Sweating is completely normal and no big deal… until it becomes one. When you feel you have to manage armpit sweat every day, it can be stressful and embarrassing, hurting your confidence and leaving you to wonder if something is wrong.
Armpit sweat is a natural biological process to help cool you down when you feel hot, meant to make us feel more comfortable. But when you excessively sweat, it can actually have the opposite effect, leading to both physical and emotional discomfort. You may have tried many types of deodorant to stop armpit sweat, only to find fighting armpit sweat is a tough battle to pick. From staining your clothes to making you self-conscious around other people, excessive armpit sweat can be a real pain. It’s only natural to wonder - can you stop armpit sweat?
- Why Do My Armpits Sweat So Much?
- Treatment for Heavy Sweating
- How to Stop Sweating Underarms Naturally
- Excessive Sweating Tips
- Social Citizen’s Solution
We’ve put together this comprehensive guide for treatments and tips you can use to help stop armpit sweat. We’ve gathered every single armpit sweat solution, and one (if not more) of them is bound to work for you.
Why Do My Armpits Sweat So Much?
Everybody sweats. It’s how our bodies deal with regulating our temperature. When you get too hot, your sympathetic nervous system steps in to stimulate the eccrine sweat glands, secreting water to the surface of the skin, and cooling the body by evaporating. This works because the evaporation process of turning liquid into gas requires heat.
But why do some of us feel our armpits sweat so much?? You might sweat even when it isn’t hot outside and you haven’t been exercising. Or maybe you sweat buckets every time the temperature goes up by just half a degree. What’s the cause of your excessive sweating?
Excessive sweating happens when your nerves send signals to the sweat glands even without being triggered by heat or physical exertion, causing the sweat glands to become overactive.
The medical name for excessive sweating is hyperhidrosis. It actually comes in two types: primary and secondary.
Primary hyperhidrosis usually only affects one specific area of the body like the palms of the hands, under the arms, soles of the feet, face, or scalp. There’s usually no known cause for it; it seems to just happen, although sometimes it can be tied to a neurological condition such as Frey’s Syndrome. Often, primary hyperhidrosis begins in childhood, leading researchers to believe that it may have a genetic component. However, the specific gene associated with primary hyperhidrosis has not been identified.
Secondary hyperhidrosis usually happens all over the entire body. It typically develops in adulthood and is tied to some other kind of condition such as:
- Pheochromocytoma (a small tumor of the adrenal gland)
- Carcinoid syndrome (a rare disorder triggered by an altered immune system response)
- Acromegaly (an abnormality of the pituitary gland producing too much growth hormone)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Spinal cord injury
- Hodgkin’s disease
- Myeloproliferative disorders (a type of slow-growing blood cancer)
- Heart failure
Secondary hyperhidrosis can also be a side effect of a number of medications including:
- Anxiolytic drug
- Asthma inhalers
- Depo-Provera birth control pills
- Migraine medications
- Thyroid-regulating drugs
Finally, secondary hyperhidrosis may be associated with other factors, including:
- Alcohol withdrawal
- Infection (such as malaria or HIV)
- Opiate withdrawal
- Respiratory failure
- Toxicity from alcoholism or substance abuse
6 Treatment for Heavy Sweating
Sometimes, identifying a cause for your hyperhidrosis can be enough to help you treat it. If, for example, you understand that your hyperhidrosis is related to a medication you take, you can speak to your doctor about switching to another drug. Or, if you believe that your excessive sweating is tied to your weight, you can pursue lifestyle modifications to help you lose weight and reduce your sweating.
However, it isn’t always so straightforward. Maybe your hyperhidrosis doesn’t have a cause, or maybe there’s nothing you can do to change the cause. Does this mean that you’re stuck dealing with excessive sweating forever with no recourse?
Not necessarily. There are some medical treatments to stop armpit sweat that you can try out.
You may not think of it as a medical treatment as it’s a common part of most people’s daily routines, but antiperspirant is actually considered to be the first treatment option for excessive sweating.
The active ingredient in most antiperspirants is aluminum, which works by blocking the sweat glands and preventing the flow of sweat. Different antiperspirant products come with different amounts of aluminum, making some stronger than others. The standard antiperspirant available on supermarket and drugstore shelves has the lowest concentration of aluminum. But if this isn’t enough for you, you can try clinical-strength antiperspirant, which is also available in stores, or prescription-strength antiperspirant, for which you must receive a prescription from a doctor.
