What can be done about excessive sweating under the armpits?

I am a huge fan of yours! If I lived in Seattle, I would choose you for my doctor. I love your website. My question is about my 17 yr. old son. He has a big problem with sweating under his arms no matter what deodorant he uses. He sweats through his shirts and is very self conscious about it. What else could we do? Is this a common problem for this age? I remember I was like that in high school as well. I think a lot of it is just being nervous in school. Any advice you have, would be greatly appreciated. I\'m concerned about the really strong deodorants, whether they are really safe or not. Thank you in advance.

Thank you for the nice compliment.  So there are 3 things for this problem.  First, the antiperspirants (I’m going to assume you meant that since  deodorants mask the odor only), which all pretty much all contain aluminum from 13-18%.  There is a product Drysol which contains 20% aluminum but it can be irritating.  On the safety issue, I think it’s really hard to know.  Several  groups have been trying to link aluminum to different diseases for years without much success.  I wish there was a definitive study but for now you pretty much have to go with your own comfort level.

Second option is Botox.  It works extremely well for about 4-6 months.  I tell my patients not to do it unless the sweating has become a life changing problem for them or is really ruining their clothing (expensive).   Tiny injections are done all through the armpit area.  They really don’t hurt because the needle is acupuncture size and we use a numbing cream for 30 minutes prior.  Prices really range on this.  We try to keep this very affordable but it still costs $800 per treatment at our office due to the large area that has to be treated.

Third option is a relatively new surgical treatment where the surgeon goes in with a device that gets rid of the sweat glands from just under the skin.  It’s quite new though, at least in our area, so be careful that the surgeon as enough experience.  Dr. I

PS – Also look into iontophoresis.  Anyone with good experience with this?


Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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