Ever have trouble doing inversions in yoga class without slipping or avoid holding hands with a new flame because you can’t stop worrying about your constantly sweaty palms? Well, anyone with hyperhidrosis can definitely relate. Palmoplantar hyperhidrosis, which is a fancy name for the more-common-than-you-realize issue of excessive perspiring on the palms or soles of the feet, is caused by overactive nerves that signal the sweat glands to do their thing.
So how can you get rid of the pesky problem? Well, your doc can prescribe a topical antiperspirant that contains aluminum chloride, a synthetic chemical that’s been linked to breast cancer, to plug up the sweat ducts or surgically remove sweat glands in your palms, an option that includes a host of risks like loss of feeling in your hands, infection, and nerve damage. But before you resort to extremes, there’s another (healthy) way to put a stop to the sweat: a little mindfulness.
Since the condition is triggered by stress and anxiety, the cycle basically just keeps repeating itself. That’s where mindfulness comes in.
Doris Day, MD, a New York City–based dermatologist, told Self that all the stress people endure from having hyperhidrosis can actually wind up making sweaty symptom worse. Just think about it: When you get anxious, you sweat—then that sweat causes even more anxiety. Since the condition is triggered by stress and anxiety, the cycle basically just keeps repeating itself. That’s where mindfulness comes in.
According to Dr. Day, acknowledging you’re sweating, deciding to stay calm, drying your palms, and then moving on can actually help naturally wick away the moisture. Obviously having a “no sweat!” attitude about your clammy hands can be tricky, but convincing yourself to believe it’s NBD—because it is—could be your simplest solution (and all the more reason to decorate your Zen nook to get in the optimal mindful mind-set).
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