About Topical Medications

Categorized as the first line of treatment for excessive sweating, topical medications can be used anywhere excessive sweating occurs, including the hands, feet, underarms and face. They come in a variety of applications, including:

  • Cream/lotion
  • Gel
  • Powder
  • Roll-on
  • Spray-on
  • Wipes

OTC Antiperspirants

Made up of aluminum chloride salts, these products can be sold over-the-counter (OTC) or prescribed by a physician, depending on the level of salt concentration in the product. A prescription is required for antiperspirants with an aluminum chloride salt concentration above 25 percent.

Ideal OTC antiperspirants include those that have the highest possible concentration of aluminum chloride salts without requiring a prescription, including:

  • Antiperspirants marked as clinical strength, such as those made by Secret® or Degree®
  • Carpe antiperspirant
  • Certain Dri®
  • Hydrosal® Gel
  • SweatBlock®

Prescribed Products

Aluminum Chloride Solutions

There are a number of prescribed antiperspirants on the market that may aid in reducing excess sweat, including:

  • Driclor®
  • Drysol
  • Hydra Care
  • Xerac AC

Anticholinergic Solutions

Additional prescription medications to consider talking with a physician about include glycopyrrolate, which belongs to as drug class known as anticholinergics. An anticholinergic is a substance that blocks nerve impulses in the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The PNS controls functions of the body during periods of rest, such as digestion, urination and gland activity.

Glycopyrrolate works by reducing secretions in the body and can be given orally as well as applied topically. Most products containing glycopyrrolate do require a prescription, but others, such as Secure Wipes, can be purchased online.

How Do the Topical Medications Work?

When these topical medications are applied, they create superficial plugs in the pores of the skin. This causes the body to sense that a duct is clogged, which triggers a feedback mechanism that stops the flow of sweat from the duct.

How Can Patients Get the Most Out of Topical Medications?

Here are some tips to ensure that topical medications are as effective as possible:

  • Apply antiperspirant along the hairline to manage facial sweating (be sure to test it out on a small patch of skin first)
  • Apply both in the morning and at night (unless directions state otherwise) for the best results
  • Never wrap the skin in plastic (occlude) when wearing an antiperspirant
  • Only place the medication on completely dry skin to avoid irritation
  • Spray-on antiperspirants are ideal for excessive sweating of the feet (plantar hyperhidrosis)

For more information or to schedule a consultation about your excessive sweating, contact us today.

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