Sweating is a bodily function that helps regulate your body temperature. Your body has an average of three million sweat glands, which release the salt-based fluid. Most people do not give any thought to this normal occurrence but for those who suffer from excessive sweating, it causes anxiety and embarrassment.
CMDL: What is hyperhidrosis and how is it different than ‘normal sweating’?
Hyperhidrosis is defined as sweating that interferes with normal daily activities. For example, sweating that stains clothing and restricts what people can comfortably wear, or professional and social encounters where the sweating is unbearable and embarrassing. Any sweating that is not easily controlled with an over-the-counter antiperspirant is another common way to determine whether someone has localized hyperhidrosis.
CMDL: What causes it?
There is a genetic susceptibility to hyperhidrosis. It is also commonly triggered by stress but can also occur with normal activities.
CMDL: Have you heard of using neuromodulators or miraDry for treating underarms? Can you please explain how both works to prevent sweating?
Neuromodulators temporarily put the sweat glands to sleep, whereas miraDry permanently removes the excess sweat glands in the underarm area.
CMDL: Can you please explain the miraDry treatment and the technology involved?
It’s a non-invasive treatment that uses pulsed microwave technology to remove excess sweat glands of the underarms. The area is numbed with a local anesthetic so that the hour long treatments are painless. The treatment is applied with a handpiece that protects the skin with cycles of cooling then heating with the microwave radiofrequency energy. The treatment’s microwaves intelligently focus at the skin depth where sweat glands reside, while cancelling out waves that travel back up to the surface of the skin. Think of ripples in a pond. There is a triple benefit with miraDry as it not only reduces sweating, but also reduces underarm hair and can help reduce body odour. It is the only treatment that can reduce hair of any colour – including blonde hair.
Some soreness, swelling, numbness and temporary bruising is expected after treatment, but most patients return to normal activities straight away. A follow-up visit is usually arranged for 3 months after the treatment to assess final results. On average, there is 82% reduction in the volume of underarm sweating. There is no risk of increased sweating in other body areas. One to three treatments is required, spaced three months apart. The majority of patients are happy with results from one treatment.
CMDL: Do neuromodulators work as effectively and how often do you need to repeat treatment?
Neuromodulator treatments last about half a year and work within 24 hours. MiraDry works instantly and studies have shown that its effect persists for years, as sweat glands cannot grow back. Neuromodulators may be able to reduce sweating to a greater extent than surgery or miraDry. However, the effects are temporary, which is why many patients prefer a more long-lasting and non-invasive solution – i.e miraDry.
CMDL: Is anyone a candidate for miraDry and what body parts can it be used on?
MiraDry is only approved for treating sweating in the underarm area (axilla). A proper medical consultation with a physician is needed to properly evaluate and fully inform a patient. Beyond hyperhidrosis, anyone that uses an antiperspirant on a daily basis is a potential candidate for miraDry as a lifestyle choice.
About Dr. Mark Lupin
Dr. Mark Lupin is a world renowned dermatologist and lecturer in the field of non-surgical facial rejuvenation. With many publications to his name and often quoted as an expert in the media, he is dedicated to his patients and advancement of best practices.
Dr. Lupin founded Cosmedica Laser Centre 19 years ago and is uniquely qualified in both Dermatology and Neurology. He studied at Indiana University, the University of Southern California, Dalhousie University, University of Toronto and at UBC. He has had extra training at the prestigious St. John’s Hospital in London, England, in the subspecialty field of photodermatology – the interaction of light and our skin.
He is well-respected amongst his peers in the use of lasers and is known as the “go-to” person because of his many years of experience with laser safety, advanced techniques and laser physics.
In addition to medicine, Dr. Lupin is a world-class classical violinist. He actively performs both as a soloist and as Concertmaster for the World Doctors Orchestra, with all concert proceeds donated to help medical charities.