SWEATY PALMS If your palms sweat more than a stool pigeon under police interrogation, you have a condition that doctors know as hyperhidrosis- -excess sweating of your palms. In nonmedical language, you might call it just plain embarrassing. But here's how to get quick, hands-on relief.
"Shock" yourself dry. "The best treatment out there is a low-level electrical current called iontophoresis, " according to Norman Levine, M.D., chief of dermatology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine Health Sciences Center in Tucson. Dr. Levine recommends a device called the Drionic that administers the low-level current.
How it works: The Drionic uses a 9-volt battery--not enough to harm you but enough to plug up over-active sweat ducts and keep them plugged for about six weeks. To remedy a sweaty palm condition, simply place your palm on top of the device for a few minutes. Further information about the Drionic is available from General Medical Company, 1935 Armacost Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90025.
Treat your palms as underarms.
For a mild case of hyperhidrosis, the solution may already be in your medicine chest. "Some people find relief by rubbing underarm antiperspirant on their palms," says Stephen M. Purcell, D.O., chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and an assistant clinical professor at Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. But check the label: The kind of antiperspirant that works on clammy hands should contain aluminum chlorohydrate, the active drying ingredient.
Manage your stress.
"One effective way of remedying hyperhidrosis is through stress management," says Dr. Levine. "Learn biofeedback or practice some other stress control treatment, since this condition is at least partially brought on by stress or nervousness. "
Boil five tea bags in a quart of water for 10 minutes. When the solution cools, soak your hands for 20 to 30 minutes nightly. Tea contains tannic acid, which is also found in commercial products such as Ivy Dry, Zilactol and Zilactin. Tea bags can also be held in the palm for 10-15 minutes daily to reduce perspiring palms.
One way to reduce sweaty palms is to reduce your intake of foods rich in iodine. Vegetables to avoid include broccoli, asparagus and white onion. Meats to avoid include beef, liver and turkey.
Drinking sage tea provide an additional home remedy for sweaty palms. Zinc has also shown promise in lessening both perspiration as well as body odor. The best advice with zinc is to avoid long term use as it may interfere with copper absorption.
The "Obvious" Solution Is Not the Best
Why not dry those clammy hands with baby powder? After all, it seems like the cheapest dry-all solution.
"Baby powder might be the first thing people turn to. But rubbing powder on your palms is one of the worst things you can do, unless you have a very mild case," says Stephen M. Purcell, D.O., chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and an assistant clinical professor at Hahnemann University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. "As the powder absorbs the perspiration, it will cake up, leaving you with sweaty, caked-up hands instead of just sweaty hands."