It’s not too late to tune in to Travel Bags With Annita. Listen below to my segment about hyperhidrosis, how it got me to where I am, and meeting someone in the middle of the ocean who also has hyperhidrosis!
It’s not too late to tune in to Travel Bags With Annita. Listen below to my segment about hyperhidrosis, how it got me to where I am, and meeting someone in the middle of the ocean who also has hyperhidrosis!
Hello sweaty friends! Check out the facelift I gave my blog. It’s much more modern looking now, don’t you think?
Last week I told you about the new underarm treatment study that’s currently enrolling participants who have axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating in the underarms). I’ve been to the dermatologist in my area twice now for the initial screening, and there are several things I took note of that will help you as you begin your own clinical trial process.
This was the first time in my life I was actually hoping I’d sweat really bad!
You will undergo a sweat test, and this first appointment when they do it is crucial. If you don’t meet the sweat measurement protocol at visit 1, you won’t qualify for visits 2 – 4, which are also pre-screening visits. The day of visit 1, you’ll arrive between 7 and 11 am with clean-shaven underarms (at least for the ladies; men, I’m not sure) and wearing no deodorant or antiperspirant. They’ll place cotton pads under each arm and measure the amount of sweat over a 5-minute period. Once they remove the pads, they are placed in a vial, capped, and then the weight of the vial is measured. I believe the protocol is 150mg total (how they can measure sweat in milligrams is beyond me – I think it should be grams or milliliters, but I’m no scientist) between the two underarms. Note: it’s okay to wear plain deodorant for the several days approaching visit 1. The day of the visit you will wear nothing.
I arrived in a short-sleeved dress, leggings, and a cardigan. Since my armpits were covered by my dress, I had to wear a paper vest from the waist up. Now, normally doctor’s offices and paper gowns get me really worked up and sweaty, but this time it wasn’t happening. Crazy, right?
Before I changed clothes into the paper gown, I had already been in the exam room for about 30 minutes answering questionnaires and giving some medical history to the staff. There was plenty of time for me to adapt to the temperature of the room and calm down a little bit. Plus, the staff were really nice and made me feel very comfortable, reducing my fight-or-flight response that those with hyperhidrosis normally experience. Because of this, I was not sweating under my arms like I thought I would. I was actually cold sitting there in the flimsy gown.
We attempted the sweat test a second time after I slipped my cardigan on over the gown and sat there for a few minutes. I tried to think of things that would make me get riled up and sweaty, so I pulled out my phone and started texting Lisa at the International Hyperhidrosis Society. She’s the one who told me about the study, so I started angrily typing to her that the sweat protocol was outlandish and would reduce the number of participants these dermatologists would get. My hands were nice and drippy after that, and apparently it got my pits wet enough, too. The round 2 sweat test was successful, and I qualified for visits 2 – 4.
So, ladies, wear a tank top and a long-sleeved button up shirt or a cardigan, that way you don’t have to do the paper gown and can keep some of the heat trapped inside to produce an adequate amount of sweat. Guys, I’d also recommend a tank top undershirt if you have one, layered with a button down shirt so you can keep both on as well. They just need to be able to access your underarms to place the pads.
If you pass the sweat test, you will then have blood drawn; ladies will have a pregnancy test via urine performed if they are of child-bearing age. I didn’t know this, so my veins weren’t exactly plump and ready for the nurse. Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids the day before and the morning of visit 1 so that your veins are primed for the taking and you have to pee.
Visit 1 is probably the longest visit you’ll have. The staff will go over your medical history, you’ll meet the dermatologist, perform the sweat test, have blood drawn, etc. I was there for nearly 2 hours, and most of the time I was sitting on the exam table on that horrific crinkly and noisy paper. So imagine what it’s like sitting there that long on hard vinyl with a thin layer of paper over it. Absolutely no air flow. Combine that with the leggings I was wearing (which don’t normally make me sweat), and you have the perfect recipe for a puddle.
And I can’t believe I’m about to post this picture on the Internet, but here you go. This one’s for my sweaty homies.
So decide where you’re most comfortable sitting, but also think about what will make you sweat the most, because for once you do want to be a wreck in order to qualify for the clinical trial. There was a chair in the exam room, so after I was dressed I moved to the chair to finish the appointment.
