How to Sweat Less (and what to do about sweaty armpits so you can wear what you want)
So you wanna know how to sweat less?
Whether they admit it or not, most people know exactly how embarrassing and inconvenient excess sweat can be.
Excess sweat can be due to hot weather, increased body temperature, spicy foods, anxiety, hormones or even a medical condition. In addition to the uncomfortable feeling due to excess sweat, heavy sweating also ruins clothes, drains our confidence and has many other side effects that can negatively affect our daily lives.
In fact, most excess sweating causes embarrassment resulting in more anxiety which in turn produces more sweat, more body odor and more sweat marks while decreasing overall confidence. In a recent study, high school students who suffer from excessive sweating said ALL aspects (physical, functional, social, emotional, and financial) of their lives were affected by the problems created by heavy sweating.
So what's a guy or girl to do to reduce sweating? After struggling for years to find a way to sweat less, I finally came up with a solution that worked where other treatments that promised to reduce sweat had failed. But before I talk about my solution to help tame the side effects overactive sweat ducts, let's understand the problem better. I also take a look at the traditional tips and treatments that have promised to:
1)help reduce sweating
2)help reduce the appearance of sweat marks
3)absorb sweat and odor that are symptoms of excessive sweat.
How to stop underarm sweating?
Before we get to the answer, it is helpful to know why our bodies sweat in the first place and to understand the purpose of sweat glands and sweat in general.
One often overlooked fact is that our skin is the largest organ in our body. This makes sweating one way that we release toxins from our bodies.
Sweat also helps to regulate our body temperature by cooling our bodies when they get overheated. Given that sweating is actually an important part of our health and wellness, trying to stop sweating altogether is not the ideal approach to dealing with the problem of heavy sweating. I believe the best approach lies in managing heavy sweating. I believe that the ideal solution is to help those who sweat excessively through treatments that can help sufferers sweat less. But treating the side effects of heavy sweating is an important part of the solution as well. After all, it is the side effects of heavy sweating, such as struggling to keep your clothes dry, trying to prevent sweat marks and stopping sweat and odor from being absorbed into your clothes, that cause sufferers the most anguish and embarassment. The best solution lies in restoring your confidence while allowing your body to function as it should.
And that includes more than simply recommending you wear breathable fabrics or loose dark clothing year round. While breathable fabrics certainly can help keep your body temperature cooler than non-breathable fabrics, they still absorb sweat which was the problem I was looking to eliminate. I got tired of hearing that as the only "solution" too.
But it's also true that sweating is often embarrassing and inconvenient. Whether it's heavy sweating in the underarms (or other sweat prone areas) or simply a light sheen on your brow, sweat can often ruin a perfectly good outfit or leave you feeling uncomfortable in social situations. And this is why, whether you sweat a lot or a little, this is a problem felt by everyone.
What Sweat says about your health and wellness
1)Sweat is an indicator of good fitness levels
Many people don't realize that sweating is actually a very healthy process.
Sweating is often seen as an unpleasant side effect of physical activity, but it actually serves a number of important functions. When we sweat, our bodies are able to release toxins and regulate our body temperature.
Sweating can be a sign of good fitness levels. People who have a low fitness level may not sweat as much during exercise because their bodies are not efficient at regulating body temperature.
2)Sweat can indicate healthy circulation and healthy skin
Additionally, sweating can help to improve our circulation and promote healthy skin. In fact, some dermatologists even recommend that people with acne include sweating in their skincare routine as a way to unclog pores. (Sauna here we come!)
And even though we all know that heavy sweating is especially embarrassing, there are remedies out there to prevent this issue.
Don't sweat it!
So next time you start to feel overwhelmed by the heat, remember that sweating is natural and is an indicator that our bodies are functioning the way they are supposed to function. Sweat is nature's way of helping you stay cool, both inside and out.
Why do I sweat so easily?
When sweating isn't normal
Sometimes excessive sweating can be more than a reaction to a hot day. Excessive sweating may be a sign of an underlying health condition including diabetes, hyperthyroidism, infections, and lymphomas. Excessive sweating is also associated with drinking, drug abuse, withdrawals and some drugs including antidepressants.
Heavy sweating is a sign of a condition called hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis can occur anywhere on the body such as having sweaty feet or sweaty palms.
There are two kinds of hyperhidrosis, primary hyperhidrosis and secondary hyperhidrosis.
Primary hyperhidrosis, technically referred to as Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis, usually begins in childhood or adolescence and it characterized by excessive sweating in one (focal) area such as excessive armpit sweat. This kind of excessive sweating is not due to another medical condition or medications.
Secondary hyperhidrosis, technically referred to as Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis, usually begins in adulthood and affects much larger areas of the body. It can also occur while sleeping and is due to another medical condition or other medications. An example of this is night sweats suffered by women going through menopause.
If you suffer from overactive sweat ducts and struggle with excess sweat, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor about possible medical treatments and get medical advice on the best path forward.
