What is Iontophoresis and how can it help your sweating problems?

First of all, as I am sure you’ll agree, Iontophoresis is a difficult name to pronounce! Second off, it’s equally as hard to remember how to spell it, as I discovered while writing this article!

According to medical dictionaries there are quite a few ways to medically explain what iontophoresis is, so we just decided to pick two of them:

iontophoresis /ion·to·pho·re·sis/ (i-on″to-fah-re´sis) the introduction of ions of soluble salts into the body by means of electric current. iontophoret´ic

the introduction of ions of soluble salts into the body by an electric current.

OK, now we have the spelling, pronunciation, and medical definition out of the way, let’s jump right in and start explaining what iontophoresis actually is, and how it can help you stop sweating.

What Is Iontophoresis

Iontophoresis is a medical treatment used to drive positive or negative ions into a tissue, in which two electrodes are placed in contact with tissue, one of the electrodes being a pad of absorbent material soaked with a solution of the material to be administered, and a voltage is applied between the electrodes. Wow, that sounds a bit scary, but it really isn’t! In fact, iontophoresis as a method of introducing substances through the skin has been performed safely and successfully since the 1940’s, and specifically for hyperhidrosis since the 1950’s.

Treatment of Sweaty Palms using IontophoresisI am hoping you have arrived on this page because you are interested in finding out more on Iontophoresis for Hyperhidrosis, that being the case, I will only mention how this works in relation to excessive sweating problems. You may be interested to know that Iontophoresis is also used in other applications such as physical therapy and for the application of anti-inflammatory medications. If you want to check out the other ways that iontophoresis is utilized, may I suggest you check out Wikipedia for more information.

The practice of iontophoresis by medical professionals is most predominant and mainstream in the United States, and there are much fewer practitioners using this practice in the UK, and only in certain areas of Europe. Regardless of it being far less popular in the UK and Europe as opposed to America, those that do administer iontophoresis are very keen advocates of it.

I don’t want this article to bore you by detailing a bunch of technical and medical speak, so I’ll give you a quick overview now on what is iontophoresis, and then let you know how successful this treatment can be for people like you that suffer from hyperhidrosis.

Iontophoresis is one alternative for those of you that are suffering from any, or all of the following:

Iontophoresis Procedure

The procedure basically utilizes an electrical stimulation to the feet, hands, or underarms. Excessive sweating sufferers like you and I put our hands or feet in a tray of water (usually tap water) at which time an electrical current is passed through the water allowing the ions to penetrate the skin by approximately 1mm or less. The intended effect of this is to stun the eccrine sweat glands of the hands, feet, or underarms, which basically decreases the sweat reflex that occurs in our body.

Most of us that suffer from hyperhidrosis will experience complete cessation of sweating after the initial phase of treatment for either hours, days, weeks, or a month at a time. Each person is different, and after your initial round of 6-8 treatments you will be able to monitor how long you can go before having and/or administering additional treatments. Once you have established this, you can then set yourself up on a regular schedule of either twice weekly, once a week, once every two weeks, or once per month.

This form of hyperhidrosis treatment is more commonly used for those of you that primarily suffer from sweaty hands and/or feet, and it is considered very effective at suppressing sweating in palms and the soles of your feet, but not as effective at stopping sweating in your underarms.

If you would like to read more details on Iontophoresis treatment for your hands and feet, or discover some of the potential side effects, which are minimal, take a look at our Iontophoresis page for more details.

Iontophoresis procedure for Sweaty FeetIn summary, don’t be put off by the fact that an electrical current is used in the process of administering iontophoresis; this current can be controlled and set to low when you first start having treatments, or administering them yourself, and once you are comfortable you can gradually increase the current. The success rate (83%) is high for patients who undergo iontophoresis treatments, so if your sweaty feet or sweaty palms are getting you down you should consider this as an effective treatment.

If you are interested in finding out more about these devices, check out the Drionic Hand/Foot Iontophoresis Device.

What made you want to look up: what is iontophoresis? Please let us know in the comments section below.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian Hass November 16, 2012 at 7:14 pm

I went through Iontophoresis for my sweaty palms about 3+ years ago now, and although I was quite reluctant, it actually worked! I went through the initial stages of frequents treatments in the beginning, and then I decided to buy an iontophoresis machine so I could continue periodically at home. I was down to using the machine just once every 2 weeks, and now I don’t use it at all, but I always know it is there should I need to start using treatments again.


David November 19, 2012 at 8:40 am

Hey Brian,
Thanks so much for weighing in on your experience with Iontophoresis, and glad it helped you with your hyperhidrosis issue. Out of curiosity, how much, and where did you end up buying an iontophoresis machine from? I appreciate it was several years ago. Thank you!


Walter McCloud December 20, 2012 at 6:14 am

I really like what you guys are up to here! Such a detailed post with regards to Iontophoresis and what it actually is. Keep up the very good work guys, and I’ve incorporated you into my blogroll.


David February 4, 2013 at 9:26 am

Thanks Walter, and much appreciated!


Jerrod Castillo December 20, 2012 at 6:41 am

Hello, would you mind letting me know which web hosting service you’re using? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different web browsers, chrome, firefox and IE, and I must say this blog loads a lot faster than most. Can you recommend a good internet hosting provider at a reasonable price? Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!


Charissa Jewett January 8, 2013 at 2:45 pm

A fascinating discussion that is definitely worth comment. I am looking forward to your next post David, what do ya plan to write next? I know in some instances it can be taboo to discuss such topics as hyperhidrosis, but I appreciate you giving us more insight in to iontophoresis, and how it can help with sweating problems. All the best!!


Colin Habel January 24, 2013 at 6:44 pm

I just want to mention that I’m fairly new to commenting on blogs and I found yours when looking for more info on iontophoresis. I am gonna bookmark your website because you seem to know your stuff when it comes to sweating issues. Thanks for sharing, Colin!


David February 4, 2013 at 9:30 am

You’re too kind Colin, and thank you for your kind words. Please let us know if there are any particular blog posts/subjects you would like us to write about in the future? We try to accommodate most readers requests.


Aaliya March 26, 2013 at 2:37 pm

I am actually planning to undergo this treatment for my sweaty palms and feet so before that I just wanted to know whether it is safe and effective or not


David April 2, 2013 at 10:39 am

Hi Aaliya, Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, I have been out of town this past week. I am pleased to hear you are going ahead with iontophoresis treatment for your sweaty palms and feet and I am sure you will notice some great results. You should definitely seek the advice of your doctor or medical professional who can advise as to the safety of this treatment. They say it has an 83% success rate which is quite high, but again, a medical professional will be able to go in to more detail. All the very best of luck with your treatment!


Phil September 16, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Hi there David,
Do you know if it is safe to use a Tens unit for the same effect? It could easily go on the soles of ones feet, palms, and even in the armpit.

Curious as to your thoughts?


David September 23, 2013 at 7:28 am

Hi Phil,
Thank you for your comment/question. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I get so many spam comments on the website it is hard to find the legitimate ones! I did some research on this and it appears there are devices being sold that are described as iontophoresis units and TENS electrical stimulators. Here is the website I found the info on: http://www.medicalexpo.com/prod/iacer-i-tech-medical-division/hand-held-iontophoresis-units-tens-electrical-stimulators-4-channels-68802-438854.html

Let me know if this is what you had in mind?


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