Up next, visit 2. Stay tuned for more sweaty adventures. And, if you haven’t called 866-72-SWEAT to enroll in the study, what in the sweaty hell are you waiting for?! Join me, and together we can find an effective treatment for hyperhidrosis.
I’ve tried nearly everything to treat my hyperhidrosis. So when I came across a new product called Carpe Lotion for sweaty hands and feet, I was excited to try it. At only $14.95 a tube with a love it or it’s free guarantee, I figured why not?
The lotion is made with eucalyptus oil, which dries the surface layer of your skin as you apply it. The active ingredient, aluminum sesquichlorohydate, soaks into your sweat glands to calm them down. When I tried the lotion for the first time, I was skeptical about whether it would actually work. I’ve been told by a dermatologist that I have the worst case of hyperhidrosis he’s ever seen. Once my little package arrived in the mail, I tore into it and was ready to find some dryness.
The makers of Carpe Lotion suggest you apply it about 10 minutes before you think you’ll need it. I was at work the first time I used it, and my sweating is usually the worst first thing in the morning. I washed my hands and applied a pea-sized amount just like the directions suggested. As I rubbed my palms together vigorously, they started to smell fresh and clean from the eucalyptus oil. I waved my hands back and forth to help dry them off, as applying lotion to my palms is a trigger for me and makes me want to sweat more. Once my palms were dry, they had a slight coating on them, but it wasn’t anything too strange.
About an hour later, I noticed my palms looked dry and cracked, even though they actually weren’t. In fact, my hands were so dry I almost WANTED to put lotion on them, which is abnormal for most people with hyperhidrosis.
The lotion lasted through several hand washings, and it continued to provide me with dryness the whole day. I’ve also experimented with applying it at night before bed, just like the International Hyperhidrosis Society recommends for underarm antiperspirants. Why? Because your body temperature drops overnight, and the active ingredient can be better absorbed into the skin to form the “plugs” that block the sweat ducts.
I also experimented with applying the lotion while in public. I’m sitting at a coffee shop blogging right now, so I whipped out the Carpe Lotion tube from my purse and, gasp! applied lotion to my palms without the aid of a towel or sink nearby. This, of course, made my hands sweat as I was rubbing them together. It took me a little bit longer to get my hands dry again, but now they’re just fine, and I can feel the layer of product on my skin. I am dry typing this as you read. Yay!
I plan to try this on my feet next, so I’ll let you know how that goes.
Conclusion? Carpe Lotion works, and it’s affordable. Mad props to co-founder Kasper for discussing the product with me and inventing something that, I’ll be damned, actually works. You rock!
This post is dedicated to Meagan, one of my readers. Sweet girl, you are not alone in your sweaty life.
Are you one of those people who think you can’t do certain types of physical activity/exercise because there aren’t products that are sweat friendly to help you cope with your hyperhidrosis? Think again! Let’s talk about yoga.
I spent hours searching online for the best yoga mat that would prevent me from slipping and sliding all over the place. Here’s the one I bought:
I’ve used this mat while doing yoga in the rainforest where it’s extra humid. Okay, that makes me sound like a jet-setter. I did yoga at a butterfly pavilion, which is kinda the same thing. This mat gave me good traction so I could actually focus on the yoga and not my sweating.
For days when I’m having a really hard time controlling my sweating, I like to use a yoga towel on top of my mat. This one also works as a travel mat and folds up nice and neat so you can throw it in a suitcase. The microfiber provides extra grip and absorbs the sweat really well so you can practice your asanas with confidence. It’s also machine washable so you can get the nasty off.
For extra sweat protection, you can try these grippy gloves and socks. I personally feel like I do better when my feet are bare and exposed to the air, but you can start out with socks if they help you to feel more confident (like when you’re in mountain pose with your feet firmly planted). They come in cute Mary Jane styles (both open-toe and full-toe) and also more manly versions for the sweaty guys out there – hey, dudes!
These grippy gloves are perfect for poses like downward dog when your hands are supporting a lot of your weight and are more likely to slip and slide.
