Much like pretty much anyone who wears deodorant or anti-perspirant, I'm not very fond of my own underarm sweat — or odor, or hair. And although I don't have hyperhidrosis, making the switch to natural deo (aka the type that doesn't block sweat, and sometimes the scent if we're being honest) a few years ago solidified my sentiments.
So instead of complaining to myself day in and day out, I decided to take the plunge and get Miradry.
"Miradry is a non-invasive, long-lasting treatment for excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, of the underarms," explains Dr. Blair Murphy-Rose, the fab New York City-based board-certified dermatologist queen who performed my treatment. "We use thermal energy to deliver heat under the skin and destroy unwanted sweat glands. It also eliminates the glands contributing to body odor and many hair follicles — causing a reduction in body odor and underarm hair growth, respectively. It is a very effective solution for underarm sweating. The treatment has been clinically proven to have an average of 82% sweat reduction and 89% odor reduction."
Spoiler alert: she's not kidding.
It's been around a month-and-a-half since I got my first (and only, so far) treatment, and unless I'm in the blazing, ultra-humid NYC heat for a few hours, my underarms are pretty much dry and odor-free 24/7. Oh, and I hardly have any underarm hair left, which has been a blessing for me as someone who is prone to irritating ingrowns.
I'm sure by now you want to hear more about the actual treatment process, recovery, side effects, and of course cost. So let's get into it with insight from both Dr. Murphy-Rose, along with fellow derm Dr. Michelle Henry, shall we?
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Is Miradry Safe for People With Dark Skin?
Yes, thank God. As a Black woman, this is always one of the first questions I ask derms before I even get to the office, and Dr. Murphy-Rose assured me it was completely safe.
Simply put, with the technology used for Miradry, it won't harm melanated skin the way certain hair-removal lasers can.
However, it may not be the best course of action for those who have certain medical conditions or allergies. In this case, bi-yearly Botox injections may be the solution for curbing underarm sweat.
"Mirady uses microwave energy and is safe for all skin types," Dr. Henry shares. "But the procedure is not suitable for patients with cardiac pacemakers and other electronic implants, for patients who need additional oxygen, or who have an intolerance to the anesthetics, lidocaine, and epinephrine."
What Is the Miradry Treatment Process Like?
I went go see Dr. Murphy-Rose around 1 p.m. and was out about two to three-ish hours later, just to give you an idea of the timeframe. We also did my consultation over the phone a few weeks prior. Typically, I would recommend seeing a derm in-person for this (especially if you have hyperhidrosis), I just wasn't yet fully vaccinated at the time so I opted to not go in.
In terms of the actual procedure process itself, I'll let Dr. Murphy-Rose take it from here, starting with the pain level you can expect.
She explains that she begins by applying a topical numbing cream and then also uses an injectable anesthetic, "to minimize discomfort and to significantly reduce potential side effects," she says. "Most patients describe a pain level of two to three out of 10 at the worst during the numbing injections and then no pain during the procedure. Once the numbing cream is removed, the skin is prepped by cleansing thoroughly."
"Next, a template is used to carefully measure the treatment area and then a temporary tattoo is applied. The 'tattoo' is used as a guide to heat the target area in very precise rows," she continues. "The prep takes about one hour and the treatment itself is about 30 to 45 minutes. It is time-consuming, but the results are excellent and long-lasting."
I'll be honest here: I'm the type of person who finds trips to the dentist relaxing, so needles don't really bother me. The only time I felt any type of pain or discomfort was when the MD was injecting my lower armpit area, closer to my breasts. However, it only took her about 10 seconds to do what she did, and then I was fine for the remainder of the treatment.
Once we were done with both arms, I placed a couple ice packs under my pits, put on my headphones and was chilling out for maybe 15 to 20 minutes, then I was good to go back home. I continued to ice every 20 minutes or so, each half hour, for the next two days — and I did not mind because the weather forecast was basically at full-blast sauna levels at the time. It felt more like a relief than a chore.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
It will vary based on your body chemistry. I've only had one so far, but both Dr. Murphy-Rose and Dr. Henry agree that most patients get one to two, on average. While I'm personally super happy about my results after the first go-round, I'm contemplating getting a second so I can be completely sweat-free even in the hottest, stickiest weather. But either way, I'll have to wait a bit.
"For those requiring a second treatment, you should wait three months between treatments," says Dr. Murphy-Rose.