For the best results, it’s recommended to follow these antiperspirant tips:
- Apply antiperspirant to clean skin immediately after showering
- Dry off your underarms completely before applying antiperspirant
- Apply antiperspirant at night before going to sleep to allow the aluminum to penetrate the skin
- Let the antiperspirant dry for a few minutes before getting dressed.
- You may have to apply antiperspirant multiple days in a row before seeing full results. Don’t give up after the first day.
If antiperspirant isn’t working for you, your doctor may recommend a treatment called iontophoresis. During this treatment, you’ll sit with your hands and feet in a tray of shallow water for half an hour while a low electrical current travels through the water. While it’s uncertain exactly how this works, experts believe that it stops sweat from getting to your skin’s surface. This treatment usually has to be repeated a few times a week before it starts to really work. After that, you may even be able to learn how to do it at home with your own machine. After the first few times, you should be able to maintain effectiveness through only a couple of treatments a month.
3. Botulinum Toxin
Botox is for more than just keeping you looking young like your favorite celebrity. It can also be used to treat excessive sweating. The FDA has approved Botox for treating underarm sweat, and some doctors also use it for other parts of the body, as well. It works by preventing the release of the chemical that activates the sweat glands. It may take a few injections to see results, but they can last for up to a year to stop armpit sweat.
4. Anticholinergic Drugs
Another option that your doctor may consider if the above treatments haven’t worked for you is taking prescription medication such as anticholinergic drugs. These stop the activation of the sweat glands, but they can have some pretty serious side effects, such as difficulty urinating, dry mouth and eyes, blurred vision, and heart palpitations.
If you have severe hyperhidrosis that does not respond to any other treatment, surgery may be an option. In these procedures, doctors cut, scrape, or suction out the sweat glands.
There is also a surgery called endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS), in which the doctor makes small incisions, cutting the nerves in your armpit that usually activate the sweat glands. This procedure is very effective but is only used as a last resort as it is irreversible and can cause scarring. It can also cause the side effect of compensatory sweating, which is when your body sweats more in another area, such as the face or chest, to compensate for being unable to sweat in the armpits.
6. MiraDry System
MiraDry is an FDA-approved treatment for unwanted underarm sweat. This treatment uses a handheld device to deliver electromagnetic energy underneath the underarm skin to the sweat glands, destroying them. The effects can be seen almost immediately and your results will last long-term. Some patients only need one treatment, but it is usually recommended to do at least two or sometimes even a third to stop armpit sweat.
How to Stop Sweating Underarms Naturally
We understand that medical interventions such as injections and surgery can seem pretty intense and not always the most appealing option. If you’re interested in more natural solutions, there are a few options some swear by. It’s important to note that none of these options are backed by science, but they could be worth a try if you don’t mind experimenting a little bit to find a solution that works for you.
You probably already know that lycopene-packed tomatoes are incredibly healthy for you. Turns out, tomatoes can provide advantageous for non-nutritional uses, too! Tomato juice can help shrink your pores and reduce chronic sweat.
If you’re a fan of tomato flavor, you can start by eating a tomato-rich diet or drinking a glass of tomato juice daily. And if you’re not as much of a tomato eater, you can go straight to the source and apply tomato juice to your underarms and let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing off and continuing on with your day.
Many seem to recommend baking soda as a solution for nearly anything - but it really does work for an incredibly high number of purposes. In fact, many store-bought deodorants even contain baking soda. It works in two ways: First, baking soda naturally absorbs moisture, and second, the alkaline nature of baking soda counteracts the acids in sweat that bacteria interact with to make body odor. This makes baking soda a natural deodorant.
Use baking soda by applying a thin layer to dry underarms at night for 15 to 30 minutes before rinsing off with water. Just be careful not to leave it on for too long, as it may irritate your skin. If you’re nervous, start with a shorter time applying baking soda and increase the duration each day to help your skin adjust.
Excessive Sweating Tips
In addition to medical treatments, an important part of addressing your excessive sweating is developing habits that help you manage it and learn how to live with it in day-to-day life. These are ways for you to help stop armpit sweat today! The following tips are intended to help make excess sweating more manageable on a daily basis.
