I am a 41-year old male who has suffered from excessive underarm sweat for over 20 years. But if you know me, you probably never knew this was a problem with which I suffered. But that’s only because I put in a lot of work to disguise, cover, or otherwise hide my sweat.
Playing football and lacrosse in high school, underarm sweat was OK; the sign of a good practice or a tough game. But years later as an IT & marketing professional, it became a real problem that eroded my confidence.
Truth is, it didn’t matter what the temperature of the office, conference room, meeting hall, car, airplane, hotel room, or restaurant was: I would sweat. Not on my face or hands, but my armpits. Always. Just like death and taxes, I couldn’t escape it.
Years later when I made the leap to consulting, weekly presentations in conference rooms thick with stale, humid air, hot lights, and skeptical eyeballs became my version of hell. My job kind of depended on looking like I knew what I was talking about. I literally could not let them see me sweat.
So I tried to wear a jacket the whole time — ironically making me sweat even more.
I tried combining or “stacking” antiperspirants. Learn from my mistake: All this does is wear out your shirts faster. You’ll end up with what I call “Enriched Yellow Cake Aluminum” on every shirt you own. Not the yellow stuff that Billy Mays (R.I.P.) and OxyClean can get rid of. I’m talking about the stuff foreign countries want to turn into dirty bombs.
No shirt is safe. Not even your favorite Lollapalooza 1992 tshirt. The one you bought when you attended with the girl who would end up being your wife. The one where the members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden got together and sang “Hunger Strike” together.
Clinical-strength? I’m sure the clinic was well-intentioned, but they never met pits like these.
Prescription-strength? Doctor, doctor, gimme the news. I’ve still got a bad case of the wet-pit blues.
I had essentially resolved to live my life just “dealing with” my sweat until my wife (disclaimer: she co-owns Franklin Dermatology Group) came home talking about a new procedure called miraDry. It promised:
- Immediate & dramatic (82%) reduction in underarm sweat
- No more wet armpits or stained shirts
- Little to no downtime afterward
- 80% of people only need one treatment
- Secondary benefits include reduction of odor & armpit hair (which helps reduce underarm sweat even more)
It sounded a little too good to be true, so I sat back for months and let others try the procedure. I watched from afar to see if it lived up to the hype. The more I talked to people who had the procedure, the more I started hearing things like “life-changing.” I needed something life-changing but I also needed to balance that with the fact that I am not a “procedure” guy (non-surgical or not). The closest I get to that kind of thing is when I use beard oil to keep my man-whiskers tidy.
But I’m here to tell you: miraDry works.
Look, if you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. … Well, I got tired of excuses.
If you sweat a little more than average, this will of course help you. But if you sweat a lot — sometimes for no reason: This might just change your life as well.
As far as the procedure goes, it was pretty simple and effectively painless. To prepare, you are supposed to shave your armpits 72 hours in advance. Maybe it’s just me, but this was the weirdest part of the whole thing. I’ve never shaved my armpits before. I figured it was like shaving my face, but I was wrong. First, I couldn’t see the target area because — rookie mistake — I tried to save time by shaving in the shower. Second, the razor got clogged a lot due to my thick pit-tendrils. What should have been a few easy passes turned into a neck-craning comedy routine. But I got through it and my pits were so smooth even Kojack would have approved.
A few days later, I showed up to the offices of Franklin Dermatology Group in Cool Springs for my procedure. After some paperwork, I was fitted for a temporary tattoo that would be applied to my armpit. This tattoo pattern is based on your armpit size (small, med, large, xl, etc) and it lays out the pattern the technician will follow with the miraDry device. I’m not bragging or anything, but they used the largest size they had on my pits…
After the tattoo was applied, the doctor and nurse practitioner (NP) started talking about where they were going to numb me. This was the part I had dreaded; I don’t like needles. Small needles are especially and annoyingly painful to me. But I swear I barely felt the injections (four per armpit if memory serves). After you are numb, they inject a solution that numbs you up a bit more and also gives a nice little buffer area between the heat of the miraDry device and your sweat glands…Kind of like some liquid padding. Sadly, unlike the tiny little needles used to initially numb the area, big needles are involved here. I made very sure not to look at the needles or where they were being placed. And I barely felt them. I could tell they were there, but the build-up in my mind wasn’t worth all the effort: Kind of like watching the Tennessee Titans.
After a minute, they poked my armpit with a little needle to see if I had any feeling in the area to be treated. I didn’t, so it was time to get started. The nurse practitioner explained what the noises and lights on the machine meant and what to do if I felt uncomfortable.
The machine is very quiet and emits a space-agey noise that I practically guarantee is trademarked by Brookstone. It swear it sounds exactly like the “Cosmic” setting on a white noise machine I owned around 2005…
Anyway, the machine gently sucks a section of skin into the hand piece while simultaneously hitting the sweat gland with microwave heat. It then cools things down before making a beep alerting us that it is time to move to the next mark on the tattoo. Repeat this for the number of times required for your armpit size until the treatment is done.
Even though I was told I could do so, I never had to abort a heating phase due to discomfort. If it got hot or too uncomfortable, I was to tell the NP and she would, with the flick of her thumb, immediately move into the ‘cooling’ phase of treatment. I did tell her it was getting hot four or five times (all in the same area of the same armpit), but it really felt like a hot match head on my skin. Not intense or radiating heat. Not really even pain. Just pinpoint heat that lasted a second or two. Since it kept happening in the same spot, the NP injected a little more numbing agent and we continued on without further issue.
