What is Iontophoresis? Electric Treatment for Excessive Sweating

July 31, 2020 3 min read

what is iontophoresis

Whether you suffer from hyperhidrosis or other health conditions, excessive sweating can keep you from living life to its fullest. It can hinder relationships and limit social activities, not to mention that everyday functions like shaking a hand can cause anxiety. If antiperspirants aren’t cutting it anymore, there are non-invasive medical options like iontophoresis treatment.

You may wonder, what is iontophoresis exactly? Read on to get the full lowdown.

What is iontophoresis treatment?

Iontophoresis is an electric treatment for excessive sweating. This non-invasive treatment typically takes place in the doctor’s office, though there are some home devices available.

The affected part of the body is submerged in water and receives mild electrical currents from a medical device. Your healthcare provider slowly increases the current until you feel a slight tingling feeling. The currents are typically sent to common problem areas for excessive sweating, making iontophoresis for sweaty hands, feet, and armpits a viable option.

How does iontophoresis work?

Iontophoresis blocks the signals that trigger the sweat glands into action, or over action in the case of hyperhidrosis. By directing a mild current through the skin via water, the connection between the nerves and sweat glands is neutralized. Effectively, this stops messages from the overactive nerves from reaching the sweat glands. As a result, it reduces or completely stops excessive sweating in the treated area.

Is iontophoresis effective?

For the skeptics out there asking, does iontophoresis work? Iontophoresis for hyperhidrosis has not only proven to be successful but it is also one of the safest and cost-effective treatment options. Clinical studies show a 90-100% success rate for patients who undergo the treatment.

It’s important to note that iontophoresis offers temporary relief from excessive sweating. For some people, it is necessary to continue with regular sessions in order to sustain results.

What is a typical iontophoresis treatment schedule?

Your doctor will design an iontophoresis treatment schedule based on your symptoms. A session typically lasts between 25 to 45 minutes. Most likely, you will need more than one session to experience an improvement in your symptoms.

Do you need a prescription for iontophoresis treatment?

In certain countries, including the United States, a prescription is required for iontophoresis. However, in the majority of countries, you do not need a prescription for treatment.

Clinical studies show a 90-100% success rate for patients who undergo iontophoresis. 

Are there any side effects? 

You may experience some minor side effects like tingling of the skin, irritation, and redness. Treatment is not recommended alongside some health conditions, which your doctor will discuss with you.

Can you do iontophoresis at home?

Yes! It is possible to do home sessions with an iontophoresis machine, like the one made by Dermadry. This convenient, at-home device uses tap water to treat hyperhidrosis of the hands, feet, and underarms. It is available in three different models: Underarms, Hands & Feet, and Total.

The Dermadry iontophoresis machines are portable and can be plugged into an energy source to start the ionized current, which is delivered to the skin using water as a conductor. Length of treatment again depends on the severity of symptoms. While it is a Canadian product, it has recently been cleared by the FDA for use in the United States.

For more information including video demonstrations and pricing, visit the Dermadry website.

Dermadry iontophoresis device

If you want to learn about other medical treatments for hyperhidrosis, you can obtain extensive information from the International Hyperhidrosis Society or from your health care provider.

While you seek out ways to manage your hyperhidrosis symptoms, protect your clothes with Ejis sweat proof undergarments (available in our shop or on Amazon). Our sweat proof undershirts and boxer briefs have a silent waterproof layer to prevent sweat from reaching your clothes. They also have antimicrobial technology to control odor-causing bacteria to help you feel fresh and confident.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. 

This article was originally published in July 2020, and updated in September 2020.

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