Still not ready to venture outside of your sweat box and expand your horizons by taking a yoga class in a studio or gym? That’s okay. You can do yoga any time, anywhere with My Yoga on Gaiam TV. A subscription to this online streaming service is only 99 cents for the first month, and then $9.95 month thereafter. I’ve done many of these yoga videos in my living room when no one else is around. There’s a great beginner series on their website, too, if you’re just starting out with yoga. And, it’s not just yoga that you can watch. They have a ton of inspirational films, documentaries, and original shows that you can’t find anywhere else. It’s like Netflix, only way cooler. Plus, they have free content like articles and yoga poses.
The other neat thing about Gaiam TV is that you can download your favorite content to your device and then take it with you. This is great for yoga because as you get comfortable doing it in your living room first, you can then experiment with it in the park, your hotel when you’re traveling, indoors in a high school gym, etc. This is perfect for those with hyperhidrosis since we like to test and adapt to our environments. The more control we have over our surroundings, the better we can manage our sweating, right?
Yoga actually restores and resets your nervous system. It calms you down. So when our sympathetic nervous system is constantly in overdrive and behaving in the fight-or-flight mode, we sweat, and way more than others because our eccrine glands are constantly in the “on” mode. The sympathetic nervous system acts like a thermostat, and it’s hard to turn it down in those with hyperhidrosis.
This is where the parasympathetic nervous system comes into play. This is the system we want to tap into to produce calm in our bodies. When we open the energy channel of the parasympathetic nervous system, we can tune into ourselves and stop worrying about our excessive sweating problem because we’re becoming one with the moment. Sounds lofty, I know, but I have done yoga classes where I am completely dry by the time I arrive at shavasana (corpse pose). I’ve left the class wanting to cry tears of joy for experiencing an activity dry like “normal” people do all the time.
So, stop making those BS excuses as to why you think you can’t try yoga and be sweaty at the same time. If you’re extra worried, do a hot yoga class where everyone is sweating right alongside you and you can better blend in. After all, you’ve got the products now to help you.
(Note: I was not paid for this post nor did I receive any products for free. I simply took the time to find what I needed to make my life as a puddle a bit easier. It’s all about asking – and looking – for what you need in order to live a drier life.)
If you are looking for a shirt to wear that’s sweat-friendly, doesn’t show pit stains, and actually keeps you cooler as you sweat, then you need to check out the Thompson Tee. Right now, from November 21-28, you can get one for 20 percent off using the code president Billy Thompson created just for you, My Life as a Puddle readers. That code is Puddle2014.
I’ve got several of these shirts myself, both the men’s and the women’s versions, so I’ve personally tested these out and done things like shovel snow in a fleece sweatshirt and winter coat. You know, stuff that really makes you sweat under all those layers. These shirts work!
A few of my favorite things about the Thompson Tee:
And, I correspond regularly with the president of the company to give him feedback on these products. What’s better than firsthand experience from someone with sweaty underarms?
So grab ’em while the price is hot and before YOU get hot.
Go to www.thompsontee.com and enter code Puddle2014 for 20 percent off. Let me know what you think.
A new bamboo/Spandex version is also available now, too, so I’m looking forward to trying one of these next.
Want more info? Read my other posts about the Thompson Tee.
Last month, I flew to Houston to attend Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend. It was amazing. While I didn’t get to be up close and personal with Oprah herself, I still saw her from the big screen as she spoke to the audience about creating a bigger and better life for yourself. Oprah gave the keynote address on Friday evening, and then on Saturday she was joined onstage by Deepak Chopra, Iyanla Vanzant, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Rob Bell.
Before the big event that first night, I went to O Town, a pop-up town square with interactive booths. I’m glad I went as soon as it opened, because the entire thing was outside. In Houston. With humidity. Not cool for someone who has a sweating condition.
One of the stops in O Town was the Toyota booth. Here, you could decorate a journal using scrapbook paper and tons of accessories. The line was pretty long by the time I joined, so I had to stand in the sun for a long time before the line moved inside the tent. Once I got out of the sun, I realized there wasn’t any air flow inside the tent. Uh oh.
The journal decorating area consisted of leather couches and stools and was in the back corner of the tent, even farther away from any of the air that had managed to creep inside the periphery. I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to be able to decorate my journal. Sitting down on the leather furniture when I was already sticky from the heat combined with sharing scissors, glue, and everything else with a bunch of other people was no bueno for my puddle life. So, I stood in line long enough to grab my journal and a few pieces of decorative paper, and then I hightailed it out of that stagnant, muggy tent, deciding I’d finish my journal when I got home and could control my environment.
