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Sweating may seem like a nuisance, but it plays an important role in regulating body temperature. It is essentially your body’s way of releasing extra heat to maintain a normal body temperature.
When your core temperature rises above normal, the body releases sweat droplets to shed the excess heat. This helps cool down the body back to normal.
But in some cases, the sweat glands become overactive and produce much more sweat than is needed to cool down the body. This type of abnormally excessive sweating is referred to as hyperhidrosis.
Some people are more prone to sweating than others. Many things can influence how much you sweat, including your weight, diet, lifestyle, level of physical activity, place of residence, genetics, certain medications, and medical conditions, among others.
Home Remedies for Excessive Sweating
You can try the following home remedies to manage your sweating problem:
Note: These remedies are purely anecdotal since there isn’t enough scientific evidence to confirm their effectiveness. They may work for some but not for others.
The citric acid in lemon can help kill the bacteria present in sweat that are responsible for its foul smell. Lemon juice can also help minimize skin pores to suppress excessive sweating. (1)
How to use:
- Rub half a lemon on your underarms. You can also add a few drops of lemon juice in some baking soda to make a thick paste and apply it to your sweaty underarms with a cotton pad.
- Let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Wash it off.
Pro-tip: The best time to use this remedy is before going for your bath.
Note: Don’t apply this remedy to wounded, irritated, or sensitive skin as it can cause a lot of stinging and redness. Moreover, both lemon and baking soda can make your skin dry and photosensitive if used excessively.
2. Green tea
Green tea is one hot beverage that can curb perspiration instead of aggravating it. It does so by reducing stress, which is a major trigger for sweating.
Stress leads to the release of cortisol hormone that raises your body temperature, which prompts the sweat glands into action. The antioxidants, such as catechins, along with other healing nutrients, such as magnesium, B vitamins, and vitamin C, found in green tea help relax your mind and body while also inhibiting the activity of your sweat glands.
Moreover, green tea exhibits considerable antimicrobial activity that can help kill the malodorous bacteria present in sweat. (2) Thus, drinking green tea can reduce both the release and stink of sweat.
3. Black tea
Black tea works as an astringent, which can shrink your pores and thereby reduce sweat release.
How to use:
- Brew a cup of black tea and let it cool down to room temperature.
- Dip a clean washcloth, towel, or cotton pad in the tea, and dab it all over your armpits. You can directly apply the tea bag as well.
- Let the liquid absorb into your skin for a few minutes.
- Wash it off.
4. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is credited with significant antibacterial properties that can help eliminate bacteria in sweat, thus reducing body odor. Moreover, ACV is a natural astringent that can close your pores to curb sweating.
How to use:
- Mix 2 teaspoons of ACV in a glass of water and drink it on an empty stomach. You can also add a teaspoon of honey to make the solution more palatable.
- Soak a cotton ball in diluted ACV and apply it directly to the sweat-prone areas.
Self-Care Tips and Lifestyle Changes to Curb Sweating
There is no single cure for excessive sweating, but you can try a bunch of different treatments, remedies, and self-care measures to bring it under control. Here are a few dos and don’ts:
1. Use moisturizing soaps
Regular soap contains harsh chemicals that can further irritate your sensitive skin. Thus, it is recommended to use a mild, fragrant-free, antibacterial soap that can clean the skin without aggravating the condition. Also, look for soaps that have a moisturizing component to soothe the irritated skin.
2. Avoid foods that make you sweat
Hot or spicy foods can generate extra heat in the body, which is released in the form of sweat. Foods that are low in fiber, high in fat, or processed are harder to digest, and all that extra effort can warm up your body, which ultimately cools down through sweating.
High-sodium foods can also trigger perspiration, which is your body’s way of eliminating the extra salt from its system. Lastly, certain pungent foods such as onion, garlic, asparagus, curry, cumin, and other sulfur-containing items can worsen the smell of your sweat.
3. Eat foods that suppress perspiration
Consume fruits and vegetables with high water content to keep your body cool. Calcium helps regulate body temperature and prevents excessive sweating. You can get this vital nutrient through dairy products, such as cheese, milk, and yogurt.
Use more olive oil in your diet for better metabolism, which allows your body to digest food easily without breaking into a sweat. A general rule of thumb is to eat fibrous and nutritious foods that are easy on the digestive system to avoid excessive sweating.
4. Take care of your armpits
If your armpits are covered with hair, they will produce and collect more sweat, resulting in strong body odor. So, it’s important to regularly remove the hair from your underarms and apply an antiperspirant to make them sweat less. (3)
Note: Antiperspirants are different from deodorants. The former block the release of sweat, whereas the latter are strong-smelling perfume that only masks the unpleasant body odor without any effect on actual sweat production.
5. Dress appropriately
Profuse sweating can stain your clothes and cause a lot of embarrassment. To avoid that, you should wear loose clothes that don’t catch sweat easily.
Also, loose clothes have room for ventilation, which can dry out the sweat on your body. Moreover, sweat patches are less noticeable on white and black colored clothes.
If you can’t compromise on your wardrobe, the least you can do is place absorbent pads under your arms to soak in the excess sweat. Lastly, synthetic clothes make you sweat more, so it’s best to avoid them. Go for breathable fabrics such as cotton and linen instead.
6. Take care of your feet
People with sweaty feet should change their socks two times a day, and their footwear every other day. Cotton socks absorb sweat and become damp, which can make your feet uncomfortable and can give rise to foot blisters.
You must look for socks that are made of acrylic, wool, spandex, polyester, or other such fabrics that wick moisture away from your feet to keep them dry and comfortable. Similarly, the material of your shoes should allow your feet to breathe, so avoid leather boots and sports shoes as much as possible. Go for sandals or light-weight shoes instead.
Also, sprinkle a generous amount of sweat-absorbent powder all over your feet twice daily to keep them sweat-free. You can also fit deodorized insoles inside your shoes to keep your feet smelling fresh.
7. Bath daily
Taking a bath daily with an antibacterial soap can help manage excessive sweating.
8. Stay relaxed
Stress, anxiety, and nervousness can send your sweat glands into overdrive and make you perspire profusely. (4) Thus, stress management is very important if you wish to bring your sweating under control.
You can relax your body and mind through relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing. You should also engage in activities and hobbies that give you pleasure.
9. Give up smoking
The major component of tobacco cigarettes is nicotine, which is released into the body and spikes your heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. (5) As your insides become warm, the body starts to sweat to eliminate the excess heat and bring down its core temperature back to normal. (5)
10. Stay hydrated
Drink lots of water and other hydrating fluids, such as lime water, fresh fruit juices, and coconut water, throughout the day to prevent excessive sweating.
Most-Asked Questions About Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)
Do antiperspirants increase the risk of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease?
There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that antiperspirants can cause either breast cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.
Does sweat smell bad?
Sweat is 99% water and is therefore odorless, but it acquires a foul smell once it mixes with bacteria on the skin surface. These bacteria break down certain compounds in sweat, releasing an unpleasant body odor in the process. The more the bacteria, the stronger the body odor.
It’s easy to dismiss the problem of uncontrollable perspiration, but people who suffer from it go through a great deal of physical and emotional distress. Excessive sweating can stain your clothes, make you look tired or unclean, give rise to foul body odor, and irritate your skin.
Hyperhidrosis isn’t a serious health problem itself, but it can stem from a serious medical condition. So, it’s always best to get it checked by a doctor to rule out any risks or complications.