"But heavy sweating makes it impossible to keep clothes dry."
Excess sweat on the underarms is referred to as axillary hyperhidrosis.
If the way in which you dress is affected by heavy sweating, then you likely suffer from this problem and you have already been looking for ways to sweat less.
-Avoid silk, linen and other breathable fabrics for fear they will absorb sweat and result in embarassing sweat marks?
-Choose the colors you wear to hide the problem of excess sweat?
-Wear suit jackets or layers, even in hot weather, for fear of embarassing stains?
And while choosing colors and designs that camoflouge the problem can be considered one of many home remedies for heavy sweating, we at Elizabeth Reagan believe there are better solutions to reduce sweat.
Solutions that, as I like to say, allow me to have dress and wear it too.
Deodorants don't block armpit sweat glands
Another common misconception is that deodorants help you stop sweating.
Deodorants do not help with excessive armpit sweat but only help with odor.
It is actually an anti-perspirant that is the product that claims to stop sweating for users. This is a common misunderstanding as most deodorants also contain anti-perspirants.
But even those products that are both a deodorant and an anti-perspirant are usually referred to as deodorant for short. So be sure to check the label because not all deodorants contain anti-perspirant ingredients.
How do I stop sweating so much under my armpits?
So now we know that we need to find an antiperspirants to control excessive underarm sweating.
The most effective anti-perspirants contain high levels of aluminum chloride that bind with and block sweat glands. While this seems like a perfect answer to overactive sweat ducts, it can backfire.
After all, sweat is one way the body detoxifies itself and this function is important for optimal health.
When the sweat ducts in the underarm area are blocked, the body usually re-routes the sweat to be discharged at another location on your body. This is known as compensatory sweating. And many users have found that the location where sweat is often redirected is to the user's back.
Great, so now you've just traded sweaty armpits for a sweaty back.
High concentrations of aluminum chloride also cause many users to experience extreme discomfort in the underarm area such as intense itching and burning. And I do mean intense. I have used these products and felt like a monkey from needing to scratch my underarms so much. Not my best moment for sure, but I am nothing if not honest. :) Some users even break out in rashes in their underarms. This happened to me too. Are you starting to see why I had to come up with a solution?
Is there any way to sweat less?
Even though antiperspirants have limited success in treatment of axillary hyperhidrosis (i.e. sweaty armpits), there are several products on the market aimed at helping to alleviate this issue.
One of these products that claim to help you sweat less includes fabrics that claim to help regulate body temperature.
I personally have never had success with these products but they may work for some individuals out there.
If you know my story and the reason for launching this brand, you know this idea was born while I was a student at Clemson University where tailgating on weekends was non-negotiable. So I know for myself, that one of my primary concerns was being in an environment that would make you sweat, i.e. the aforementioned all-day tailgate in September in SC.
There is no getting around this one... being outside for hours in 90+degree heat is going to make every sweat gland you have work overtime.
Solutions for excessive underarm sweating
Where there is a will, there is a way. And many products offer solutions to treat "the sweat issue" for those who suffer with hyperhidrosis. But our favorite solution is the one I came up with after having suffered from this issue for many years...
Sweat-proof clothes by Elizabeth Reagan!
I have just launched my new line of women's apparel that uses my patent-pending liner in tops and dresses to block sweat and body odor from being absorbed into the outer garment. Translation: No sweat stains or stinky clothes.
Not only that, since the liners are a part of the garment, there's no need for an extra layer of clothing that only increases body temperature which in turn increases sweating.
Plus, having liners that are a part of the garment also provide protection in clothes that cannot be worn with undershirts, such as sleeveless designs or designs that have deep necklines.
With extra-protective shields that act as a barrier in the underarms plus an ultra-lightweight liner for the rest of the garment, my liners provide overall protection.
This means no more breakthrough sweat on your torso or back.
And ladies, I have to say it, we all know boob sweat can sneak through sometimes. While I don't have bras available (yet), you can rest easy knowing that our liners will block any breakthrough boob sweat from showing.
Plus, our built-in liners aren't visible from the outside of the garment. No one will know that you are wearing sweat protection. After all, the idea is to keep the problem under wraps, not announce it to the world.
And it gets even better, my liners keep your clothes from sticking to you!
Hydrophobic, breathable fabric vaporizes any wetness before it reaches the shell to keep your clothes dry, comfortable, and fitting the way they should.
These clothes flow easily and are not rigid, bulky or stiff.
Go ahead, pinch yourself, you're not dreaming. (And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter so you know the minute we launch the new pieces we have in development! The best is yet to come!)
Other Treatments for Excessive Sweat
But there are other treatments on the market that also claim to help with the issue of excessive underarm sweat. I have included some links that explain the most popular treatments. Just click on the treatment name to get more information.
Here is another quick read on using Botox to reducing sweating. It states for some people it does not eliminate sweating altogether (which I think is actually a good things as previously explained) and also covers the cost, which can be prohibitive for some.
