OverviewSweating is the body’s way of regulating its temperature. When we’re hot, we sweat. That moisture then evaporates and cools us down. Sweating is a completely natural part of everyday life.Still, some people may find sweating undesirable in certain social situations, particularly if their sweat is leaving noticeable damp patches or stains. In these situations, there are some strategies that can help to reduce the amount that you sweat.
Apply antiperspirant before bedAntiperspirants work by blocking the sweat ducts so that the sweat can’t reach the surface of our skin. The sweat is still produced by the gland, but can’t reach the surface.Deodorants don’t prevent sweating but instead aim to mask the smell that’s produced by bacteria when we sweat. Sometimes antiperspirants contain deodorant. The majority of antiperspirants you can purchase at the drugstore are made up of metallic salts called aluminum chloride.For best results from your antiperspirant, ensure your underarms are clean and dry and then apply it at night before going to bed. This is because the ingredients need time to create the block over the sweat duct and most people sweat less, or not at all, at night.It may not work immediately, but stick to this routine for a few nights and you should achieve the desired results. Once the antiperspirant begins to take effect, it can be applied as needed.
Wear breathable fabricsThe best way to help reduce sweating with your clothing choices is to wear light, breathable fabrics with good ventilation. Lighter colors also help to reflect the sun rather than absorb it, so wearing white can help keep you cool and reduce sweat.When this isn’t an option, choose dark colors or distracting patterns that hide the sweat. You can also layer your outfits so that the sweat isn’t visible on the outer layer.
Avoid certain foodsThere are a few food choices you may want to avoid if you’re out to a business lunch or in a social situation where you’d rather not sweat. Definitely avoid spicy food. Our bodies react to spicy food in the same way they do to any other heat — they try to cool things down, which leads to sweating.Caffeine isn’t advisable either as it stimulates our adrenal glands and causes our palms, feet, and underarms to sweat.
Keep coolSweating is your body’s way of cooling you down. So by staying cool, you reduce the need to sweat.In hot weather, it can be really effective to place a bowl of ice in front of a fan to circulate cold air around the room. Another good idea is to keep your curtains and blinds drawn during the day to stop the sun from overheating your rooms. Try to stay in the shade if you’re outdoors.Eating smaller meals more regularly can help to keep you cool, as metabolic heat is needed to break down food. Staying well hydrated will also keep your body temperature down.You can also keep your moisturizers in the fridge for a cooling effect when you apply them. Get yourself a handheld fan and keep your head and feet cool by avoiding hats and wearing open shoes when the weather allows it.
Medical treatmentsIf you feel that you sweat to excess, you may want to consult with your doctor to see if you have a condition called hyperhidrosis. If you do, there are several treatment options available to you:
- Prescription antiperspirant. Your doctor can prescribe a high-strength prescription antiperspirant that isn’t readily available to buy over the counter. Prescription creams are also available if your face and head are affected.
- Oral medication. There are some medications available from your doctor that block the chemicals that allow particular nerves to communicate with each other, which can help to reduce sweating. There are some potential side effects (including bladder problems, dry mouth, and blurred vision), so talk to your doctor about whether or not the benefits outweigh the risks.
- Antidepressants. Anxiety can lead to excess sweating. Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants if they feel that this is contributing to your issue.
- Botox injections. These injections temporarily block the nerves that cause sweating. The injections last for 6 to 12 months, after which, the treatment will need to be repeated. The injections may cause minor pain, and some people experience muscle weakness temporarily in the area that they’ve had treated.
- Surgery. In extreme cases, there are some surgical options open to you. These include microwave therapy, sweat gland removal, and nerve surgery. Surgery should only be considered when your doctor determines that you have a serious condition causing you to sweat an unusual amount.