From damp armpits to clammy palms, nearly one in 20 people in the U.S. suffers from hyperhidrosis. Also known as excessive sweating, this condition can significantly impair quality of life, confidence and emotional well-being as it limits activities, work and social relationships.
Studies have found that this fairly common, but little-talked about condition, which begins in childhood or adolescence, has profound ramifications for those affected. Although 85 percent found their excessive sweating to be embarrassing and 71 percent said that it makes them anxious, nearly half of them suffer in silence before consulting a doctor.
Giving sufferers a hand
To date, treatment options have proven to be either ineffective, inconvenient, costly or invasive. Enter palmm, a Fogarty Institute company that is developing a simple, at-home treatment initially focused on the hands, often cited as the area that is most bothersome and hardest to hide.
Since joining the Fogarty Institute, the startup has proven its value. In fact, a clinical study at Stanford Hospital that used palmm’s initial clinical prototype, showed promising results – not only did it significantly decrease sweat response, but it garnered positive feedback from users. For example, one football player was enthusiastic about his ability to catch the ball better after treatment.
The startup is currently working on finetuning its commercial product and launched a website, www.handysweatfacts.com, a helpful resource and guide for people who suffer from hyperhidrosis to better understand and navigate the available options.
palmm also continues to add talent to its team, most recently working with Daniel Francis, a fellow Stanford Biodesign graduate and an experienced R&D professional who previously led the development of another hyperhidrosis product.
Building buzz with its latest award
An experienced presenter with several successful pitch-style competitions under her belt, palmm co-founder and CEO Véronique Peiffer recently participated in the UCSF-Stanford Pediatric Device Consortium’s second annual Pediatric Innovation Showcase, where she was one of 13 finalists out of 74 applicants in the Shark-Tank style competition. As a platinum award winner, the startup received $50,000.
“Hyperhidrosis is especially troublesome in adolescence, as teens are already dealing with so many vexing social factors,” said Véronique. “We are proud of the advances we are making to help address this issue and are honored to have been chosen as one of the winners in this competition.”
She notes that they have been seeing considerable attention on the problem of sweaty hands and is excited at the prospect of being one of the key players in this field. Going forward, palmm intends to expand its treatment to other areas of the body.