Hyperhidrosis, a medical condition in which excessive sweating occurs beyond what is needed to maintain normal body temperature, impacts millions of people worldwide. Aside from the physical burden of the condition, the psychological effects of the condition also have a negative impact on quality of life. By recognizing both these physical and emotional symptoms, dermatologists can help people with hyperhidrosis learn more about the condition, ways to manage it, and available treatment options.
While soap has been known to exist as far back as 2500 B.C., it was not until the second century that it is known to have been used as a body surface cleanser.1 Since the process of saponification was a tightly guarded secret until the 1770s, the use of a soap as a cleanser was limited.
Much research has been spent and continues to be spent to produce topical vehicles that can better deliver active ingredients to the dermatology patient. The multibillion dollars per year cosmeceutical industry is at the forefront of this research. This is driven by the expectations of our patients to be given products that are cosmetically pleasing and minimally irritating.
Glucocorticosteroids act on a wide range of cells and have a wide range of mechanisms of action. They have been successfully applied in many inflammatory skin diseases and are one of the most frequently used drugs in dermatology. Some inflammatory skin diseases such as a acute eczema and seborrheic dermatitis are more responsive to corticosteroids than are chronic hyperkeratotic or lichenified eczema, psoriasis, lichen planus, discoid lupus erythematosus, vitigligo, or alopecia areata.
In the 1930s, Edward Kendall first isolated six compounds from the adrenal glands at the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN). In 1948, his friend and his colleague, Dr. Phillip Hench, and his team injected compound E into severe rheumatoid arthritis patients at St Marys Hospital and showed marked improvement in the symptoms of these patients.