After the failed journal line, I made my way over to the Oil of Olay booth, where I got a mini makeover by a makeup artist. Oprah’s camera crew was there and filmed me while I was in the makeup chair. 🙂
Once I made the rounds at each booth, I could tell I was getting dehydrated from the sun and all the sweating I was trying so desperately NOT to do. At least I had the foresight to snag a washcloth from the hotel room on my way out the door. I stuffed it in my purse and used it discreetly every now and then to wipe off my hands. I also grabbed a flyer from the IKEA booth, which I used to fan myself and block the sun when I was in line. It was time to say peace out to Oprah and escape to an air-conditioned restaurant for some lunch.
That night in the arena, I was fine sweat-wise and could take notes without any problems. I, of course, brought my sweat-friendly notebook and favorite pen to minimize any sweat marks and paper curling (read more about paper and pens for hyperhidrosis). I also got a fabulous handout from Oprah that I used as part of creating a new vision statement for my life. It’s important to check in with yourself on a regular basis and analyze whether your life is going in the direction you desire (like when this crazy thing happened to me). If it’s not, it’s time to re-frame your life and choose different thoughts. Your thoughts create your life.
As I went through the exercises with my favorite life teacher, Oprah, I could see where I was headed with my new vision statement (read more about stepping outside of your hyperhidrosis). While I won’t share it all here, I will tell you that it includes no longer talking to myself in the self-deprecating voice that is reserved for me; I can be my own worst enemy. How many of you have a sweaty inner monologue like I do? It goes something like this:
You’re disgusting. Look at the sweaty mess you are. You’d better apologize as soon as someone notices your sweat. You can’t do this, this, or this because of your stupid hyperhidrosis. Why did this happen to me? I’m not good enough. I wish I could be like everyone else and live in a dry world.
Sound familiar? Why do we do this to ourselves? Compare our sweaty lives to the lives of others? Act like we’re less than, freakish, an embarrassment? You, and I, are exactly enough just as we are. So sit with yourself awhile – sweaty hands, feet, armpits, groin, or wherever it is that you sweat – and love yourself through it.
Accept and allow who and how you are to come forth. Yes, we want a cure for our excessive sweating and yes, we’ll never give up hope and will keep trying treatments for hyperhidrosis. But in the meantime, stop the self-hatred. Hold your head high. You are enough, and you are loved despite the sweating that might make you think you’re less than. You’re safe here. So own it.
Here is part of my vision statement. I hope it might help you in some way.
I choose to live as my authentic self, no longer apologizing or comparing who I am to others or betraying the nudges of my own heart. #TheLifeIWant
Start to walk through life palms out, hands up.
If you have hyperhidrosis and it affects your feet, finding shoes that are sweat-safe can be a challenge particularly in the summer. You want to be able to wear sandals, flip flops and open-toed shoes like normal dry people wear, but it’s hard finding shoes that make you feel safe. When I say safe, I’m talking about more than one meaning.
When it comes to shoes, the slip and slide factor is a legitimate concern. Sweaty feet inside shoes that are not absorbent or have a smooth footbed with little to no texture could lead to your feet literally slipping right out of your shoes. Picture this scenario happening on a flight of stairs or when crossing a busy intersection. Ankle twists and bone breaking are not cool. But if you have hyperhidrosis, the not-cool factor gets bumped up a notch because it leads to emergency room/doctor visits, bandages and/or casting, and potentially navigating life with crutches for awhile. These are all triggers for hyperhidrosis, which would then require additional modifications in an attempt to achieve dryness.
The other safety I’m referring to is the kind that will keep my hyperhidrosis as hidden as possible, safe enough where I don’t have to think about it too much. There are certain types of fabric and styles of clothing and shoes that I simply will not wear because they’re not “safe.” For example: silk is not sweat-friendly and shows sweat marks very easily. I used to wear Keds white canvas shoes as a kid. The seams turned yellow on those shoes after the glue came loose from my sweaty feet and seeped into the surrounding fabric. I’m afraid to buy white canvas shoes to this day because of that.
