It has long been used to treat palmoplantar hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating of the hands and feet), notoriously difficult areas to treat, and is now commonly used to treat axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweating) and other areas of the body. Since its introduction, it has undergone significant developments, which have made it one of the go-to treatments for hyperhidrosis. It is often classified as a first or second-line treatment option for those who traditional antiperspirants have not worked.
What is iontophoresis?Iontophoresis is a non-invasive, drug-free, and needle-free way to treat excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). It utilizes tap water and electrical current to temporarily stop the production of sweat, making it one of the few instances where mixing water and electricity is recommended! So, how does it work? Let’s start by break down the word:
Iontophoresis treatment is done with a medical device, referred to as a tap water iontophoresis machine. It can be done in a clinical setting under medical supervision, but it is more commonly done at home with a compact and user-friendly home-use device, such as Dermadry.
How does iontophoresis work?During treatment, the iontophoresis device is plugged into a power source (an outlet), which delivers a mild electrical current to the treatment area, using the minerals found in tap water as a conductor. The current reaches the skin, which is slightly covered in water, through the conductive metal electrodes. A protective barrier such as a towel or sponge placed over the electrodes to protect the skin during treatment, provide adequate comfort, and even treatment over the entire zone. The passage of the mild electrical current disrupts the signal between the nerves and sweat glands and halts sweat production in the treated zone. While the exact mechanism of action is still unknown (there are a few scientific theories), what is known is that it is an extremely effective way to treat even the most serious cases of hyperhidrosis.
Need to visualize it? Watch how simple it is to do an iontophoresis treatment below! On the left you will find a tutorial for hands & feet, and on the right you will find a tutorial for underarms!
Watch how easy it is to set up and use Dermadry!
Is iontophoresis effective?
Iontophoresis is a safe, effective, and cost-efficient way to treat mild to severe cases of hyperhidrosis. A summary of results derived from clinical studies spanning several decades puts the success rate of iontophoresis in the 90-100% range. A breakdown of these studies can be found below.
Additionally, an internal survey conducted on 749 Dermadry users found that 98.3% of respondents stated they experienced a reduction in their sweat levels, putting Dermadry’s success rate well within the higher range of success rates reported in clinical studies.
To fully understand and maximise the efficiency of iontophoresis, as well as to get the most out of your iontophoresis treatment, it is important to understand the treatment phases and schedule. Iontophoresis treatment is split into two treatment phases: the initial phase and the maintenance phase. Treatment frequency depends on the level of hyperhidrosis: mild, moderate, or severe.
Initial PhaseThe initial phase is the first phase of treatment that is done until the user attains their desired level of dryness. During the initial phase, the treatment will be performed up to 5x a week at the highest comfortable setting for up to 6 weeks. Most people achieve their desired results within 2 weeks.
Maintenance PhaseOnce the patient has attained their desired level of dryness in the initial phase, they will then go on to the maintenance phase. A maintenance schedule must be maintained to upkeep results. The frequency can be as little as once every few weeks, depending on the severity of the hyperhidrosis.
The Story Behind Dermadry’s Iontophoresis Machines
The machines available at the time were either completely outdated, ineffective, and very costly—and generally all three. They were inaccessible to most, and so he decided to take matters into his own sweaty hands and develop a new iontophoresis device with effectiveness, modernity, safety, and cost-efficiency in mind, which is when Dermadry came into existence.
Dermadry was developed as the answer to the lack of availability, archaic designs, and absence of user-friendly interfaces of traditional iontophoresis machines. These outdated devices negatively impacted efficiency, and put a lot of people off to the idea of it as a viable treatment option deserving of recognition in the medical sphere. We were not satisfied with the fleeting results obtained with clunky analog devices sold at exorbitant prices, so we did something about it. We didn’t feel comfortable with these devices that could cause pain and shocks, and we didn’t think anyone else should either.
Our founder’s first-hand experience with the condition is what gave us the often lacking insight as to what someone with hyperhidrosis is looking for in a treatment option. Those with hyperhidrosis will know that traditional creams and antiperspirants are simply not enough, systemic medications cause serious and potential long-term side effects, and injections are painful and recurring—just to name a few.
Iontophoresis checks off a lot of boxes on what can be referred to as a “hyperhidrosis treatment checklist”. Iontophoresis is easy-to-use, requires minimal effort on the user’s part, and provides long-lasting results that are easy to maintain. It is a natural, drug-free and non-systemic treatment option associated with minimal side effects that are temporary and localized to the treatment zone (redness and irritation). Iontophoresis is done at home, and does not require access to a doctor or specialist, and therefore does not require any travel time or recurring clinic visits. Simply put, it’s the treatment of choice to save you time, money, and effort, without sacrificing efficiency or results. Iontophoresis adapts to your schedule and lifestyle, rather than the other way around, so you can finally stop letting hyperhidrosis control your life.
