Everybody sweats, but heavy or excessive sweating (a condition known as Hyperhidrosis) can cause physical, social and psychological problems for sufferers. This article looks at the differences between ‘normal’ and heavy or excessive sweating. It examines the causes, triggers and potential solutions. We also look at the causes, triggers and potential solutions for a medical condition known as Hyperhidrosis.
What causes heavy or excessive sweating?
Sweating is entirely natural, and plays the vital role of cooling our bodies down. You can read more about how our bodies sweat, the different types of sweat we produce and how body odor develops in sweating: what is it and how does it affect people?
Most people have experienced heavy sweating at some point such as after a workout or in hot weather when the body produces and releases greater amounts of moisture. Lifestyle changes, a fluctuation in general health, being overweight, alcohol, medication or drug consumption can also trigger outbreaks of heavy or excessive sweating.
What can I do to reduce heavy or excessive sweating?
There are a number of steps you can take to help reduce the symptoms of heavy and excessive sweating.
Small lifestyle changes may help if sweating is temporary. Try the following:
- Avoid or reduce your intake of known triggers such as spicy foods, alcohol and caffeine
- Stay out of the sun whenever possible
- Take measures to try and reduce stress
- Wear natural fibres such as cotton
- Choose either light or very dark clothing that will conceal the signs of sweating
- Armpit shields: to absorb sweat and protect clothing
Cosmetic solutions for heavy and excessive sweating
Antiperspirants are especially effective at minimizing heavy and excessive sweating. Alongside lifestyle changes, they’re usually the first measure recommended by dermatologists, as they offer a “cosmetic” and non-invasive way to keep sweating at bay.
The active ingredients in antiperspirants are aluminium salts such as Aluminium Chlorohydrate or Aluminium Chloride. These act on the eccrine and apocrine sweat glands by partially and reversibly clogging the duct of the sweat gland thus reducing the amount of sweat that is produced. This clogging is harmless. Because there is less sweat, there is less dampness and noticeably less odor. Even a small amount of aluminum can make a big difference to the amount you sweat.
Eucerin antiperspirants (known as Anti-Transpirants) work to reduce and prevent sweating and are ideal for those who experience heavy or excessive sweating.
Eucerin 48h Anti-Transpirant Roll-On contains Aluminium Chlorohydrate (ACH) and offers 48-hour protection from sweating and odor. It is ideal for those who experience heavy sweating. Eucerin 72h Anti-Transpirant Intensive Pump Spray contains both Aluminium Chlorohydrate (ACH) and Aluminium Chloride (AC) and is clinically proven to reduce sweat and offer effective protection against odor for 72 hours. It is ideal for those who suffer from excessive sweating. Both products contain a subtle fragrance and leave skin feeling fresh and protected.
In cases of heavy sweating we recommend the following routine:
- Apply Eucerin 48h Anti-Transpirant Roll-On both in the evening, before going to bed, and in the morning. This allows the active ingredients to build up in the sweat glands, thereby increasing the level of protection.
- If the effect is not yet strong enough for your needs try Eucerin 72h Anti-Transpirant Intensive Pump Spray. Follow the usage instructions carefully.
What is Hyperhidrosis?
If sweating occurs in circumstances that would not usually trigger sweating (i.e. in moderate temperatures, or when the body is at rest) you may have a medical condition known as Hyperhidrosis. The term hyperhidrosis refers to a pathologic condition of producing too much sweat without exposure to adequate triggers.
Hyperhidrosis can be primary (i.e. not related to another medical condition) or secondary (i.e. a side effect of another medical condition). Around 1% of the population experience Hyperhidrosis and they find that changing external circumstances, such as staying out of the sun, doesn’t help. The condition can be embarrassing, distressing and sometimes even debilitating and can have significant psychological implications for sufferers
What causes and/or triggers Hyperhidrosis?
The main cause of primary Hyperhidrosis is a dysfunction of the autonomous nervous system which results in overactive eccrine sweat glands. Research has shown that the part of the brain that regulates the sweating process emits signals to the eccrine glands even when there is no actual need to cool the body.
Primary Hyperhidrosis is thought to be genetic: It usually starts during puberty and peaks during someone’s twenties or thirties. Even though the root cause is genetic, outbreaks of sweat can be triggered by anxiousness or nervousness.
Secondary Hyperhidrosis is the side-effect of an underlying medical condition or caused by hormonal changes in the body.
If you think you may suffer from either form of hyperhidrosis, consult your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and for treatment recommendations.
Medical solutions for Hyperhidrosis
There is a wide range of surgical and non-surgical options available that can have a dramatic impact on the lives of people experiencing Hyperhidrosis. Most of them act on the nerves stimulating the sweat glands but they differ in terms of cost, side-effects and duration of their efficacy. Discuss your options with your doctor who will recommend the best solution for you.