Updated August 2020
Looking for school supplies for hyperhidrosis?
Having sweaty hands can present a set of challenges for students you might not have considered:
- ink smears on paper
- edges of paper curled
- holes in paper from the pen or pencil tearing through the wet spots
- not being able to see the handwriting if done with a pencil
The grade school memories I have that involve writing are mostly good ones. Good in the sense that I have always loved writing, both the dreaming up of ideas and the corresponding act of writing them down. Bad in the sense that the physical act of writing was a bit more difficult for me since my hands were more often wet than dry.
Get Dry Hands With Carpe Before School Even Starts
Before we go down the back-to-school aisle at the store, let’s talk about getting our sweaty hands to chill out before we even get to school. For dryness before the school day starts, I recommend Carpe lotion for sweaty hands and feet. I’ve personally tested it and now use it on a regular basis along with some of their other products for body sweat.
Disclosure: I am an affiliate partner with Carpe. Your purchases made using my affiliate link help me to pay for the costs associated with running my hyperhidrosis website. All opinions remain my own, and I thank you for supporting my hyperhidrosis advocacy work!
Paper for Sweaty Hands
In third grade, we began to learn the fine art of cursive writing. This required the use of a Big Chief tablet that was lined with red and blue lines evenly spaced just so in order to perfect our loops, swoops, and curls. While Big Chief tablets are luxuriously soft paper-wise with a smooth texture, they are also a double-edged sword. They are NOT sweat-friendly. When I would place the side of my palm down to write, my sweat would soak through the paper before I could finish writing the next word. If the pencil were sharp enough, sometimes it would tear through the wet sections where my sweaty palm had just been.
The combination of my love of hand writing things and having to work around my hyperhidrosis has made me a bit of a stationery snob. I love all things paper, and it annoys me when I have to write on cheap, low quality, scratchy paper. Here are a few of my favorite types of paper products that hold up really well to my sweating and feel very nice when you caress them with a pen (which I prefer over pencils and will be getting to in a minute).
Field Notes notebooks are great for writing with sweaty hands because they were designed for people who would be using them out in the elements or in settings where they might handle the paper more roughly than one would while sitting at a desk. The paper is waterproof and tear proof and resists curling up at the edges.
Stone paper is my favorite for writing. It’s durable, waterproof, and oh so smooth. Karst stone paper is all three of these things.
Writing With Sweaty Hands
I really dislike pencils. I prefer pens. But most of the time in school (at least until college, anyway), one is required to use a pencil for testing, homework, etc. I typically used mechanical pencils, as they afforded me the ability to avoid the use of the class pencil sharpener that was affixed to the wall. I hated standing in line (another trigger for my hyperhidrosis) and then having to worry about leaving the handle of the sharpener wet for the next person to use. I like #1 pencil lead rather than #2 pencil lead. It’s darker and writes smoother, but sometimes it’s hard to find. In the meantime, here are some of the pencils I like: Ticonderoga velvet finish pencils, Ticonderoga Sensematic Plus mechanical pencils, and
Pencil grips work great for making any pen or pencil more comfortable for sweaty hands. I always have my own pens in my purse or bag so I don’t have to worry about making someone else’s pen all sweaty when I give it back. My pencil grip of choice is made of foam for absorption and has ridges for extra texture and good grippage, like these Ridged Foam Pencil and Pen Grip, 5-pack. The Write Dudes also make these pencil grips, which provide some additional texture to work with:
The standard pink erasers are okay, but if your hands are really sweaty, you have to be careful how you hold the eraser. Once the tip of it gets wet, it can instead smear what you are trying to erase. I like click stick erasers. They are self-contained in a plastic holder and can be advanced click by click as you go.
I’ve mentioned that I like to hand write cards and letters to others. Remember my post about holiday greeting cards? My husband will probably tell you I have entirely too many pens floating around the house. In my opinion, one can never have too many pens. If you ever happen to borrow one of my pens, please don’t bend the cap or chew on the lid. I even go so far as to properly align the clip of the lid with the writing on the pen when I uncap it. I’m a bit particular with my pens. I take delight in the little things, like finding my next favorite pen that writes smoothly or offers a shade of orange I can’t find in any other pen. Here are a few pens that I’ve sweat-tested for writing with sweaty hands:
Environment Control for Writing
With as many cards as I send to people, the journaling I do, and my quote book that I am constantly updating, I have to create an environment that is conducive to writing. This typically includes being at home, alone, with minimal distractions. I can’t hand write cards in a coffee shop, for example. It’s too much of a trigger usually. I can write my rough drafts there in my notebook, but the pristine handwritten version has to be done at home.
I typically sit at my kitchen table to do my cards, where I have the ceiling fan on to generate air flow. If it’s cool enough outside, I’ll also have the sliding glass door open for additional ventilation. I always have a paper towel within reach, too. If my hands get too sweaty, I will place the paper towel over the card or paper so that it rests underneath the side of my hand and absorbs the sweat. Another piece of paper or the back of a notebook (if it’s cardboard) also works well to protect the paper on which you’re writing.
Hyperhidrosis Student Success Plan – Talk to Your Teachers!
Parents, if you can afford it, spend a little extra money on the notebooks/paper/pens/pencils/grips I’ve mentioned to help your kids feel better prepared to tackle the act of writing.
If your school has one of those community school supply lists, talk with their teacher regarding the pencil and paper/notebook supplies and ask if your child can bring their own set of supplies for these categories.
Most importantly, encourage your child to speak up about their hyperhidrosis with their teachers. If the teachers in the room don’t know excessive sweating can be a problem and possibly impede learning, then they won’t be able to help these students. It’s perfectly okay to ask for what you and your child need to succeed. Children are our future. Stand up to sweat and help them succeed this school year!
A few simple modifications can really go a long way in improving your child’s confidence in the classroom despite their hyperhidrosis.
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