It was around this time that I realized the earbuds I brought to keep my mind off things wouldn’t be needed. I ended up talking to the NP and support nurses the whole time. Seriously easy…
After the procedure I started icing my armpits immediately. I wasn’t overly swollen, but I was told by many recipients to take Ibuprofen and to ice early and often — whether I thought I needed it or not. “Ice, ice, baby”, as one of them said. So I took her advice. (I did not stop, collaborate, or listen, however…)
24 hours after miraDry my armpits felt odd and heavy, but there was no real pain. Just a dull, achy sensation like I was bruised.
By day two I stopped taking the Ibuprofen and decreased icing by 75%. Day three I barely felt like I had anything done. Honestly, the biggest reminder was the odd sensation of my armpit stubble beginning to grow out…
By the time I hit one week, my armpits felt almost completely normal and I had not sweat at all since the procedure. (Believe me, I was checking.) By day 10, all mild/residual soreness was gone.
BOTTOM LINE: TWO BIG THUMBS-UP
At this point, I am incredibly happy with the procedure and I give it two big thumbs-up. Even though my wife co-owns the practice where I got the procedure, if I was told I had to pay full price, I’d start putting the money together immediately knowing what I know now. This is exactly what I was looking for and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
COST: Hopefully insurance will cover this in the future for people who really sweat a lot. Until then, it costs around $2,000. But it’s permanent. And, like heated car seats and pre-shelled pistachios, it is totally worth it!
WORTH IT? In a word: YES. Time will indeed tell, but so far but, for the first time in 20 years, I have not worn antiperspirant and I have not sweat through a single shirt.
- I gave a business presentation five days after the procedure and I wore a grey & white shirt that would have shown even a small amount of sweat. But I didn’t sweat a drop.
- About a week after that, I went to a cocktail party/live music event where the lights were hot and the air conditioning wasn’t great. I was in a button down shirt and wool blazer and I was definitely little warm — but I didn’t sweat! HUGE!!
Look, if you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. There are 100 excuses not to get miraDry: You don’t have the time, you don’t trust that it will work, you feel it is too “vain”, you think it’s only for big burly men, you think you can continue to “live” with or cover up your underarm sweat …
Well, I got tired of excuses. I got tired of joking my way through this embarrassing problem. I did my research and learned about the procedure. I talked to people who had the procedure. I even talked to people who are generally against such procedures. Some people dismissed it immediately and said, “No thanks! I’d rather sweat than microwave my armpits.” (That person also thinks decaf coffee is a good idea.) Another person tried to make me feel better by saying, “Do what you want, but realize that no one probably even notices.” I really appreciate the sentiment, but I’m here to tell you– people noticed. They noticed my wet pits. At the hockey game. In December. That’s not the guy I ever wanted to be.
Now that I’ve had miraDry and I’m living sweat-free, I can’t believe it was this easy. I really wish this was an option 15 years ago…All those events where I was self-conscious…All the times where I felt embarrassed…
Honestly, if you’ve read this far, you are interested in doing something about your underarm sweat. So do yourself a favor and fill out the form below to get more info on miraDry or request a consultation. There’s no cost or obligation — but it might just change your life.
UPDATE: June 28, 2016 – It’s been over two months since I had miraDry. I still have not sweat — and I have been running during lunch when the temps have been around 90 degrees. And that’s in Tennessee humidity too. I don’t run very far or very fast, but I am running. Not a drop of sweat and none of my running clothes stink or smell. It is becoming normal now. I have a trip to the country of Panama coming up soon and that should be another good test. So far, the procedure has been “as advertised.”
UPDATE: August 1, 2016 – I went to Panama City, Panama in July and it was HOT. But my armpits stayed dry the entire trip! We walked a lot and we went on a city walking tour during the hottest part of the day. I sweat normally during the day, but my armpits were dry! Upon returning home, we had guests over and I had to set up the pool area in about 98 degree heat. I came inside sweating normally all over and proclaimed, “I am literally sweating everywhere EXCEPT my armpits.”
I have also noticed that my armpit hair continues to come back. It’s thinner than before, but that is not a bad thing for me. It does not look odd or patchy. If no more hair ever comes in, I am more than fine with the results there.
At this point, I am convinced of two things: 1) I will not need a second treatment (something like 12% of people will need a second treatment). 2) miraDry changes your life for the better.
UPDATE: September 15, 2016 – Just a quick and final update to this. Still sweat-free under the armpits! And the armpit hair continued to fill in. I think it has stopped now and anyone who didn’t know me would never know this was not my original amount of hair. I am still a huge fan of miradry.
This piece has been updated.
Stephen Parker is a veteran technologist with over 20 years of experience. He led marketing and web projects for several Fortune 500 companies in Denver and Chicago in the 90s and 00s. In 2007 he founded Sparker Webgroup, a boutique web design and digital marketing firm. Stephen lives in Brentwood, TN with his wife and a small zoo of rescued retired greyhounds, cats, and koi fish. He can usually be found buying pet food, quoting Dave Ramsey or Tim Ferriss, and cheering on the Nashville Predators. One time he managed to do all three at once.
Stephen received his miraDry treatment as part of a miraDry technician training exercise at Franklin Dermatology Group, the only authorized miraDry provider in Williamson County and one of only three authorized & certified providers in the state of Tennessee. Stephen was not solicited to write this review and he was not otherwise paid or compensated for his miraDry review. The thoughts, pictures, results, and account of the procedure are his own.