So, when I find shoes that work with my sweaty feet, I get really excited. I feel more confident, more normal and like I’m making progress in navigating a drier life. Here are the shoes I bought this summer that work really well with my hyperhidrosis-ridden feet. The only ones that show any sweat marks are the Skechers, but you can only see the sweat marks when I take them off. I haven’t worn the blue fabric wedges yet; I’m hoping the fabric doesn’t stretch after it gets wet. I did have to poke another hole in each strap to get them to fit tighter around my heel.
Do you have any favorite shoes for your sweaty feet? Leave a comment below and share the sweaty love!
Getting fingerprinted with sweaty hands can be a problem. And no, I’m not a criminal who had to be checked into the police department. But that would be a good story, I’m sure. Bad decisions make good stories. Back when I was still in college, I had to be fingerprinted in order to do my student observation in a local high school. I was pursuing a teaching certificate at the time, and part of the requirement was a full background check including fingerprints so I could get clearance to enter the school.
One of my readers emailed me and asked if I have any tips for getting fingerprinted when your hands are really wet. I do!
Call ahead of time and speak to the people who will be collecting your fingerprints. Tell them you have hyperhidrosis and may require some additional time for the prints. Once the people know what they’re dealing with, they may have ideas already that they can begin thinking about and even implementing to help you complete the process.
Ask if you can come in early so that your body can adapt to their room’s temperature. Additionally, you can ask if a private appointment is possible. When I had mine done, all of the other students in the teaching program were there at the same time. You know what that means – LINES. I hate standing in lines. They make me sweat. Your best bet is to have both – a private appointment so you’re by yourself where you can arrive early and just hang out for a bit to get used to the room temperature. Whenever I arrive somewhere, it takes about 10-15 minutes for my body to adapt.
You may not need all of these items, but bring whatever works best for you to help you get dry enough to get good prints.
Based on all of these tips, the biggest one for me is to be able to adapt to the environment. So make sure you are giving yourself plenty of time in the space wherever you’ll be fingerprinted. I do much better when I don’t have to walk into a room and go straight to the action. Slow down, try not to over-think it, and then when you feel comfortable approach the person who will be helping you. Bring a magazine or something to distract yourself with for a few minutes. You don’t want to get caught in the vicious inner monologue many of us experience when we are in a situation that we know has high potential for sweat factor. Good luck!
Have you been fingerprinted with sweaty hands? What was your experience like? Leave me a comment below!
Copyright © 2011-2014 My Life as a Puddle
I decided to try yoga classes again despite my fears of sweating in public in close proximity to others, especially in compromising and vulnerable positions. Yoga classes can be intimidating for those with hyperhidrosis. The fear of dripping sweat all over the mat, on clothing, and on the floor is hard to overcome. But if you make the choice to do one thing every day that scares you, then maybe you, too, can finally be one of those people who doesn’t let their excessive sweating rule every aspect of their lives.
lululemon offers free yoga classes every week at their stores. I didn’t know this until my sister dragged me into one of their locations. If this is your first time doing yoga, I recommend locating some free classes first before you join a yoga studio or pay for individual classes at a gym. It’s a good way to test out different styles of yoga to see which you like best. It’s also a good way to lean into the discomfort factor of being around other people when exercising and sweating. Remember, sweating when exercising is good and very normal, but for those of us with hyperhidrosis this is taken to a whole new level physically and emotionally.
My sister owns quite a bit of lululemon clothing and begged me to try on some of their yoga pants. I had no intention of buying anything, but once I tried on a pair of their Wunder Under crops, I was in love. They are crazy comfortable, and what sold me on them was a combination of things: they came down past my knees, which is an area that sweats very inconspicuously on my body sometimes. The fabric was also thick enough that I didn’t worry about anything showing through if I bent over or stretched my legs. The texture of the fabric also is important for those of us with excessive sweating. The Wunder Unders are very soft and smooth; I could wipe my hands on them, and they didn’t show wet marks or leave salty white stains behind when they dried.
As far as yoga tops go, I don’t own any from lululemon. Yet. However, I do have some racerback tanks made out of polyester that work well for me. You can find some pretty decent items at sporting goods stores online or at department stores like Kohl’s. A couple of the tanks I like are the BCG Women’s Racerback Tank Top – which has moisture wicking fabric to help keep you cool – and the Marika Dry Wik Performance Striped Racerback Tank.
