Palmar hyperhidrosis (excess sweating of the palms) is a common condition. It may occur in isolation or be associated with excess sweating from the axilla, the feet and elsewhere. There are a variety of treatments. You might also want to read our information leaflet on axillary hyperhidrosis which explains some other aspects of the condition.

Sweat is a solution of water and salts produced by glands immediately under the skin and cools the body by evaporation during exercise and in warm surroundings. The activity of these glands is normally controlled by the nervous system. In a small number of people (less than 1.0% of the population), this control mechanism fails to function normally causing excessive sweating, even when body temperature is normal. This condition is known as hyperhidrosis.

Occasionally, hyperhidrosis occurs as a result of abnormal hormone levels and these will be measured as part of the assessment of people with this condition. In most cases, no reason for the excessive sweating will be identified by these tests.

Excess sweating may occur anywhere but usually affects the hands, armpits, scalp, face, and/or feet. Although some people may find this excess sweating embarrassing, it is not a dangerous or life threatening condition.


The principle means of treating this condition are the use of potent antiperspirants, Iontophoresis and (rarely) surgery


The most effective antiperspirant is Aluminum Chloride - Anhydrol Forte or Drichlor- which may be prescribed for you by a doctor in the clinic or your General Practitioner. This is applied in the evening 2-3 times per week and washed off in the mornings. In some cases, it causes skin irritation. The treatment must be repeated regularly for life. This agent cannot be used on the face or scalp. You can read about this medication on the HPRA website (


This treatment is suitable for people who find that the excess sweating mainly occurs from the palms or soles of the feet. An electrical machine is used which uses electrical current to drive ions from tap water into the skin. You can buy this machine and use it at home. The treatment is used every day initially (for an hour or so) and then a few times per week. It is effective is some people in dealing with the problem but not in everyone. It has little risk of side effects.

You can read more about iontophoresis and purchase a idrostar(TM) iontophoresis machine on the Morehampton Clinic website. They can be contacted by telephone on 01 269 3921 or via their website You can watch a video showing this machine in use on YouTube

While surgery (Endoscopic sympathectomy (ES), Trans thoracic sympathectomy (TTEC)  or Video assisted Thoracic Surgery (VATS) has been used for this condition, complications and recurrence are commion and this procedure is now rarely used for the treatment of palmar hyperhidrosis.