How to Deal With Excessive Sweating
We all sweat, but some of us sweat a lot . Seriously, a lot. If you fall into this category, you know how annoying and sometimes embarrassing it can be. But fear not, my sweaty friends; we’re here to share some tips to make your life a little easier.
Why do you sweat so much
You have 1.6 to 5 million sweat glands located throughout your body, and two types of glands do most of the work: the apocrine glands , which are found mainly in the underarms, and the eccrine glands , which are more and more common. your body. The Encyclopedia Britannica explains that your apocrine glands are usually the culprit behind the most annoying sweating problems:
The apocrine sweat glands, which are usually associated with hair follicles, continually secrete greasy sweat into the gland’s tubules. Emotional stress causes the tubule wall to contract, forcing fatty secretions onto the skin, where local bacteria break them down into odorous fatty acids.
The fact that most of your apocrine glands are concentrated in your underarms is the reason you only put deodorant or antiperspirant under your arms and not all over your body. On the other hand, your eccrine glands fire when your body gets too hot and you need to cool down. Most of the moisture you feel when exercising or in hot environments comes from these glands, but there is much less odor. Here are some of the main causes of excessive sweating (other than fever):
- Exercise: When your body heats up from exercise, sweat is released to cool you down.
- Nervousness: Your fight-or-flight system is activated when you are nervous, and it creates a rush of hormones in your body. Your pulse quickens and you start to burn energy, so your sweat comes back to cool your body .
- Hyperhidrosis: According to Harvard Medical School , hyperhidrosis is a condition that affects one to three percent of the population and includes excessive sweating of the palms, underarms, feet, and groin. In fact, people with hyperhidrosis sweat much more than is normal.
- Emotions: Strong emotions such as anger, excitement, or stress can activate your sweat glands. Just as nervousness makes you sweat, strong positive feelings – like seeing the love of your life or being next in line to catch your favorite ride – can make you sweat faster.
There are other factors that can increase sweating, such as genes, but these are the main causes of excessive sweating.
How to prevent excessive sweating
Antiperspirants and deodorants may help some people with sweat problems, but they are not always 100% effective. If moisture is causing you a problem, use an antiperspirant and consider applying it before bed . If you’re struggling with bad body odor, deodorant kills the smelly bacteria that feed on sweat byproducts and makes you smell good.
However, sometimes antiperspirants are not enough. If you regularly experience excessive sweating, you may need to avoid certain foods. Consider cutting back on your coffee consumption. Some studies,like this one in the Journal of Medicinal Food , show that caffeine affects your central nervous system, making you sweat more. Drinking hot won’t help either, as it will raise your body temperature. You can also avoid spicy foods. Barry Greene of John B. Pierce’s lab explains in Scientific American why spicy foods have some “heat” :
… that spicy food stimulates the skin receptors, which usually respond to heat. These receptors are pain fibers, technically known as polymodal nociceptors … The central nervous system can be fooled or tricked when these pain fibers are stimulated by a chemical, like in chili, that causes an ambiguous nervous response. The central nervous system reacts to whatever the sensory system says. Thus, the pattern of activity associated with pain and warm nerve fibers elicits both sensations and physical responses to heat, including vasodilation, sweating, and hot flushes.
If you are faced with various causes of excessive sweating but still cannot understand them, a visit to your doctor can help you find a solution.
Keep your body odor in check
Excessive sweating usually leads to body odor, but there are ways to control it. The most obvious way is to use a good deodorant. Deodorant not only covers BO with a pleasant scent, it also contains alcohol, which kills the bacteria that cause these unpleasant odors.
The food you eat can also play a role. According to the University of California, Berkeley, there are a couple of foods and drinks that can enhance your body odor :
- Sulfur-containing foods: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and any other Brassica plant. Plants from the genus Allium, such as onions and garlic, can also contribute.
- Alcohol: After drinking, alcohol converts to acetic acid, but some is excreted through sweat, causing a stench.
Some of the obvious advice that some manage to ignore is regular bathing. If you know you have a bladder problem, bathing with soap and water on a daily basis should be an easy task. Skipping a day or two allows bacteria to build up and the situation will only get worse. Last but not least, you can shave your armpits. Most women already practice this, but it can be beneficial for men as well. When you shave your armpits, you remove hair that keeps antiperspirants and deodorants from getting on your skin, and the sweat that forms there can evaporate more quickly to reduce moisture.