If you’re worried about your feet sweating during yoga, there are yoga socks for this, which I’ve written about in my post Hyperhidrosis & Yoga.
Since it was my first time doing a yoga class indoors, in a retail store location and not a gym or studio, I wasn’t sure what to expect temperature-wise or air flow-wise. I arrived early so that I wasn’t rushed, since we all know that feeling rushed and being in hurry-up mode is an instant trigger for a sweat fest.
At lululemon, they supply the yoga mats for you, so all I brought with me were my yoga socks, a hand towel for wiping off my hands and feet, and a full-size towel to spread on top of the mat supplied. I also brought a water bottle, since staying properly hydrated is important when exercising, especially if you have the uncanny ability to make your own raindrops and further expel more water from your body than the average person. Proper hydration replenishes and refuels the body while also helping to regulate body temperature, so drink up, sweaty peeps. Sometimes I’ll add a dash of sea salt to my water since I lose a ton of salt when sweating.
So, I had the things I needed in order to feel as comfortable as I could, but I still wasn’t sure what to expect from the class.
I’ve been to two free yoga classes so far. The first time I was able to secure a spot in the back row so no one had to look at me from behind. I was in the corner directly underneath a vent in the ceiling where the air conditioning blasted out every so often. Just as I was feeling pretty good, the yoga instructor explained we would be doing a silent walking meditation outside for the first 15 minutes. She said we could wear our shoes if we wanted, but that she’d be walking barefoot. I had my yoga socks on, which I didn’t want to take off and then try to struggle to put back on again once we came back inside. I could have worn them with my flip flops, but there’s a certain dork factor to deal with there, so I decided to take them off altogether and not be inhibited by my fears of sweaty feet on pavement for all to see.
I’m proud to say I made it through the walking meditation completely barefoot with only a few pieces of grass stuck to my feet afterward, which I wiped off as soon as I returned to my mat.
Had I not gone barefoot, I wouldn’t have gotten the full benefit of the walk. The pavement and sidewalks were hot, but it felt good to feel the texture of the ground as it warmed my already hot feet. The grass felt good, too, and cooled me off for the short time I was touching it.
The second class I attended was a bit different. I had a hard time finding parking, so by the time I arrived there were already quite a few people there with their mats set up. I ended up in the front row but still underneath an AC vent. I tried not to freak out about people seeing me from behind or having to look to the side to copy what everyone was doing. I didn’t bother with my yoga socks this time. I didn’t even bother to bring them, deciding instead to leave one of my safe-zone items at home. Sometimes the socks make my feet sweat worse, so I figured I’d just let them sweat anyway and dry them off with my towel if needed.
Despite the faster paced Vinyasa flow yoga we did in the second class, I ended up doing pretty well sweat-wise. There were a few poses where I was standing up and started to sweat for whatever reason, but for the most part my feet stayed relatively dry with only a few glistening drops of sweat versus a full-blown drip attack.
I was thrilled to discover a mat in the pile of class mats lululemon provides that was sweat friendly. It’s called the hot (towel) mat, and it’s normally used for hot yoga. This mat saved me in class for sure. I didn’t even have to use my towel over the top of it to absorb my sweat. It’s a very thin mat, though, so I recommend placing a thicker one underneath it if you are a beginner or just like some extra cushioning when you’re contorting your body. Some of these mats have extra grippy stuff on each end, others are just the microfiber all the way across. I had the grippy version the second time in class, which I liked even better than the first one I used. lululemon also makes a towel version, so if you already have a yoga mat you can just buy the towel instead. A yoga mat tailored to your specific needs makes all the difference in the world. So grab this mat for sweat, do yourself a favor, and go live in the moment. If I can do it, then so can you.
Copyright © 2011-2014 My Life as a Puddle
If your hyperhidrosis affects your hands, dating can be intimidating. How are you supposed to address the fact that your hands are sweating when you hold your date’s hand for the first time? Not to mention the fact that I know you’re probably worrying about this scenario long before it even happens, like when you’re getting ready for your date.
One of my readers in Australia (Australia! Isn’t that awesome?) asked me about dating with hyperhidrosis. So, let’s talk about this social scenario that many people with excessive sweating may not like all that much, or may even avoid altogether because of their sweaty relationship to their own body.
