Tips for managing hyperhidrosis

Many people who sweat excessively do not realize that they have a treatable medical condition. The following tips can help provide information and gain control:

Tips to help manage sweat

  • Use a stronger antiperspirant sometimes described as “clinical” strength
  • Dress to thwart sweat by choosing lightweight, breathable fabrics, such as cottons
  • Keep antiperspirants + deodorant with you to reapply them in the middle of the day or before a stressful meeting
  • Dress in layers year-round, as wearing an undershirt, absorbent camisole top or dress shields can help soak up some of the sweat
  • Choose clothing in looser weaves, such as linens, and avoid fabrics like silk as it may make you feel hotter
  • Skip the spicy lunches, as eating certain foods, such as hot peppers, can affect the amount of sweat you produce
  • Read labels & look for clothing that say the fabric is the type that wicks away moisture or look for clothing with high cotton content
  • Pick colors wisely – white will show more sweat, but it won’t be as visible on other colors, nor on prints or patterns
  • Carry an extra shirt or blouse to work or a social function, or leave a quick change of clothes in your car
  • Pick bed linens that are made of breathable, lightweight fabrics for year round
  • Skip the down comforter, even in winter, and opt for a lighter bedspread
  • Pick sheets that are absorbent; the best fabrics are plain cotton, not silk or flannel

See a dermatologist for a diagnosis

A dermatologist is one of the few doctors who receives training in the diagnosis and treatment of hyperhidrosis. A dermatologist can tell you what type of hyperhidrosis you have and recommend appropriate treatment. Prepare for your appointment by being ready to answer the following questions:

  • Do any of your blood relatives have excessive sweating?
  • Do you sweat a lot while sleeping?
  • When did you first notice the excessive sweating?
  • Do you avoid certain activities or social situations because of your sweating?
  • How often do you sweat excessively?
  • Does anything seem to trigger your sweating?

Get the best results from an antiperspirant

  • Make sure you are using an antiperspirant rather than a deodorant. Antiperspirants can reduce sweating by plugging your sweat glands to temporarily reduce or stop sweating. On the contrary, deodorants mask or cover body odor, but allow you to sweat.
  • Apply antiperspirant to dry skin before going to bed. This is because you perspire less at night and the product can work more efficiently and effectively.

Keep a sweat journal

For many people who sweat excessively, certain situations trigger their sweating. Learning triggers is important – this knowledge can tell you when you need more help controlling the sweating. You also may find that you can avoid some triggers.

Common triggers include:

  • Heat
  • Feeling anxious
  • Certain foods

Foods and beverages that are common triggers contain:

  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Caffeine (chocolate, coffee, tea)
  • Hot sauce
  • Spices such as curry or cumin
  • Alcohol