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Sweaty hands: 4 tips to help

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  • Why do you get sweaty hands?
  • When do your hands sweat particularly much?
  • At what point are sweaty hands no longer “normal”?
  • What helps against sweaty hands?
  • Which doctor helps with sweaty hands?
  • How can you get rid of sweaty hands permanently?

The corona pandemic also had advantages for people who suffer from excessive sweating of their hands: shaking hands as a greeting has become less important in recent years due to possible virus transmission. A relief for those affected.

But now the pre-Corona conditions are returning and with them shaking hands. And as a result, the annoying question: How can you prevent your hands from starting to sweat uncontrollably? Especially if you are afraid of your sweaty hands and therefore only sweat more. A dermatologist has 4 effective tips for us and also explains how doctors can treat the problem.

Why do you get sweaty hands?

Sweating is something completely normal. When the body temperature rises, the body wants to compensate by sweating. Sweat glands are located all over the body, especially in the armpits, feet and hands. “The distribution and activity of the glands is individual for everyone and depends on genetic predispositions and lifestyle,” explains dermatologist Dr. Uwe Kirschner from Mainz. And some people have a particularly large number of active sweat glands on their hands, which means they sweat more.

When do your hands sweat particularly much?

Sweat production is stimulated by various causes. Anything that gets the circulation going, be it physical activity, caffeine or even stress, makes us sweat. Maybe you've noticed that your hands are wetter than usual after drinking coffee, eating something spicy, or being nervous.

You can even train your sweat glands, for example through exercise. If your body is already used to having to quickly regulate its temperature, sweat production will also start more quickly. However, once you have finished your workout or it has been a few hours since you had your coffee, the sweating will usually stop soon.

At what point are sweaty hands no longer “normal”?

But if you constantly have wet hands, even when it's not warm outside and you haven't been active, you may have what's called Hyperhidrosis. The term describes unnaturally heavy sweating that is not caused by external factors. The most important factor in the diagnosis is the level of suffering experienced by the person affected. But there is also an objective threshold value: “If a person sweats at least 30 milliliters of hands per minute, we speak of hyperhidrosis,” explains Dr. Kirschner.

The problem can appear as primary and secondary hyperhidrosis. “The primary hyperhidrosis “It is probably a hereditary disease, because so far no other trigger has been identified,” describes the dermatologist. It is assumed that the so-called sympathetic nervous system, i.e. that which is responsible for all unconscious processes in the body, and its messenger substance acetylcholine are here are overactive. These overactive nerves then increase sweat production in certain parts of the body, such as the hands or feet.

Die secondary hyperhidrosis However, it usually occurs all over the body and there are very specific causes for this. Obesity, metabolic disorders, illnesses or medications reduce the general “sweating tolerance” and the body cools down more quickly than in healthy people. Typical examples are infections such as the flu, thyroid disorders, obesity or medications such as antidepressants. They can all ensure that the body's sweat tolerance decreases and you start sweating more quickly. “This sometimes goes away after a few weeks, but it can also be a permanent change,” says Dr. Kirschner.

What helps against sweaty hands?

It doesn't matter whether you just occasionally sweat heavily or constantly walk around with wet hands: Dr. Kirschner has 4 tips to help you avoid sweaty hands:

