, let dry, and wash. You can try for diluted ACV too (with water) if your skin is sensitive. This can be repeated daily.
These can be used for as a quick-fix. Alcohol is extremely drying so use it sparingly, but it can be applied with a wipe or with cotton balls to the palms to help reduce clamminess.
Can Biofeedback Therapy Help With Anxiety?
Sweaty palms may be caused by an overload of the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine which get released with sympathetic nervous system stimulation (responsible for the fight-or-flight response), that's why biofeedback therapy may be a great solution for you.
How Does Biofeedback Work?
Biofeedback works by helping the body and the brain manage involuntary nervous system functions—heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure—through the promotion of relaxation. Sensors and electrodes are used to measure your body's parameters and are then represented on a screen. So if you are stressed out, your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure goes up, and you sweat more.
With the help of a therapist and biofeedback therapy, you learn to use calming techniques to alter your brainwaves via deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, and mindfulness meditation. You receive "feedback" as you progress into a more relaxed state.
How Biofeedback Can Reduce Sweating
Biofeedback can be done in the privacy of your home with an at-home kit. If used regularly and correctly, you can essentially reduce your stress level and control your sympathetic nervous system stimulation.
The following types of biofeedback are used to monitor the body:
- Electrodermal activity (EDA): measures sweating
- Electromyogram (EMG): measures muscle activity and tension
- Neurofeedback or electroencephalography (EEG): measures brain waves
- Thermal: measures skin temperature
Biofeedback is an emerging mode of therapy for stress and anxiety. Take a look at providers within your area. There are many free resources for meditation and mindfulness as well within the community.
Is There a Cure for Sweaty Hands?
There are indeed cures for sweaty hands and there are also temporary remedies. This is not to say that all techniques or conditions result in a 100% cure rate, but most medical facilities report great success with some of the following techniques:
- Antiperspirants: A quick fix. Antiperspirants (NOT DEODORANT) contain aluminum salts and literally plug up your sweat glands. You can purchase them over-the-counter in any drug store or even obtain prescription-strength from a doctor (Drysol). This is a temporary fix but not a long-term solution.
- Iontophoresis: According to WebMD, during iontophoresis treatment, you sit with your feet or hands in a shallow tray of water and an electrical current is passed through it. These treatments last 20-30 minutes and may repeat several times a week and up to a month or more. After a few months of treatment, the sweating may subside. You can even purchase one of these machines to use at home.
- Prescription Anticholinergics: This is considered off-label use, but anticholinergics work to block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the body which acts on the parasympathetic nervous system. There are some undesirable side effects, however, like cotton mouth.
- Botox or Botulinum Toxin A: Some individuals with excessive sweating will even get botox injected under their arms or in their hands. This is the same treatment that works on wrinkles. It works by blocking a neurotransmitter that stimulates sweat production. Unfortunately, injections need to be repeating every 6 months.
- Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (or ETS): ETS has a reported 98% relief rate and is often covered by health insurance due to the physical and psychological effects of the hyperhidrosis. The surgeon will make a keyhole incision and severe sympathetic nerves or nerve ganglia in the chest. This procedure is done under general anesthesia.
How to Prevent Sweating: Things to Avoid
The cause of hyperhidrosis can be complicated, but here are some things that you can do to prevent sweatiness in the first place. Try to avoid the following:
- red meat
- spicy foods
- sugary foods
- petroleum-based creams (non-breathable creams)
- poor hygiene
- hot showers or hot water
- warm clothing material
- humid climates
Good Health Is the Best Cure
The best cure for resolving chronic health conditions is a good health routine—this includes healthy diet, regular exercise, proper nutrition (vitamins and minerals), adequate sleep, good hygiene, and stress reduction. If stress and anxiety are causing you to experience other health issues, consider working with a mental health professional—counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, or life coach to improve your situation.
Video: What Causes Excessive Sweating?
- Biofeedback Therapy: Uses and Benefits
WebMD explains biofeedback, a therapy that is used for chronic pain, high blood pressure and other conditions.
- Rosewater | The Times of India
- Sweaty Palms (Palmar Hyperhidrosis) - Valley Health System
The Valley Hospital, in Ridgewood, NJ, is part of Valley Health System which also includes Valley Home Care and Valley Medical Group. Telephone: 201-447-8000. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 8 Steps To Treating Excessive Sweat (Hyperhidrosis) Medically and At-Home
Heavy sweating (also known as hyperhidrosis) is a very real and embarrassing problem, but there are some effective ways to treat it.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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© 2018 Layne Holmes