Toggle: English / Spanish
Iontophoresis involves passing a weak electrical current through the skin. Iontophoresis has a variety of uses in medicine. This article discusses the use of iontophoresis to decrease sweating by blocking sweat glands.
The area to be treated is placed into water. A gentle current of electricity passes through the water. A technician carefully and gradually increases the electrical current until you feel a light tingling sensation.
The therapy lasts about 30 minutes and requires several sessions each week.
How iontophoresis works is not exactly known. It is thought that the process somehow plugs the sweat glands and temporarily prevents you from sweating.
Iontophoresis units are also available for home use.
Why the Procedure Is Performed
Iontophoresis may be used to treat excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) of the hands, underarms, and feet.
Side effects are rare, but may include skin irritation, dryness and blistering.
Miller JL. Diseases of the eccrine and apocrine sweat glands. In: Bolognia JL, Jorizzo JL, Schaffer JV, eds. Dermatology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 39.
- Last reviewed on 4/14/2015
- Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2013 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.