We all sweat. It’s a natural function of the body’s integumentary system, but sweating profusely on cool days and with minimal exertion can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and even unhygienic. There are, however, ways that you can reduce your body sweat so you can lead a better, dryer lifestyle.
One of the first steps in reducing your sweat output is to determine whether it’s caused by a somewhat common medical condition known as hyperhidrosis.
What is Hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition that causes profuse sweating. Sweating in hot spaces, when you’re wearing heavy clothing in high temperatures, or while working out is normal, but if you sweat excessively or easily, you may have hyperhidrosis. Many people who routinely get the “night sweats” actually have hyperhidrosis.
Causes of Hyperhidrosis
There is no single cause of hyperhidrosis, but doctors have isolated some common causes. They include:
- Hormonal changes brought on by pregnancy or menopause
- Stress and anxiety
- A reaction to a prescription or even over-the-counter medication
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
- A bacterial or viral infection
Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis
The most apparent symptom of hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating in the armpits, palms, feet, face, chest, and groin. It may not affect all of these locations equally, but it usually affects both sides of the body the same way. Sufferers of hyperhidrosis may become aware of their condition when they perspire in cool rooms or spaces when they are undergoing little activity.
If you suspect that you have hyperhidrosis, you will need to see a physician for a proper diagnosis. Among the tests that they use are the standard urine and blood tests to determine whether you are displaying symptoms of a related condition, like hypoglycemia or hyperthyroidism. There are also specific tests to help pinpoint the location and severity of your condition. Some of these include thermoregulatory sweat testing, iodine-starch testing, and skin conductance testing.
How You Can Reduce Your Sweat
Depending on whether or not you have hyperhidrosis, there are a number of things that you can do to reduce your sweat output. We will examine each separately.
Reducing Sweat in the Absence of Hyperhidrosis
Here are several methods you can try to reduce your level of perspiration if you’ve determined that you don’t have a medical condition.
1. Change Your Deodorant
Antiperspirant blocks the pores on your skin, which prevents you from sweating as much. If your antiperspirant isn’t doing its job, consider switching products. Some antiperspirants contain aluminum salts, which reduce the flow of sweat. As with any new product, discontinue usage if you have an allergic reaction or experience any irritation.
2. Bathe More Regularly
For some people, once-a-day bathing is not enough. You may find that you need a morning and evening shower. If you normally bathe in hot water, consider turning the water to cold before you get out. This will help constrict the pores and lower your skin temperature. Make sure you dry thoroughly and wait a few minutes before putting on your clothes.
3. Dress for the Climate
Don’t wear warm clothing if you know you’re going to be indoors or if it’s hot outside. Choose clothes made from natural fibers, like cotton, that will allow air to reach your skin.
4. Use Talcum Powder
You can apply talcum powder nearly anywhere underneath your clothing and it will help keep you dry and comfortable. Talcum powder acts as an astringent to tighten pores and it also absorbs sweat. It’s also cheap and readily available in the grooming sections of grocery stores and department stores.
5. Carry Spare Undergarments
This may not do much to reduce your sweat, but it will definitely help you stay more comfortable. Carrying an extra set of socks, underpants, or a t-shirt can keep sweat from ruining a long day.
Tips for Dealing With Hyperhidrosis
If you’ve been diagnosed with hyperhidrosis, your doctor will instruct you as to the best ways to treat the condition. All of the above measures may also help you deal with the unpleasantness of hyperhidrosis, but you should confirm that with your doctor. You may also want to ask them about these common treatments.
1. Prescription Antiperspirants
Naturally, if your doctor prescribes an antiperspirant, you should forgo using any over-the-counter products.
2. Prescription Medication
There are prescription medications that slow sweating. There are some side effects because of the way they work to reduce sweat. Some symptoms include dry mouth, dry eyes, and blurred vision.
3. Prescription Cloth Wipes
These are medicated clothes that can be used to treat hyperhidrosis under the arms. As is the case with other topical treatments, the medication inhibits the glands from producing sweat.
4. Laser Treatments
Some hyperhidrosis patients have found success with laser treatments. During this process, the laser technician targets axillary sweat glands and safely destroys them. With fewer sweat glands, the patient is no longer as susceptible to hyperhidrosis.
There are, of course, a number of other experimental options and a surgical approach to curing hyperhidrosis. You should always get a second opinion before undergoing surgery for any medical problem.
Does Laser Treatment Work for Hyperhidrosis?
Many people who are averse to chemical solutions choose laser treatments to reduce or cure their hyperhidrosis. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, the FDA has approved lasers to treat hyperhidrosis in the armpits and is considering authorization for other areas of the body. This is a non-invasive procedure that can be performed in under an hour. It is relatively painless and there is no downtime for recovery. Here’s how it works:
- The laser tech coats the target area with an iodine-starch solution. This highlights the location of the sweat glands.
- The laser tech will then focus a beam of laser light to target and destroy the axillary sweat glands.
- The process can be repeated as necessary.
At Body Details True Laser® Centers, our medical staff will evaluate your condition and skin type. All of our laser clinicians are physician’s assistants (PA) or advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) and have been trained specifically to operate our laser apparatus. We recalibrate our lasers before each treatment. If you have been diagnosed with hyperhidrosis, ask your doctor if you are a candidate for laser hyperhidrosis therapy.
About Body Details True® Laser Centers
With locations throughout Florida, Body Details has performed thousands of individual treatments on our patients. We use cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art equipment. If you have been experiencing profuse sweating under conditions where you don’t believe it’s normal, contact Body Details to learn more.