  1. Fight the triggers: If you only get sweaty hands in certain situations or have secondary hyperhidrosis, you should first address the causes. If you are sensitive to caffeine or spicy food, you should at least avoid them if you have to shake hands with someone important soon. If you tend to be nervous, you can adopt a relaxation technique. If you sweat more because you are overweight or even sick, you should definitely address that too, because sweat is often the least of your problems.
  2. Apple cider vinegar works overnight: If you have permanently wet hands instead, you can do it with this home remedies Try: Before sleeping, rub the areas where you sweat a lot with a washcloth soaked in apple cider vinegar. “As the vinegar absorbs overnight, it constricts the sweat glands and at the same time fights the bacteria that are responsible for the unpleasant smell of sweat,” explains the dermatologist. In the morning, shower off the apple cider vinegar. As an alternative to apple cider vinegar, there are also antiperspirants that are applied at night and work throughout the day, such as Odaban.
  3. Sage helps during the day: “Sage also causes the sweat glands to contract,” says Dr. Kirschner. Here's how it works: You boil a teaspoon of fresh or dried sage (available organically from Kluitz, for example) with 250 to 300 milliliters of water. You let this simmer for 15 minutes and then cool down. Now you can clean your hands with this sage tea several times a day.
  4. Get an antiperspirant hand cream: Just as there are deodorants with aluminum salts, there are also creams for the hands, for example SeatBlock Antiperspirant Lotion or Perspirex Anti Sweat Hand and Foot Deodorant. The aluminum salt closes the sweat pores and thus prevents sweating. “However, such creams can also dry out the skin, so you should talk to a doctor about whether this is a permanent solution,” advises Dr. Kirschner. But for an important meeting, a hand cream like this can quickly ensure dry hands.

Which doctor helps with sweaty hands?

If the tips don't help and you suffer from your sweaty hands, it's best to go to a dermatologist. Some practices even offer special hyperhidrosis consultations. The following happens at the doctor:

  1. A conversation about your history (anamnesis): First they look at how you live, whether you are healthy, whether you take certain medications and so on. He can often then assess what the reason for your problem is. For example, is it due to stress, is there a more serious illness behind it or are the sweat glands simply overactive?
  2. Your sweat production is measured (gravimetry): “The amount of sweat is measured using something called gravimetry,” explains the doctor. This involves placing absorbent paper on your hand for a minute and weighing it before and after. The weight difference shows how much you sweat during that time.
  3. The problem is treated (therapy): If your hands are sweating uncomfortably due to a physical cause, you can now try to combat it. If the cause is psychological, however, a life coach or psychologist can help reduce your stress and nervousness. If, on the other hand, you have primary hyperhidrosis, you can consult your dermatologist to find a treatment for sweating.

How can you get rid of sweaty hands permanently?

If these tips no longer help or you want to solve the problem once and for all, there are some therapies that can help in the long term.

  • Tablets can curb sweating: So-called anti-cholinergics, i.e. drugs against acetylcholine, cause you to sweat less. “Acetylcholine is the messenger substance that communicates between the sweat glands and the nerves. If it is missing, the impulse to sweat is also missing,” explains Dr. Kirschner. Be sure to talk to a doctor about the side effects and effectiveness of the medication. “It may be that the medication inhibits sweating even after you stop taking it, but it can also come back afterwards,” said the expert.
  • An electric water bath overstimulates the glands: “In so-called iontophoresis, the sweat glands are overstimulated and blunted using a light current flow,” explains Kirschner. Don't worry, it doesn't hurt, it just tingles the skin a little and is very effective against overactive sweat glands. If you do this every day, you can get 2 to 3 days of rest. Iontophoresis devices (available from Ionto, for example) cost between 350 and 800 euros, but can be covered by health insurance under certain conditions.
  • Botox blocks sweating stimuli: If you inject botolinum toxin, i.e. Botox, under the skin in the right place, the nerves that transmit the impulse to produce sweat are blocked. “This is particularly painful on the hands and the areas have to be anesthetized beforehand, after which there may be a feeling of numbness for some time,” warns Kirschner. A treatment for both hands costs around 750 euros and usually lasts 4 to 6 months.
  • Surgery can block the sympathetic nerve: The sympathetic nerve is the one that transmits the impulses for sweating to the hands and feet. In an operation it can be clamped and sweating can be permanently reduced. “However, the body sometimes tries to compensate for this by sweating more heavily elsewhere,” warns the dermatologist. This doesn't always happen, but it's annoying because the operation is very complex and involves some risks. “In addition, there is no guarantee that you will no longer sweat afterwards. Such procedures are usually the last resort,” warns Dr. Kirschner. If everything goes smoothly, it can solve your problem permanently.

Although excessive sweating on the hands is not dangerous, it can be extremely annoying or uncomfortable. If you tend to do this occasionally, you can easily avoid wet hands with our tips. If that doesn't help, there are some quite complex therapies that can help combat sweating in the long term.

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