How iontophoresis compares to other hyperhidrosis treatments
Dermadry Customer Case Studies
The science behind Dermadry's iontophoresis machine
Studies have consistently proven that iontophoresis is a simple, safe, economic, and effective treatment option for hyperhidrosis. It is a treatment option that medical professionals often suggest or prescribe to their patients when conventional antiperspirants fail. It is the preferred treatment option of many and is generally prescribed prior to toxin injections, surgical intervention, and long-term drug therapy. It is a treatment option for hyperhidrosis that can provide long-term results with minimal side effects.
Below is an overview of some studies conducted on the efficiency and safety of iontophoresis treatment to treat hyperhidrosis. The following clinical studies were performed on patients aged 8-71 years old with primary focal hyperhidrosis (mild, moderate, and severe). These clinical studies evaluated the efficiency of iontophoresis in both clinical conditions (performed by healthcare professionals in a medical facility) and at home (patients were provided with devices and performed treatments on their own). The treatment parameters were similar in regards to the current strength, treatment duration, and treatment frequency.
- Tap water iontophoresis treatments improve the patient’s quality of life significantly during treatment.6
- 92.9% of patients saw results after two weeks of iontophoresis treatments.7
- 88.9% of patients had positive results,and a majority of the patients found the maintenance program compatible with their lifestyle.8
- Quality of life improved in 78.6% of patients after 2 weeks.9
- Tap water iontophoresis is a simple, safe and effective therapeutic option for palmoplantar hyperhidrosis.10
- Tap water iontophoresis is a safe and effective treatment for both palmoplantar (hands and feet) hyperhidrosis and axillary (underarms) hyperhidrosis in the pediatric population, with minimal side effects.11
- Tap water iontophoresis is an effective method of treatment for primary palmoplantar (hands and feet) and axillary (underarms) hyperhidrosis in pediatric patients.12
- The study demonstrates that tap water iontophoresis controls palmar (hands) hyperhidrosis after a total of eight treatments.13
- Iontophoresis treatment is safe, effective, and easy to use for the treatment of palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis. This technique should be offered to patients with palmoplantar hyperhidrosis prior to surgical intervention or toxin injection.14
- Tap water iontophoresis suppresses palmar hyperhidrosis. When instructions are followed, tap water iontophoresis is safe for unsupervised treatment of hyperhidrosis. Iontophoresis is a simple, economic and effective therapy that should be offered to patients for control of palmar hyperhidrosis prior to surgical intervention. Iontophoresis is also a suitable alternative to long-term drug therapy. The study demonstrated a success rate of 83.3%.15
- At present, tap water iontophoresis represents the most effective therapy in hyperhidrosis of palms or soles. Patients with extremely high sweat rates respond to the treatment, no adverse effects were noticed during long-term maintenance treatment, and tap water iontophoresis not only curbs sweating, but also abates other uncomfortable symptoms, such as lividity, edema and clamminess of palms and soles.16
- We found the treatment to be so effective in axillary (underarms) hyperhidrosis that we would recommend iontophoresisin preference to surgical excision of the sweat-glands.17
- In our view, tap water iontophoresis is by far more successful in treating hyperhidrosis of palms and soles. In a group of 7 patients, complete relief from excessive sweating was achieved and no treatment failure was observed.18
- Since 1968, tap water iontophoresis has been employed as the method of choice for treating palmoplantar hyperhidrosis.19
- In 2014, an FDA panel reviewing scientific data on the matter concluded that “all 8 studies reported that tap water iontophoresis effectively reduced sweating in the majority of subjects treated with [tap water iontophoresis]”.20
2 Kim, Do Hun, Tae Han Kim, Seung Ho Lee, and Ai Young Lee. “Treatment of Palmar Hyperhidrosis with Tap Water Iontophoresis: A Randomized, Sham-Controlled, Single-Blind, and Parallel-Designed Clinical Trial.” Annals of dermatology29, no. 6 (2017): 728-734.
3 Elkhyat A and Agache P. Treatment of hyperhidrosis by iontophoresis of weakly mineralised water. 1993. Cutaneous Biophysics Laboratory, Department of Functional Dermatology, 25030 Besancon, France.
4 Hölzle, E., M. Pauli, and O. Braun-Falco. “Leitungswasser-Iontophorese zur Behandlung von Hyperhidrosis manuum et pedum.” Der Hautarzt 35, no. 3 (1984): 142-147.
5 Stolman, Lewis P. "Hyperhidrosis: medical and surgical treatment." Eplasty 8 (2008).
6 Akbar, Talat Masood, Mahmood A. Saqib, Sundas Fahim, Mohammad Nasir, and Haroon Nabi. "Efficacy and safety of tap water iontophoresis for palmoplantar hyperhidrosis." Journal of Pakistan Association of Dermatology 23, no. 3 (2016): 304-309.
