An ambitious 18-year-old is desperately fundraising for Botox treatment not to rid herself of wrinkles but to stop her profuse sweating which is so excessive she can barely hold a pen and has contributed to her quitting university.
Delighted when she landed a place at Kingston University London to study criminology in 2021, aspiring forensic psychologist Laila Lake was distraught when her palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis – a condition causing unbridled sweating – combined with chronic fatigue to make it impossible for her to continue her studies.
Now the teenager, who lives in Forest Hill, south east London, with her mum, Claire, 54, a trained florist, has launched a GoFundMe page hoping to finance Botox injections in her hands and feet, after discovering it is an effective treatment, saying: “I’ve read that getting Botox in my hands and feet could reduce the sweating by up to 80 per cent.”
She added: “That would be completely life changing for me.
“I am hoping to return to my studies through the Open University in October and the last thing I want to be worrying about is excess sweat dripping onto my notes.”
Laila, who quit university in November 2021, first noticed she was perspiring more than other people when she was at primary school.
She said: “It can be very embarrassing and I’ve been struggling to keep on top of it for nearly 10 years.
“I think it’s something I have had all my life, but I didn’t really become aware of it until primary school, probably around the age of six.
“The condition starts off mild and tends to get worse with age, peaking at around 18, so it wasn’t until I was nine or 10 that it started to become a problem for me, which is when I told my mum.”
And the condition, which makes sufferers sweat without any apparent cause, soon impacted on her studies.
She said: “I really started to struggle in secondary school, as my hand would be so sweaty and trying to write essays was a nightmare.
“I would pull my sleeve over my hand to write, but I found it very difficult.”
Despite receiving her diagnosis and having various treatments including electrotherapy – which involves applying an electric current to the affected area – Laila did not see any improvement.
She said: “Nothing seemed to work and I don’t know how I got through my GCSE exams.
“I had a word with the school about it ahead of the exams, but they were only able to give me a few tissues on the day which didn’t really help.”
She added: “When I’m at home, I carry a hand towel around with me because otherwise, even holding things like pans and knives in the kitchen can be tough.”
During her schooldays, Laila did not tell any of her friends about her condition.
She said: “I was embarrassed and didn’t want anybody to know so I hid it from everyone I knew.”
She added: “I only first started telling people about two years ago.”
So far, she has found the best way to stem her sweating is by making herself as cold as possible.
She said: “In winter I’ll go out without gloves on to make my hands really cold, which stops the sweating. Winter is easier to deal with than summer for the most part, but then again the central heating doesn’t help my sweating.”
She added: “As I’ve got older, I’ve learnt to be more comfortable with talking to people about my condition, but it can still be very embarrassing.
“I hate having to shake hands with people and sometimes people notice sweat dripping onto my paper when I’m writing.
“With my feet I have to change my socks and footwear multiple times a day and I’m restricted to wearing trainers. I can’t wear any other footwear, even in the summer when I’d love to wear sandals or heels if I’m going somewhere nice, but can’t because of my sweating.”
She added: “It’s something that, over the years, I’ve had to learn to deal with, but it’s not very nice.”
To add to her problems, in October 2021, Laila was diagnosed with chronic fatigue, which combined with her sweating to make it too difficult to continue with her university course, so she quit.
She said: “I only spent a month at uni and even then I was struggling with the excessive sweating.”
She added: “I’m planning to start a forensic psychology degree this October though the Open University and I really don’t want this to be an issue for me again.”
Desperate to find a cure, Laila started researching alternative treatments and discovered fellow sufferers who said Botox had really helped.
She said: “People were saying online that they’d seen great results from using Botox and with me restarting university this year, I am really keen to give it a go.”
Sadly, costing around £1,000 per treatment, Botox is far too expensive for Laila, whose mum is not working at the moment either.
She said: “It’s way out of my price range. I would likely need it topping up every three months and I can’t even afford one treatment.
“It’s offered on the NHS but the waiting list is 18 months, so I’m hoping to have some Botox before then if I can raise the funds.”
She added: “If I can get even one treatment of Botox before I start university it will make me feel so much better and less anxious about things like typing or writing out notes for my lectures.
“I have been dealing with the social embarrassment of this condition for nearly 10 years. I don’t want to live like this any longer.”
To donate to Laila’s Go Fund Me page, visit: www.gofundme.com/f/help-laila-treat-her-hyperhidrosis