Iontophoresis uses a device that delivers low-level electrical currents while you’re submerged in water. The currents are often delivered to your hands, feet, or armpits to temporarily block your sweat glands.
Iontophoresis is a process of transdermal drug delivery by the use of a voltage gradient on the skin. Molecules are transported across the stratum corneum by electrophoresis and electroosmosis and the electric field can also increase the permeability of the skin. These phenomena, directly and indirectly, constitute the active transport of matter due to an applied electric current.
During iontophoresis, a medical device uses mild electrical currents to deliver medication across biological membranes, often while your affected body part is submerged in water.
Iontophoresis is most commonly used to treat hyperhidrosis disorder, a condition that results in persistent and excessive sweating.
The currents are often delivered to the hands, feet, or armpits to block your sweat glands temporarily. Some feel a slight tingling sensation during the procedure, but the electrical current isn’t strong enough to shock you.
Iontophoresis is one type of treatment that can be used to relieve symptoms of this condition. People with hyperhidrosis may undergo several iontophoresis sessions per week, each lasting about 20 to 40 minutes.
Iontophoresis doesn’t require any special or advanced preparation. However, make sure to tell your doctor if you:
- Are pregnant
- Have epilepsy
- Have a heart condition
- Have a pacemaker or other metal implants, such as artificial joint replacements
You may not be able to undergo iontophoresis if you have any of the above medical conditions or devices. If this is the case, your doctor will recommend other options.
Most iontophoresis sessions for hyperhidrosis last 25 to 40 minutes. However, you’ll likely need more than one session to notice a change in your symptoms.
Some people with hyperhidrosis require treatments on a regular basis. Your doctor will schedule a series of sessions based on your symptoms. They may recommend that you buy a portable machine to use at home.
Iontophoresis treatments must be done regularly and before sweating increases to maintain results.