Sometimes, antiperspirants and over-the-counter medicines are not enough to address excessive perspiration.
In such cases, you need to look at medical procedures that can help you take back control of your life. This is where iontophoresis for hyperhidrosis comes in.
To know more about the procedure’s costs and possible risks, continue reading the rest of this post.
What is iontophoresis for hyperhidrosis?
Iontophoresis treatment uses electrical stimulation to minimize sweating of the hands and feet. It’s perfect for people who have palmoplantar hyperhidrosis.
Iontophoresis for hyperhidrosis has been around since the 1940s. In fact, it is one of the most effective non-invasive ways to relieve too much sweating. Studies show that it has an 85% success rate among patients with hand and feet sweating. It also works for axillary hyperhidrosis, but only has a 70% success rate.
Researchers are still studying the exact process of how iontophoresis stops sweating. But doctors believe that the minerals present in iontophoresis work together to thicken the outer layer of the skin. Because the skin is thicker, it blocks sweat from flowing.
Another theory is that iontophoresis disrupts nerve transmission. It blocks the sweat ducts and prevents them from producing sweat.
Finally, some researchers believe that the procedure decreases the pH of sweat glands. It makes the environment more acidic, reducing sweat production.
How is iontophoresis done?
First, you need to submerge your problem area—either your hands or feet—in water. You may also attach water-soaked pads to your armpits.
Tap water is okay, although saltwater can increase conductivity.
Next, your doctor uses an iontophoresis device to deliver a mild electric current to your skin. You might feel a slight tingling, prickly sensation. But this procedure will not cause pain or permanent damage to the skin.
After the treatment, sweat is temporarily blocked from seeping out of your skin.
The iontophoresis procedure is pretty quick. Each session usually lasts for about 20 to 30 minutes. Expect to undergo around seven sessions over a four-week period.
Since the results are not permanent, you need to get touch-up sessions on a weekly to monthly basis.
Are there risks associated with iontophoresis for hyperhidrosis?
Iontophoresis is one of the safest procedures to reduce your excessive sweating. It still has side effects, but they are quite rare.
The most common side effects are skin dryness, roughness, and itchiness. But you can solve this by applying lotion or moisturizer to your treated areas afterward.
Blisters or bruising may also occur if the intensity of the current is too high. You might also feel a mild burning sensation if you accidentally touch an electrode.
Pregnant women and those with metal implants should refrain from undergoing this treatment.
How much does iontophoresis cost?
Prices for iontophoresis may vary. A single session can have a hefty price tag of $150. The cost for those weekly or monthly top-up sessions can also add up.
You can also buy your own iontophoresis machine. But this will set you back around $500 to well over $1000. The upside is that you can do the treatment right at the comfort of your home.
While iontophoresis costs are not the cheapest, your body is still worth investing in. It might even be cheaper in the long run because you no longer need to buy over-the-counter treatments.
What are other alternatives for iontophoresis?
Iontophoresis is not the only way to treat hyperhidrosis.
Other procedures you can explore if you have severe sweating include the following.
miraDry is another non-invasive way of relieving hyperhidrosis, especially in the underarm area.
It’s almost like iontophoresis because it uses a handheld device to deliver electromagnetic energy below the skin. But this time, the results are permanent.
Its microwave technology targets and eliminates sweat, odor, and hair glands. As a result, it dramatically minimizes sweat and body odor and even stops hair growth in the armpits.
Botox is famously known as a cosmetic procedure. However, it can also help you with your excessive sweating.
It helps prevent the release of a chemical that activates the sweat glands. But like iontophoresis, it requires several sessions to achieve maximum effectiveness.
Like other hyperhidrosis treatments, oral anticholinergic drugs help stop sweat gland activity.
You can also apply topical medications like Dermira’s QBREXZA to block nerves that induce sweating.
Just make sure that you ask prescription from your doctor before trying out these drugs.
Iontophoresis for hyperhidrosis is one of the many options to get rid of excessive sweating in your hands and feet. But when it comes to underarm sweating, you might be better off trying miraDry treatments.
Interested in learning more about iontophoresis and miraDry? Schedule a Free Consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeon here in Face+Body Cosmetic Surgery. Let’s discuss the different hyperhidrosis treatment options that best suit your needs.