Dress up to hide the sweat
Some people, including myself, just sweat and don’t stop sweating, no matter what foods they use or what foods they avoid. In these cases, you are left with some limited options (unless you want Botox to be injected into your armpits ). One way to deal with sweat is to dress to hide it.
In the area of clothing, there are many options to make you look like a normal dry person. First, the colors you wear make a huge difference. James Harris, a writer for Complex , shares some tips on what colors should and shouldn’t be applied to an overly damp body :
Dark colors such as navy blue and black will not show wet spots poorly, as well as very light colors such as white. Grays, blues and bright colors are the worst options to hide sweat, and they will definitely show the world that you can’t stand the heat.
In addition, some types of patterns can also help you hide bright wet spots. You can wear patterns like plaid or camouflage without sweating. You can also wear something under your visible clothing. Mike Theobald of Everyday Health suggests dressing in layers :
Put on a breathable tank to absorb sweat before it reaches the outer layer of your garment. Adding a breathable jacket or cardigan can also help prevent sweat from entering. Just make sure your layers are thin or appropriate for the season – you don’t want to overheat and exacerbate the problem.
Apart from the color and the number of layers you wear, you can also think about the materials you wear. Something breathable is good, but as Men’s Health points out, cotton is king :
He breathes. Indeed, cotton is what to wear to the gym when you sweat a lot: it absorbs sweat, not wicks it away. But in mildly damp office environments, cotton is your choice to keep you cool. Polyester or polyester / cotton blends tend to trap heat, making you sweat more.
There is nothing wrong with dressing to impress, but the comfort of what you wear is your number one priority. If your clothes accentuate your sweat stains, you might be better off wearing something else.
Prevent Sweat Stains on Your Clothes
There are many other ways to deal with awful wet stains. Here are some more tips you can use:
- Ventilate pits: One of the most effective ways to avoid pitting spots – and one of my personal favorites – is to eliminate the possibility of sweat in the first place. Wear a tank top or any shirt with large arm holes. Now, if you have odor-controlling deodorant, you can sweat as much as you want without anyone noticing it.
- Keep a change of clothes on hand : Change clothes when it gets too hot. You can even carry around an extra set of what you are wearing and nothing seems to have happened. Not all sweat problems are associated with pits, so this is one of the best options for these situations.
- Wear sweat protection: There are over-the-counter pads you can wear or attach to clothing that absorb sweat before it hits your outer layers. If you’re in trouble, you can also do a few simple ones with tape and paper towels. You need to dry the pits in the bathroom every 10 minutes.
Pit spots can be annoying, but there are many ways to avoid them. The most important thing you can do is plan ahead. Know your body, think about what you are wearing, and think about what you will be doing during the day. If you know you sweat a lot, buy dark or patterned clothing. If you know you will be dancing in a dress shirt, consider wearing a tank top or sweat lining.
How to remove sweat stains
One of the most annoying things about sweating is that you can stain your clothes and bedding. If you can’t prevent it, you can at least uninstall it. Brett of The Art of Manliness tried several different yellow spot removal options including bleach, ammonia, OxiClean and Raise Yellow Stain Remover, and finally recommended OxiClean :
All you need to do is fill your sink with warm water and mix it with one scoop of OxiClean. Place the infected shirt in the sink, making sure the yellow spots are completely covered in water. In case of small stains, just leave the shirt on for an hour; for DEFCON 5 stains, leave the shirt overnight. After you soak, rinse your shirt and wash it normally.
Feel free to use it on other clothes or sheets, and night sweaters. If you’re interested in a home remedy, you can make your own stain remover, similar to OxiClean, with a mixture of dish detergent and hydrogen peroxide . Mix one part dishwashing liquid with two parts hydrogen peroxide and let the mixture sit on the stain for at least an hour. For stubborn stains, add some baking soda and scrub. Yellow spots on a T-shirt or bedspread can be just as annoying as wet spots, so don’t be afraid to get rid of these canaries.
So go ahead and sweat: at least you now have options on how to deal with it.
This story was originally published on 11/10/14 and updated on 10/4/19 to provide more complete and up-to-date information.