May 20, 2016
by MELISSA CHANG
You may have seen my blog last year about TLDYEU, an organic, locally made underarm deodorant that smells good. I’ve been using it ever since my review, and was ready to take a sample tin with me to Dubai to combat the effects of desert weather on my armpits.
Two weeks before my trip, I got a pitch from PR man-about-town Chad Lovell, who represents the Vein & Skin Center of Hawaii (VSH). They had started a revolutionary new service called miraDry that would permanently eliminate underarm sweating and odor in as little as one treatment. This clinically proven, FDA-cleared option is only available in Hawaii at VSH, and the timing couldn’t have been better to see if it would really work on me.
I’ll admit, I didn’t have time to think about it or even do much research, so I had some pre-conceived notions about what the procedure was going to be like. I missed the KHON Living808 segment about it, too, since it came out right before I went to VSH for a consultation. Here’s how it went:
You have to stop shaving your underarms at least a week before the first visit so they can see what your underarms look like and assess the area that needs to be treated. The next day, you can come in (still unshaven) and get it done. It takes about two hours.
First, they apply a water-transfer temporary tattoo grid to mark off the area to be treated.
After the armpits are marked, Dr. W.Y. Chung injects an anesthetic to numb your armpits. It feels kind of like when you get a shot of novocaine at the dentist. That’s pretty much the most painful part of the procedure, which isn’t much. He then makes a few incisions at strategic points on the grid.
They then use this digital guide to suck out the sweat glands (which takes about 70 percent of your hairs along with it, an added bonus). What? For some reason, I thought they were going to laser out the glands, but it is a vacuum — I likened it to the old way of doing liposuction, although I’m not sure my description is that accurate.
You don’t feel a thing, and the machine makes a cute tinkling sound as it goes, kind of like a soft ice cream truck song. As it turns out, the machine is from Japan — it’s been in use for years, but has only been approved for the United States recently — which explains why it would make relaxing, tinkling sounds instead of vacuum sounds.
When you’re done, they send you home with ice packs for your underarms, which you need to do constantly as you take Tylenol. Your armpits will be swollen for a few weeks, but the worst of it is probably in the first 48 hours. After that, it’s just a gradual subsiding.
This is what it looked like that night. Yes, I was supposed to rest at home and ice my pits. No, I went out and had my friends look at the swelling — which as you can see, wasn’t that bad. It varies from person to person.
Rayna is not impressed.
Did it work? Here’s what my underarms looked like after a day in the Dubai desert. There’s no smell, no sweat and not much swelling.
It’s been about a month and a half and the swelling has completely gone down in both armpits. There was one side effect, which Dr. Chung said only happened to me, and his employee Michelle, in all of the patients they’ve treated. After a month, one day I woke up and my armpits smelled like rotting flesh. No, not like your basic body odor — this was different. Dr. Chung said it was my sweat glands deteriorating in their final phase, and that was giving off the odor. He said to just keep the area extra clean and wait a week, and sure enough, it gradually went away. It does happen, but it’s rare.
miraDry, which costs about $1,950, is currently only for the underarms. I know there are people who have excessive sweat on their hands and feet, but since the treatment involves swelling and your armpits get numb, there’s no way to treat the glands on those areas. Yet. If you have excessive sweat, it seems worth the cost since miraDry takes one appointment and is permanent; currently, many people use botox injections, which must be redone every three to six months at about $1000 or more per treatment.
Want to try it? Call 808-949-8346 to make an appointment.
Still skeptical? Here’s the FAQ on miraDry, including why you don’t need the sweat glands in your armpits.
Vein & Skin Center of Hawaii 1600 Kapiolani Blvd., #808 808-949-8346