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Iontophoresis has been used to treat excessive sweating since the 1940s. Recently there have been device improvements to make the treatment more effective for other body areas, too.
Iontophoresis is often recommended for people who've tried prescription or clinical strength antiperspirants, but need a stronger treatment. For people with hyperhidrosis of the hands and/or feet, iontophoresis treatments has been shown to dramatically decrease sweating. One study found that iontophoresis helped 91% of patients with excessive palmoplantar (hands and feet) sweating. Another study showed that iontophoresis reduced palmoplantar sweating by 81%.
During iontophoresis, a medical device is used to pass a mild electrical current through water (usually using shallow pans for hands or feet or specific pads for other body areas) and through the skin's surface. There are no significant or serious side effects and the benefits are long-term, provided you keep up with the maintenance schedule your doctor recommends (usually once per week).
Typical iontophoresis treatments consist of placing your hands and/or feet into two shallow trays, each filled with tap water. A mild electrical current is applied to the areas for about 10-20 minutes per session. Initially most people start with 2-3 sessions per week followed up by a maintenance program at 1-3 week intervals. Please speak with your physician for more information on what is right for you and your needs.