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When You Sweat Too Much: Tips for Heavy Sweating

Medically Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on June 02, 2020

When you’re out for a run, working out at the gym, or cutting the grass on a warm afternoon, you sweat. No big deal.

But if you sweat when you walk across an air-conditioned office or lie down at night, it can be a real hassle. The medical term for sweating too much is hyperhidrosis, and it can cause social, emotional, and physical issues. But you can make a few changes to help control it.

Antiperspirants

Don’t get these mixed up with deodorants, which only mask odor and don’t stop the sweat.  Antiperspirants plug up your sweat ducts, telling your body to stop making sweat in those areas.

We often think of them as something we put on under our arms before getting dressed in the morning. But that’s short-changing this all-purpose sweat stopper.

Antiperspirants aren’t just for your underarms. You can use them on your hands and feet, too, as well as along your hairline to help with facial sweating. It can help to gently massage the antiperspirant into your skin. The spray kind works well for sweaty feet.

And your antiperspirant isn't just for the morning, either. Studies show that it’s best to put it on twice a day -- once in the morning and again just before bed. If you put it on only once, it’s more helpful to do it before you go to bed.

If over-the-counter antiperspirants don’t work, your doctor can prescribe something stronger. It’s a good idea to test any new antiperspirant on a small area first to see if it bothers your skin.

Daily Tips

You can do a few other things to keep your hyperhidrosis in check or mask the condition when it’s at its worst:

Watch what you eat: Stay away from things that are likely to trigger sweating, like hot sauce, spicy foods, or monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Be aware of what you wear: Undershirts can help absorb sweat, and underarm pads can help with that, too. Other pieces of clothing, like socks, that are breathable or that “wick” away moisture can help keep you dry. And keep a handkerchief handy.

Pack a bag: Sometimes you might need to change your socks or your shirt after a sweating bout. You also might want to put antiperspirant on again. It can be a good idea to keep an emergency kit with a change of clothes and toiletries nearby.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Kamudoni, P., Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, June 8, 2017.

Haider, A., Canadian Medical Association Journal, Jan. 4, 2005.

International Hyperhidrosis Society: “Antiperspirant Basics,” “Drugs/Medications Known to Cause Hyperhidrosis,” “Diseases and Conditions that Can Cause Hyperhidrosis,” “Endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS),” “Iontophoresis,” “Lasers,” “Medications,” “miraDry,” “OnabotulinumtoxinA Injections (Botox),” “Tips for Best Results -- OTC,” “Tips for Best Results -- Rx,” “Two Types of Hyperhidrosis,” “Underarm Surgeries.”

Mayo Clinic: “Botox injections.”

American Academy of Dermatology: “Hyperhidrosis: Tips for Managing.”

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