For women, this can be a real problem because we’re already trying not to sweat everywhere else while we’re getting ready. The routine for us probably starts with plenty of time to spare. I don’t like to be rushed when getting ready – being in a hurry makes me sweat. We blow dry our hair, and then we might use a flat iron or curling iron, all of which generate more heat than we’d like, especially on the back of our neck. So then the hair on the nape of our neck gets wet again, even though we just spent torturous minutes under the blow dryer to get it dry. Summer with hyperhidrosis is extra challenging with the hair and makeup routine. Ladies, you do get ready with a fan blowing on you and a hand towel draped over the counter for intermittent hand wiping, right? Can I get an amen?
I always stand on a towel when I get ready. Bare floors don’t work too well for me, so I need something to soak up the sweat from my feet. And then there’s always the fun part of picking off all the hair that’s now stuck to your sweaty feet after you’re all done getting ready.
So, you’re nervous about your date (most people are regardless of whether they have hyperhidrosis), you’re trying not sweat as you get ready for the date, and then you arrive for your date, where you’re nervous about the initial meet and greet because you know it will probably involve a handshake. But you’re not sweating because you’re nervous, you’re nervous because you’re sweating. There is a distinct difference between the two.
In the past when I’ve met someone, I would always apologize for my wet hands right away. But why do you have to be sorry for something that’s not your fault? I usually would just leave it at that, but sometimes you can take the conversation a step farther and actually explain up front why your hands are so wet. I’ve had people shake my hand and remark, “Wow. Your hand is really wet!” Thank you, Captain Obvious.
Instead, you can try, “Yeah, I have a medical condition called hyperhidrosis. It’s excessive sweating that typically affects the hands and feet.” or some derivative of that. Other times, you can bring up the topic later in the date when you’re talking and getting to know each other. Your hyperhidrosis doesn’t have to be the main focus of your conversation, but if it bothers you that much, get it out in the open right away. When you let out your sweating angst, it can set you free.
You don’t have to tell your entire sweaty story on the first date, but a general mention of it is usually a good idea. If the person you’re on a date with doesn’t receive it well, then that’s the not the person you want to have another date with. It takes a lot of courage to share your hyperhidrosis with someone else. So show up. Show up for yourself first and foremost, which will give your date permission to do the same. No one is perfect, and by sharing a part of yourself that can be difficult to hide you create a scenario for authenticity. You’re saying to the world, I’m real. I have things I don’t like about myself. Yet I’m still here, doing what I can with what I have right where I am.
If you’re like me, your hands don’t sweat ALL the time, just a lot of the time. Tell your date that you’d like to hold hands, but that there may be some times when you need to pull away if they start to sweat. Once your hands calm down again, then you can grasp the other person’s again. Some people may not even care when your hands start to get wet. For me, it makes it worse so I like to let go for a few minutes and get dry again.
Do not avoid dating because of your hyperhidrosis. Actively seek treatment for hyperhidrosis, and in the meantime, ask for what you need when you date someone. If you prefer indoor activities where you know there will be air conditioning, for example, then do some indoor dates for awhile until you’re comfortable enough with the other person to begin to venture outdoors. Go on early morning or evening dates when it’s cooler out. Go up to the mountains, down to the beach at dusk, up to the lake to watch the sun rise or set, or look for windy days when you know the air flow will be good.
Dating is possible with hyperhidrosis. There are people out there who won’t care about your sweating, so it doesn’t have to be an issue for either one of you. Or, they will care about you, and by default care about your condition enough, that they will think of ways to help you cope with it. They will blast the AC and cool the car down before they let you get in. They will run the AC in their house when you are there, or turn on the ceiling fan, or let you sit next to the open window in the room since the breeze is blowing. They will carry your dinner plate through the buffet line at a wedding reception and pile the food on for you because lines, and handling utensils before and after other people, are a trigger for you. They will do a “hand check” and lightly caress your palms; when you ask them why they’re doing so, they will say “Because if you’re sweating, it lets me know that I could be doing something differently to help you.”
How do I know all of this is possible? Because I’ve lived every single one of these scenarios. But here’s the secret to all of this: You, and you alone, must first believe you are enough exactly as you are, hyperhidrosis and all. If you don’t believe it, then how will your date?
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