- Carpe lotion is a fast-acting and inexpensive cream for treating sweaty hands and feet.
- It can be used as needed but works best when applied overnight on clean skin.
- Portability and effectiveness make Carpe a practical option for busy people with palmar hyperhidrosis.
Imagine being so worried about your sweaty palms that you cancel a date, avoid a work presentation, or accept the risk of offending someone by refusing to shake hands.
For millions of people around the world, this is not imagination. A recent study puts the number of people in the United States who suffer from hyperhidrosis at over 15 million (almost 5% of the population).
Hyperhidrosis is an inherited condition that causes those who suffer from it to sweat regardless of external factors like heat, exertion, or stress. It can manifest in different areas depending on the individual.
For those with palmar hyperhidrosis, it’s sweaty hands that are the daily source of worry.
What is palmar hyperhidrosis?
As dermatologist Dr. Gabriele Weichert of Synergy Medical Aesthetics in Nanaimo, BC explains, “The hand can be dripping with sweat without any trigger, making it awkward to shake or hold hands, or handle work papers or technical tools in the workplace.”
While there are plenty of treatment options, most require repeat visits to a clinic and significant expense. It’s no wonder then that the people who treat and seek treatment for sweaty hands have been so excited by the appearance of a new and inexpensive antiperspirant called Carpe Lotion.
But because Carpe is still so new to the market, plenty of questions surround the product’s benefits and limitations.
What is Carpe?
Carpe is an over-the-counter antiperspirant cream produced specifically to treat sweaty palms and feet. In the United States it is available through pharmacies without a prescription, online through sites like Amazon, or directly from the manufacturer.
The lotion is produced by an American start-up called Clutch Inc., founded in 2015 by two young entrepreneurs who met in university and shared a struggle with palmar hyperhidrosis.
Rapid success of the product recently resulted in a large investment, which will likely lead to more visibility with consumers.
How does Carpe work?
Like most antiperspirants, Carpe uses an aluminum salt to inhibit the body’s eccrine glands from producing sweat. In this case, Carpe uses a 15% concentration of its active ingredient, aluminum sesquichlorohydrate.
This is the same compound found in several other over-the-counter antiperspirants, Mitchum being one example.
Aluminum salts act as a temporary plug or barrier that prevents sweat from reaching the surface of your skin. The effect lasts until the antiperspirant is eventually dissolved by sweat pushing its way through the barrier.
How do I use Carpe?
Apply a small amount to the palms of the hands and work it into the skin. As the lotion is quite potent, only a drop is needed—the company recommends a pea-sized dab. Carpe can also be applied to feet, in which case they suggest a slightly larger dime-sized amount.
Because Carpe comes in a small tube, it is easily carried around and applied as needed. Its effects occur relatively quickly, making it practical for use before a date, an important meeting, or any other social situation.
For best results, however, dermatologists recommend applying antiperspirants to clean and dry skin overnight. People with hyperhidrosis tend to sweat less at night, making it a good time for the body to absorb the lotion and benefit from its effect, which should last well into the following day.
“Bedtime is when a person’s metabolism and glands are quiet and the skin is dry,” explains Dr. Fayne L. Frey, dermatologist and founder of FryFace LLC. “This may optimize sweat gland plug formation.” As many people use antiperspirants as part of their morning routine, nightly use usually requires a change of habit.
Can it really stop my hands from sweating?
Success with antiperspirants really depends on the individual, the severity of their condition, and the discipline of their routine. The makers of Carpe explain that some see results after their first try, while others need thrice-daily use for about a month before really experiencing benefits.
Carpe’s own commissioned study concluded that most users can expect at least a 20% reduction in sweating by their third application. That effectiveness usually improves with time. Another larger study of Carpe’s active ingredient showed a 61% reduction in sweat after four weeks.
Aluminum-based compounds work better when applied regularly over a longer term, as the barrier preventing perspiration builds up and is maintained. For this reason, dermatologists recommend ongoing daily use.
Hands, however, can be more challenging than other parts of the body. Studies have shown they can be less responsive to aluminum chloride therapy than armpits.
“The skin on the palms and soles is some of the thickest skin on the body,” cautions Dr. Frey. “The ability for these salt preparations to (block sweat glands) on such thick skin is questionable.”
Severe cases of palmar hyperhidrosis may therefore require antiperspirants with active ingredient concentrations up to 30%, which is roughly twice the amount of Carpe’s formulation.
What do users think of Carpe?
Carpe has so far been well received by users with palmar hyperhidrosis, who tout its effectiveness, affordability, and convenience. One hyperhidrosis blog says that Carpe is “something you can take on the go and use as you need it. It can be used daily and will keep your hands sweat-free for hours.”
Some users note that Carpe can have a slightly unpleasant texture, described as “chalky” or “sticky.” That stickiness should however disappear within a minute of having rubbed Carpe into the skin, leaving hands feeling dry.
“Only apply what’s instructed, just a pea-sized amount is enough,” explains another blog devoted to hyperhidrosis. “More [than] this and you’ll get a chalky feeling on your hands and soles.”
The Hyperhidrosis Network endorses Carpe as “one of the best over-the-counter antiperspirant solutions available,” noting that its effects were instantaneous, lasting throughout the day even after hand washing.
The reviewer concludes by saying that while the lotion fell short of being a complete solution to his palmar hyperhidrosis, it was a useful addition to his regimen.
Can I use Carpe anywhere on my body?
Carpe was formulated specifically for areas of the body with tough skin. It’s not ideally suited for more sensitive areas.
“Carpe is a water-based cream but the second ingredient is isopropyl alcohol,” explains Dr. Frey. “Application to glabrous skin may be very drying and irritating. Proceed with caution!”
Does Carpe have side effects?
Antiperspirant use may irritate the skin of more sensitive users. When trying a new cosmetic or skin treatment, it is always recommended to begin with a small amount and discontinue use if any rash or adverse reaction occurs.
Nonetheless, Carpe is unlikely to cause your skin any problems. A scientific trial found the cream to be extremely well tolerated: “No skin irritation was observed during the trial except for one subject who experienced a mild and transient itching sensation. No other side effects were reported during the study.”
While aluminum-based antiperspirants have been a source of concern for alleged links with cancer and other health problems, there are no scientific studies that prove this claim. The scientific community considers low levels of aluminum safe for use in topical treatments, and such treatments are widely approved for use around the world.
Aluminum containing products may cause a contact allergy in some individuals, but this is not common.
How much does Carpe cost?
A 40ml tube of Carpe currently costs $14.95 USD and can be ordered directly from the company website.
When used three times a day as recommended, each tube lasts about a month.
On-the-go help for palmar hyperhidrosis
Carpe has enjoyed rapid success for good reason: It usually delivers quick results that improve with ongoing use, and it’s less expensive and invasive than treatments such as Botox or miraDry.
Best applied overnight and then re-applied during the day as needed, Carpe is a useful complement to the grooming routine of anyone worried about hand or foot perspiration.