During one of the hottest summers in recorded history comes a new way to never let them see you sweat: Microwave your sweat glands.
The procedure, called miraDry, from Miramar Labs Inc. in Sunnyvale, Calif., was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last year and became available in January to treat hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. The procedure uses microwave energy to destroy many of the 22,000 to 30,000 sweat glands in the armpits, Miramar says. Unlike other nonsurgical treatments for excessive sweating, it appears to last long term. Overall, the volume of sweat is reduced by an average of 82%, says company scientist Kathryn O’Shaughnessy.
At least 3% of the world’s population suffers from hyperhidrosis, in which the sweating is considered excessive by medical standards, according to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, a Quakertown, Pa., nonprofit. Even powerful prescription antiperspirants don’t always keep people dry, and quality of life can be affected, doctors say. The condition is commonly treated by Botox injections, which block chemical signals that cause sweating. But the effect is temporary and typically must be repeated twice a year.
MiraDry involves hourlong sessions of microwave energy applied to the armpits in a doctor’s office. According to Miramar, the approximate amount of energy delivered to an average size underarm is 4,000 joules, a fraction of the 80,000 joules required to boil eight ounces of room-temperature water.