This is removal of the under arm sweat glands. As discussed previously, in most cases blocking or removing sweat glands only creates a sweating problem in another area of the body also known as compensatory sweating. I have heard first hand accounts of this plus there are some testimonials that echo this experience. Here is one account I found on the International Hyperhidrosis Society website:
ETS Surgery Pain
"I had endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS surgery) performed in 2007 for palmar hyperhidrosis. I have compensatory and gustatory sweating, which I expected, but about a year ago, I developed severe pain in my abdomen under the ribs along the same level as where the operation was performed. I've gone through intensive medical studies and everything has checked out as normal. I believe the surgery caused it. Nothing else explains the pain."
3)Prescription antiperspirant deodorant
6)Oral medication (prescription)
7)Qbrexza - Prescription Cloths/Wipes
But as previously noted, for most people these treatments simply lead to compensatory sweating which means that while the treatment may have reduced excessive underarm sweat, the user now experiences excessive sweat in another area of their body such as the torso or back. Since sweating is vital to our well being, the body simply reacts to these products by finding another exit for the sweat.
OTC Anti-perspirants for underarms, hands and feet
These products were listed as some of the Fan Faves at International Hyperhidrosis Society page so they've already been vetted! For anyone who suffers from sweaty feet or sweaty palms, these products may be just what you are looking for! You can check out the whole list here.
3)Sweat Block Anti-Perspirant
1) Glycolic acid.
This is something new I have recently heard about, from a TikTok no less. Let me be clear, this product is NOT sold as a product that can help with underarm sweating but like I said, I heard about the treatment from a TikTok video. The comments were filled with mostly raving reviews but there were a couple of people who said it didn't work. I had to try it for myself but haven't been doing it long enough to feel like I can confidently say if it works. But so far it has reduced the sweating but not eliminated it entirely (which is exactly what I prefer since I don't wish to stop the sweating altogether). Since it has not eliminated the problem entirely, there is still the possibility of some breakthrough sweating.
But the treatment is simple, you simply dab glycolic acid onto a cotton ball and dab under both arms each morning in place of deodorant/anti-perspirant and it is supposed to stop sweat and odor. You can find a bottle of glycolic acid for about $10. (The Ordinary Glycolic Acid )
It's not just underarm sweat, excessive sweating can happen anywhere on the body
But excessive sweat doesn't only happen in the underarms. Many people struggle with hyperhidrosis in their hands, feet and other areas of the body and we wanted to share some resources for those who struggle with this issue. The International Hyperhidrosis Society lists these treatments as treatments for hyperhidrosis in areas outside of the underarms.
Treatments for hands, feet, other areas
This consists of using a medical device that passes a mild electrical current through water (usually using shallow pans for hands or feet or specific pads for other body areas) and through the skin's surface.
Topical OTC Treatments
As previously noted, these products were listed as some of the Fan Faves at International Hyperhidrosis Society page so they've already been vetted! You can check out the whole list here.
Sweat Block Anti-Perspirant
Summer Soles Shoe Insoles
- For those who suffer from excessive sweat on their feet, these insoles have helped to alleviate some of the discomfort associated with this problem.
Home remedies for sweat stains
But what to do with the clothes you already have that are stained? If you search for this solution, you will find there are many people who are asking the same question! No worries, don't throw them out yet! Try these tips to help remove the yellow stains that are a result of excessive underarm sweat.
1)Soak the garment in equal parts cold water and distilled white vinegar for about an hour.
2) Wash as usual.
Paste- stubborn stains for whites
1) Mix 1TBSP hydrogen peroxide, 1TBSP salt, and 1/2 cup baking soda together.
2) Using a toothbrush, apply the paste directly to the sweat stain.
3) Let it sit for at least an hour.
4)Wash as usual.
Paste-stubborn stains for colors
1) Mix 1 TBSP cold water, 1 TBSP salt and 1/2 cup baking soda together.
2)Using a toothbrush, apply the paste directly to the sweat stain.
3)Let it sit for at least an hour, then wash as usual.
Soap- stains for whites
1) Mix one part Dawn dish detergent with 2 parts hydrogen peroxide.
2)Soak for a few minutes, then firmly scrub the solution into the stain.
3)Let it sit for at least an hour.
4)Wash as usual.
Other tips for stain removal
Here are a few other tips to help get those pesky yellow sweat stains out of your clothes.
1) If possible, catch the stain before it dries and soak in a mixture (or apply paste) while the stain is still wet.
2) Put the bleach down. As much as it SEEMS like bleach would help here, it won't. It will just end up making things worse.
3) Do not use with silk garments or dry-clean only clothing.
Resources for those suffering from hyperhidrosis
International Hyperhidrosis Society-
Center for Hyperhidrosis
Try Elizabeth Reagan Risk Free!
If you have ever been embarassed by sweat marks and can't find a solution, then I invite you to try Elizabeth Reagan "No-Sweat Style" risk free today!