Choose Your Clothing Wisely
One of the main things you can do to really make a difference in your excessive sweating is to be deliberate about the clothing you choose to wear. Avoid wearing heavy clothes that will trap sweat. Instead, try to choose light, breathable fabrics. You can also bring extra shirts with you to change into if you’re going to be in a situation where you know you’ll sweat.
It’s also a great idea to try sweat-proof clothing, which is designed to help people with excess sweat issues manage their perspiration. The Social Citizen Social Tee is designed to be light and comfortable, keeping you fresh and dry all day, with a built-in absorbent underarm pad to stop 100% of sweat stains. The sweat pad is made with bamboo to further help with odor elimination. You may also enjoy the inner-stitching in Social Tees, showing no trace of the underarm pad to the outside world!
Use an Antibacterial Soap
For many people, one of the primary concerns associated with excessive sweating is body odor. Bad body odor is caused by the interaction of sweat with bacteria on your skin, creating an unpleasant smell. To help reduce your body odor, it’s a good idea to shower regularly with antibacterial soap. Afterward, thoroughly dry your skin before applying deodorant and antiperspirant.
Pause Before You Get Dressed
When you shower, take a moment before you get dressed for the day, especially if you live in a hot or humid climate. This will allow you to get cool and dry before you put your clothes on so you don’t start sweating right away in your clean, fresh outfit.
Shave Your Armpits
Hair can hold onto excess moisture, trapping your sweat in your underarms and creating more body odor. If you don’t already, consider shaving your armpits to reduce or eliminate body odor while making you more comfortable.
Absorb the Sweat
One of the biggest challenges of excessive underarm sweat is how it can soak and stain your clothes. To prevent sweat stains from showing on the outsides of your shirts, it’s recommended to wear absorbent underarm liners. You can buy these individually or purchase sweat-proof t-shirts like Social Citizen's Social Tee made with them built-in so you don’t have to think about how to fasten your liners to your clothes.
Watch Your Diet
Your diet can actually contribute to making you sweat even more, meaning that diet modification is a highly effective form of lifestyle change that can help reduce your excessive sweating woes.
Sweat-inducing foods can make sweat worse and are recommended to avoid include:
- Hot and spicy foods
- Processed foods
- Garlic and onions
- Food with a high fat content
- Ice cream
On the other hand, there are some foods that can actually help you manage excess sweat by calming your overactive sweat glands. These include:
- Foods with a high calcium content
- Vegetables and fruits with high water content
- Olive oil
- Sweet potatoes
Finally, it’s incredibly important to remain hydrated by drinking plenty of water so that your body can stay cool throughout the day.
If you’re a smoker, this might just be the time to quit. At least, if you want to help control your excessive sweating problem. Nicotine puts your nervous system into overdrive, raising your heart rate, increasing your body temperature, and over activating your sweat glands. Thankfully, quitting will do more than just reduce your perspiration, it will also majorly improve your health.
If you’re a nervous sweater, discovering techniques to reduce your stress and anxiety can greatly stop excessive armpit sweat. You may feel stuck in a cycle of feeling so stressed that you sweat, then so sweaty that you stress! It’s important to feel comfortable with your level of sweat and accept that everyone sweats, arming yourself with the right clothing, antiperspirants and lifestyle changes to reduce your level of sweat-related anxiety, especially before considering medical intervention. There are many techniques to help calm yourself when feeling heated, such as running your hands under cold water, deep breathing, stepping out of the sun, and slowing your body movements.
How Social Citizen’s Social Tee Can Help You
If you’re not sure you’re ready for intense medical treatments such as Botox and surgery, you might prefer to manage your excessive armpit sweat with a much friendlier, lower-cost option. Social Citizen's sweat-proof Social Tee is designed specifically with people like you in mind. It’s made of lightweight, breathable fabric to help you stay dry and cool all day. The built-in, hidden underarm pads will absorb any sweat so that it doesn’t show through. Plus, they’re made with antimicrobial bamboo to help fight body odor and keep you clean.
Best of all, the Social Tee is designed to look like a stylish, modern t-shirt so that you can easily wear it every day without tipping anybody off that you’re managing a perspiration problem. It’s comfortable and easy to integrate into your wardrobe, coming in four neutral colors and in both men’s and women’s cuts. Try it out today to see the difference a sweat-proof shirt can make.