Hand Sweating (Palmar Hyperhidrosis)

Clammy hands, or Palmar Hyperhidrosis, is a problem that can occur for anybody, for a whole host of reasons.  Although this form of Hyperhidrosis is less visible others, it can still cause awkwardness to the sufferer.  Writing, typing, shaking someone’s hand, playing an instrument or even just holding on to something that prove difficult and embarrassing.  The extent to which people sweat on their hands does vary.  Some might find just a small amount of sweat difficult to deal with, whereas other may sweat constantly, having wet hands for the majority of the time.  It is believed that this condition may be widely inherited, although that offers little help to you if you do suffer from palmar Hyperhidrosis. 

Causes of Hand Sweating

Excessive sweating of the hands can be caused by many things, and it might be difficult to determine exactly which it is that is causing your problems. 

  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Primary Hyperhidrosis
  • Secondary Hyperhidrosis
  • Overactive sympathetic system

In the past pumping sweat to our hands and feet would have allowed for a quicker response when threatened.  Nowadays, however, this reaction is not completely necessary and can cause more harm than good.  It is likely that your sweating problem is something that can be helped, but it is important to approach treatments in the right way.  A consultation with your GP is likely to help to determine the cause of your sweating palms, and they will b able to advise you on how best to deal with the problem.

Seeking Help

Like all excessive sweat problems, it is important to determine the cause of your excess sweating so that you can decide whether the sweating itself needs treatment or whether it is the result of a more serious medical condition.  If your sweating is merely a symptom of something larger, then by treating the initial problem the sweating will also dissipate. 

Making a consultation is easy, and your normal GP can help with your sweat problem and look into the reasons behind it.  It they find nothing out of the ordinary then they will be able to give you advice on how best to treat your Hyperhidrosis or they will be able to refer you to a specialist who might know the treatments better. 

Treatment for Hand Sweating

The first things to try when attempting to reduce the amount of sweat on your palms are antiperspirants and creams.  These provide a really effective way of reducing the amount of sweat that you encounter by blocking the sweat glands using aluminium chloride.  This is a commonly used substance, and is used for sweat problems all over the body.  Few people have any reaction or allergy to the antiperspirants, although there is a small chance that you might encounter skin irritation or some discomfort.  The antiperspirant is applied at night and washed off in the morning, allowing you to stay dry throughout the day.  Although at first you will need to apply it daily, eventually the amount you have to use will reduce and only once or twice each week will you need to worry about it.  Antiperspirants are very popular, effective and a cheap way to solve your palmar Hyperhidrosis problems.

Some people opt for a different treatment and use the process of iontophoresis as a way to stop excessive sweating of the palms.  This is a treatment that uses electric currents within a water tray to close your sweat glands, leading to dryer hands.  Although not a permanent solution, iontophoresis does allow you not to worry about antiperspirants, and can prove a very effective way to prevent sweat problems.  Home kits are now available so that you can continue to use them, as unfortunately it is not a long term, permanent solution.  Treatments need to be repeated when necessary, and the results are only seen after the initial course of treatment is over. 

Surgery is the last option for those suffering from palmar Hyperhidrosis, however it is a big decision to take and you will need to be certain before you undertake it.  The nerves that control the sweat glands in the area can be cut, or the sweat glands can be removed from the skin using specialist tools.  Both have their pros and cons, and both are likely to result in some form of alternative sweating of a different body area.  This is known as compensatory sweating, and occurs as the body tries to sweat as before.  Surgery is a serious matter, and there are many other risks that can occur if you decide to go down this route.


Many people find that the new antiperspirants and hand creams available are enough to help prevent any excess sweating on their palms.  These are a relatively new introduction to the market, and are an inexpensive way to reduce excess sweating.  Some people, however, might find that they suffer from irritation of the skin when using these products so they might try iontophoresis instead.  Either way, you can expect a good result from the products that are available to aid with your palmar Hyperhidrosis.

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