7 Kim, Do Hun, Tae Han Kim, Seung Ho Lee, and Ai Young Lee. "Treatment of Palmar Hyperhidrosis with Tap Water Iontophoresis: A Randomized, Sham-Controlled, Single-Blind, and Parallel-Designed Clinical Trial." Annals of dermatology29, no. 6 (2017): 728-734.
8 Maj, NS WALIA, BS RATHORE Lt Col, and AK JAISWAL Col. "TREATMENT OF PALMOPLANTER HYPERHIDROSIS BY IONTOPHORESIS." Medical Journal Armed Forces India 56, no. 1 (2000): 27-28.
9 Kim, Do Hun, Tae Han Kim, Seung Ho Lee, and Ai Young Lee. "Treatment of Palmar Hyperhidrosis with Tap Water Iontophoresis: A Randomized, Sham-Controlled, Single-Blind, and Parallel-Designed Clinical Trial." Annals of dermatology 29, no. 6 (2017): 728-734.
10 Yardi, S. S., U. S. Khopkar, V. A. Phadke, and S. S. Idgunji. "Tap water iontophoresis for palmoplantar hyperhidrosis." Indian Journal of Dermatology 42, no. 3 (1997): 164-167.
11 Dagash, Haitham, Sinead McCaffrey, Katie Mellor, Agnes Roycroft, and Ingrid Helbling. "Tap water iontophoresis in the treatment of pediatric hyperhidrosis." Journal of pediatric surgery 52, no. 2 (2017): 309-312.
12 Dogruk Kacar, Seval, Pinar Ozuguz, Selma Eroglu, Serap Polat, and Semsettin Karaca. "Treatment of primary hyperhidrosis with tap water iontophoresis in paediatric patients: a retrospective analysis." Cutaneous and ocular toxicology 33, no. 4 (2014): 313-316.
13 Karakoç, Yunus, Ertuğrul H. Aydemir, M. Tunaya Kalkan, and Gaye Ünal. "Safe control of palmoplantar hyperhidrosis with direct electrical current." International journal of dermatology41, no. 9 (2002): 602-605.
14 Safe control of palmoplantar hyperhidrosis with direct electrical current. Karakoç Y, Aydemir EH, Kalkan MT, Unal G. Int J Dermatol. 2002 Sep
15 Stolman, Lewis P. "Treatment of excess sweating of the palms by iontophoresis." Archives of dermatology 123, no. 7 (1987): 893-896.
16 Hölzle, E., and N. Alberti. "Long-term efficacy and side effects of tap water iontophoresis of palmoplantar hyperhidrosis–the usefulness of home therapy." Dermatology 175, no. 3 (1987): 126-135.
17 Midtgaard, K. "A new device for the treatment of hyperhidrosis by iontophoresis." British Journal of Dermatology 114, no. 4 (1986): 485-488.
18 Hölzle, E., and T. Ruzicka. "Treatment of hyperhidrosis by a battery-operated iontophoretic device." Dermatology 172, no. 1 (1986): 41-47.
19 Hölzle, E. "Leitungswasseriontophorese." Der Hautarzt 63, no. 6 (2012): 462-468.
20 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "Reclassification of Iontophoresis Devices Intended for Any Other Purposes." Office of the Federal Register (accessed September 1, 2018).
Treatment Duration & Results
- Quality of life improved in 78.6% of patients after 2 weeks.
- 92.9% of patients saw results after two weeks of iontophoresis treatments.
- The study demonstrates that tap water iontophoresis controls palmar (hands) hyperhidrosis after a total of eight treatments.
- Tap water iontophoresis is a safe and effective treatment for both palmoplantar (hands and feet) hyperhidrosis and axillary (underarms) hyperhidrosis in the pediatric population, with minimal side effects.
- Tap water iontophoresis is a simple, safe and effective therapeutic option for palmoplantar hyperhidrosis.
- Iontophoresis treatment is safe, effective, and easy to use for the treatment of palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis. This technique should be offered to patients with palmoplantar hyperhidrosis prior to surgical intervention or toxin injection.
- Tap water iontophoresis suppresses palmar hyperhidrosis. When instructions are followed, tap water iontophoresis is safe for unsupervised treatment of hyperhidrosis. Iontophoresis is a simple, economic and effective therapy that should be offered to patients for control of palmar hyperhidrosis prior to surgical intervention. Iontophoresis is also a suitable alternative to long-term drug therapy. The study demonstrated a success rate of 83.3%.
Impact on Quality of Life
- Tap water iontophoresis treatments improve the patient’s quality of life significantly during treatment.
- Quality of life improved in 78.6% of patients after 2 weeks.