What Does Aftercare and Recovery Look Like?
Aside from making sure to ice the area frequently for the first two days, you'll want avoid working out or doing any strenuous activity for about a week afterwards. You also can't shave for a week, or put on deodorant (you likely won't need it, as Miradry's results are immediate), and this one's a no-brainer, but you won't want to wear anything tight that could cause irritation.
You'll also want to be diligent about keeping your pits clean in order to avoid any infection (there's a small chance of infection, but a chance nonetheless). Dr. Murphy-Rose sent me home with a bottle of Hibicleans, an antiseptic skin cleanser, that I used twice daily for the first week, and once daily for the second. After those first two weeks, the swelling completely subsided, and I was infection-free and in the clear.
However, keep in mind that it can take up to eight weeks for the area to completely recover. So in the event you notice something funny going on, don't ignore it.
"If you are noticing any signs of infection, including worsening redness, swelling, pain or red streaking, fever, chills, or generally not feeling well, immediately contact your physician or medical center for medical attention," Dr. Murphy-Rose exlaims. "It is very important to follow aftercare instructions well to reduce the risk of infection."
Any Horrific Side Effects I Should Know About?
Honestly, no. At least not for me. And hopefully not for you either if you follow your doctor's instructions — but there are still some common side effects to take note of.
"Some localized soreness or swelling will occur, and will resolve within a few weeks," explains Dr. Henry. "Some patients have altered sensation in the skin of the treatment area that resolves with time."
Good point, because that definitely happened to me. About a month later, my muscles in the area felt a little tight for about a week or two. I would stretch periodically, as I normally would, and now the area is completely back to normal.
Another thing to keep in mind is the "purging phase" where you may notice a bunch of sweat and odor coming out of no where. I wasn't freaked out, because Dr. Murphy-Rose had explained this process during my treatment, sharing that it's completely normal and will resolve on its own.
"Not everyone experiences this 'purging' but most do," she says. "At some point within the first two weeks usually, the sweat glands — despite being adequately treated and destroyed — can 'purge' and produce an odor and sweaty output for a few hours to few days. Note, most people notice an immediate cessation of sweat and odor, so this sudden purging, when/if it occurs, can be particularly noticeable — and offensive [laughs]."
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How Does Miradry Compare to Underarm Botox Injections?
While both treatments are effective in curbing underarm sweat, think of Botox as the short-term solution, and Miradry as a longterm fix. Miradry also gets rid of underarm hair, so it's kind of like two treatments in one.
"It's longer lasting than Botox, which lasts only six months," Dr. Henry shares. "However, you may need more than one treatment."
Uh, Will I Start Sweating Excessively From Other Areas If I Get Miradry?
Not going to lie, this was something I was concerned about too. But the long and short answer is no — and I'm living proof of that. It's been nearly two months post-procedure for me, we're in the thick of summer, I'm not like, sweating buckets from my butt or anything like that.
"Only 2% of the four million sweat glands in the human body are found in the underarms," Dr. Henry assures. "After treatment, any excess sweat is typically distributed relatively evenly to other sweat glands, and new pronounced areas of hyperhidrosis are not noticed."
Alright, How Much Is Miradry Going to Cost Me?
I'm going to be honest, it's not cheap — and I was fortunate to have been offered the treatment to try out for research, which means I didn't pay what a regular patient would have. But now that I've experienced it, I would.
While prices will vary depending on the city you're in and the doctor performing the procedure, it will set you back around $2,500 total for both arms. Additional treatments may cost the same or less, again depending on your MD.
But what I will say is that it's worth it, especially if sweat is something that really bothers you or takes a hit on your self-esteem. My sweating was never excessive, but I always found it to be annoying. So honestly, waking up, even on the hottest of summer mornings, and being sweat- and odor-free is priceless. Spending all day outside and not having to walk around with deodorant is game-changing. And oh my God, not having to worry about embarrassing sweat stains or even having to use deodorant at all is just — I'm not even sure if there's a word for it. Plus, like I've mentioned before, you'll also be getting rid of underarm hair at the same time, so you can skip laser afterwards, and save on a lifetime of shaving.
Overall, I say if sweat is an issue and you have the funds, or your dermatologist offers a payment plan that would work for you, go for it.
This sweat-free life is everything.
The Splurge is our recurring column dedicated to expensive beauty products (or treatments in this case) that are worth it. This week, why we're into Miradry, despite the $2500 price tag.
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