Excessive sweating is known as hyperhidrosis. If you're getting soaked—even when you're not working out—try these tricks for getting heavy perspiration under control.
Holly C. Corbett 1 / 7
Sweating at the gym feels great. Sweating on a date or at the office? Not so much.While it’s perfectly normal to get drenched when pumping iron or even at a steamy summer barbecue, growing pit stains during a romantic dinner or sopping palms when shaking hands can be humiliating. And if you’re one of the 8 million Americans with a medical condition known as hyperhidrosis, you sweat four or five times more than normal. Try these six tips to get control of your sweating so you can stay dry for your next big date or presentation.
Avoid Spicy Foods and CaffeineA strong coffee or a burrito doused in hot sauce might make your taste buds happy—but they could also stimulate your sweat glands in a not-so-comfortable way."Caffeine and spices can activate neurotransmitters, called acetylcholine, which are located in your brain,” says Kelley Redbord, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in private practice in Vienna, VA and Associate Professor, George Washington University, “Anything that stimulates these neurotransmitters can sometimes affect the glands that cause sweating.”
Swipe on Antiperspirant in the AfternoonSweat production is at its lowest at night, giving the active ingredients in antiperspirants a better chance to get into your pores and block perspiration in the morning, says Dee Anna Glaser, MD, FAAD, President of the International Hyperhidrosis Society. “It’s okay to reapply in the morning, but don’t worry about the product washing away in the shower because the ingredients have already penetrated your sweat ducts.”
Think Outside the PitsThe average person has two to four million sweat glands working as the body’s coolant system to protect it from overheating. “Your hands, feet, face, back, chest, and even groin have high concentrations of sweat glands,” says Dr. Glaser. Gliding or spraying antiperspirants on these areas can help keep you dry, but skip sensitive areas such as your face or private parts.
Go for Extra StrengthGo for extra strength. Clinical strength antiperspirants are more effective at stopping sweat because they have higher concentrations of active ingredients. You can get clinical strength formulas for your favorite brands, such as Dove or Secret, at the drugstore without a prescription.
Go for Prescription-Level HelpBesides hot outdoor temperatures or a killer workout, emotions (such as feeling stressed during a job interview) can also make you sweat. “Anything you can do to decrease your anxiety, such as deep breathing or other relaxation techniques, will decrease the potential stimulation of neurotransmitters that can then stimulate your sweat glands,” says Dr. Redbord. “If you often sweat a lot when you’re in a stressful situation, such as with public speaking, you can consider seeing a doctor (find one near you at sweathelp.org ) who may decide to prescribe oral medications that can help decrease your sweating in these types of situations, or suggest other treatment options.”
Consider Surgical OptionsIf antiperspirants aren’t able to stop the floodgates, you could ask your doctor about getting Botox injections, which were FDA-approved in 2004 for treating hyperhidrosis. Another treatment known as the miraDry Procedure recently received FDA approval, and a handful of doctors are beginning to offer it across the country. “The miraDry Procedure eliminates sweat glands in the underarm safely and non-invasively, so people can expect lasting results and stop excessive underarm sweat from interfering with their lives," says Jeffrey Klein, MD, a dermatologic surgeon practicing in San Juan Capistrano and Newport Beach in Orange County, California. You can get the one- to two-hour treatment at a dermatologist’s office. The results are long-lasting since sweat glands don’t regenerate, but it calls for two treatments to reap maximum benefits.