How to stop sweaty palms

Written by clemie nye
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How to stop sweaty palms
Surgical treatments for sweaty palms are nornally reserved for more severe cases. (hands image by david harding from

Sweaty palms are the result of a sweating disorder known as Palmar Hyperhidrosis, or profuse perspiration of the palms. The condition can affect many aspects of life and have a social or psychological impact on the sufferer. Palmar Hyperhidrosis is believed to be caused by problems with the sympathetic nervous system. It can be triggered by a number of factors, including emotional distress, stress and nervousness. According to the American Center for the Cure of Hyperhidrosis, excessively sweaty hands can be aggravated by shaking or holding hands.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging


  1. 1

    Apply prescribed antiperspirants. If you have been diagnosed with excessively sweaty hands, your GP may prescribe aluminium chloride. Anhynol, Driclor and Odaban are the most common powerful aluminium chloride-based antiperspirants used in the UK as effective treatments for primary hyperhidrosis. As with all prescriptions, your GP will give you instructions on how best to use the product, although generally you are required to apply the antiperspirant to dry hands and leave it to take effect overnight. Some over-the-counter ointments also may be effective in controlling hyperhidrosis.

  2. 2

    Consult a dermatologist for the topical introduction of ionised drugs. This is commonly known as iontophoresis and involves submerging your hands into special baths of tap water. Iontophoresis works by sending a weak electric current to your hands, which then blocks the sweat glands. It is available on the NHS and is usually carried out twice a week, with each session lasting about 30 minutes. Although this treatment is very effective -- in 80 to 90 per cent of cases, according to NHS statistics -- it is not a permanent cure. The Channel 4 Embarrassing Bodies website recommends following the treatment for eight to 10 weeks but, to help keep the problem at bay, you can also purchase a kit to continue using at home.

  3. 3

    Undergo surgery. If you suffer from a severe case of sweaty palms, your condition may best be treated by a surgical procedure known as Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS). Although this treatment is available privately, your GP can also refer you to a surgeon who can treat you under the NHS. The surgical procedure aims to cut signal transmission from the sympathetic nervous system to the affected sweat glands, thus stopping or reducing the body's ability to produce sweat in hands. The surgery is carried out under general anaesthetic.

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