We’ve all had those sudden thoughts of panic:
- As it’s clear you’re going in for that first kiss, OMG I should have had some gum, my breath is worse than a wet dog that rolled around in a field of garlic and gorgonzola.
- Or you’re dashing out the door, already fifteen minutes behind, and when you finally get there, you look down at your feet, and oh s#!&, you’re wearing two different shoes.
- My personal bête noire - feeling happy and limber at yoga, until the teacher comes over to adjust my errant arms in triangle pose - oh no! I forgot to reapply deodorant before class - and now my inner peace is clouded with profuse silent apologies for my sweat and stink.
These are all situations where your personal feelings of terror eclipse anything a more objective outsider may notice, but happily they can all be remedied with a little thinking and planning. Tuck a tiny tin of mints into your bag, a quick head to toe check before leaving the house, and, uh, stash extra deodorant everywhere you go?
For a lot of us these days, that’s not a great option - with anecdotal concerns about the safety of traditional antiperspirant/deodorants, many people are looking into “natural” antiperspirant/deodorant (which often feel less effective) and beyond.
Some people have such debilitating issues with sweat, called hyperhidrosis, for which true clinical strength antiperspirant is prescribed. Botox is also an effective option that works by temporarily blocking the chemical signals from the nerves that activate sweat glands. The downside? It requires around 20-30 separate needlesticks to inject 50-60 units of Botox per armpit, and the treatment needs to be repeated about every 6 months to maintain dryness.1
The latest innovation in getting the underarm area under control? An impressive device called miraDry, which was cleared by the FDA back in 2012 and does triple duty - eliminating sweat glands, reducing odor, and diminishing hair growth with a single in-office treatment. It looks like a medical laser machine, but it uses microwave energy to precisely target the glands that produce sweat, odor, and hair.
The clinical studies for miraDry (also marketed as miraSmooth) have shown up to 82% reduction in sweating, 89% satisfaction in odor reduction, and almost 70% reduction in underarm hair (regardless of skin/hair color!).2 The results have been dramatic for hyperhidrosis patients - but miraDry also seems perfect for people like me, who are just tired of feeling too sweaty and stinky at the most inopportune moments.
I was so excited about the miraDry technology that once the machine was delivered and our office was trained, I scrambled into the exam chair to be Patient Number One to get my armpits zapped. Less than an hour later with virtually zero discomfort (our practice uses the minimally-invasive tumescent technique to numb the underarms), I was done. The first night was sore, I won’t lie - but icing and ibuprofen helped. The next day, it was back to normal in the operating room.
The hardest part of it all? Getting used to not applying antiperspirant/deodorant every day. It. Was. Weird. But now, it’s incredibly freeing - I haven’t used anything in almost a year. Mind you, I still sweat here and there and under extreme duress I do sneak a whiff, but it is nothing like it was before miraDry sans deodorant.
Not having to think about my underarms? Not feeling awkward or self-conscious? It’s incredible.
1. Lowe NJ, et al. Botulinum toxin type A in the treatment of primary axillary hyperhidrosis: a 52-week multicenter double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of efficacy and safety. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007 Apr;56(4):604-11.
2. Hong HC-H, Lupin M, O’Shaughnessy KF. Clinical Evaluation of a Microwave Device for Treating Axillary Hyperhidrosis. Dermatologic Surgery. 2012;38(5):728-735.
By Drs. Angeline Lim and Jennifer Weintraub (Duet Plastic Surgery) - Expert Plastic Surgeons