How to Reduce Sweating
Are you wondering how to stop sweating? Sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis, can happen at the worst times, especially if you have social anxiety.
Whether you sweat from your underarms, face, hands, or feet, you probably feel embarrassed and ashamed, and just wish it would stop.
While sweating is a normal function of the body to help you cool down, it can also be excessive and unwanted.
The good news is that most cases of sweating can be treated using one or more methods. Below I outline some of the treatments you might consider.
But first, let’s talk briefly about what might be causing your sweating, what you already do to try and hide it, and how that is likely affecting your life.
So, there is no one single cause of problematic sweating.
For some people, it might be a side effect of medication (e.g., antidepressants or cough medicine), reaction to hormones, or related to rosacea (a skin condition).
It can also be caused by health problems like low blood sugar or thyroid issues.
Finally, profuse sweating is sometimes a sign of having an anxiety disorder like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or social anxiety disorder (SAD).
If you only seem to break out in a sweat around other people, then it’s possible that your sweating is related to social anxiety.
Sweating of this type is made worse when you fear being negatively judged by other people and feel shame about sweating.
It’s important to see a doctor and have them rule out medical causes of sweating. If your sweating is caused by a medication you are taking or a health condition, then addressing the underlying cause will be the best first step.
When you think about how sweating affects your life, are there things that you do or don’t do because of your fear of other people seeing you sweat?
They might be things like the following:
- covering your face with your hair
- carrying a cloth to wipe your sweat
- always needing to have a cold drink
- wearing clothes that don’t tend to show sweat as much
- overusing anti-perspirants
- avoiding clothing that makes you sweat (e.g., polyester)
- keeping the air conditioning at a very cold setting
- wearing clothing that isn’t appropriate for the temperature (e.g., not wearing a jacket in winter)
- avoiding shaking hands with people
While it’s true that some of these things might seem like obvious solutions, they are really just masking the problem.
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And, the more you try to control and hide your sweating, the more you may end up actually sweating.
Sweating is kind of like blushing this way—the more you try to avoid it, the more it may end up happening.
So, those were the things you might be doing to try and hide your sweating. What about the actual effects that sweating has on your life?
Here are some things you might be feeling…
- distress about others seeing you sweat
- makeup running down your face
- embarrassment when you shake with sweaty hands
- sweat stains on your clothing
- worrying people will think there is something wrong with you (e.g., you are sick, lying, nervous)
- restricting your life because of your sweating
Clearly, there are a lot of negative things about sweating. So, it really is okay to want it to stop! There are things that can be done if you have a problem with excessive sweating.
Let’s take a look at how to stop sweating below.
Antiperspirants are usually the first line of defense against unwanted sweating. However, they tend to work better for mild problems.
Antiperspirants work by blocking your sweat ducts, which reduces the amount that you sweat.
And yes, you can use them anywhere: underarms, feet, hands, and face.
If you’re looking for an antiperspirant for excessive sweating, it’s best to use one that contains aluminum chloride.
Below are some options:
- SweatBlock Clinical Strength Antiperspirant Wipes
- Certain Dri Prescription Strength Clinical Antiperspirant
- Secret Antiperspirant Clinical Strength Deodorant for Women
If your sweating seems to be related to hormones, you may want to consider a natural treatment such as sage. Below is an option to consider.
Creams, Lotions, & Sprays
In addition to antiperspirant and natural treatments, there are various creams, lotions, and sprays that you may want to consider.
Most creams use glycopyrrolate which helps to block the nerve impulses that cause sweating.
These tend to be best for the hands, feet, and face.
- Carpe Antiperspirant Hand Lotion, A dermatologist-recommended, non-irritating, smooth lotion that helps stops hand sweat
- Carpe Antiperspirant Foot Lotion, A dermatologist-recommended solution to stop sweaty, smelly feet
- Carpe Sweat Absorbing Face – Helps Keep Your Face, Forehead, and Scalp Dry
Medication can also be used to relieve excessive sweating.
If you are interested in trying medication to reduce your sweating, it’s best to consult with your doctor.
Medications that may help with sweating include beta blockers, antidepressants, and anticholinergics.
However, these medications can have side effects such as fatigue, dry mouth, and blurred vision.
For this reason, it is important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of taking medication to relieve sweating.
You’ve heard of Botox to remove the wrinkles from your face, but did you know that it can help with sweating too?
Botox is best used for excessive underarm sweating (although it can be used for face, feet, scalp, hands, etc.). One treatment can last up to six months and works by blocking the nerves and chemicals that tell your body to sweat.
Iontophoresis is a localized procedure that uses electricity to block the sweat glands.
It takes 10 to 20 minutes per area and must be repeated regularly (e.g., every two weeks).
The success rate tends to be very high (up to 80%) and it is considered safe with minimal risk of side effects.
If you are interested in iontophoresis, it is best to speak to your doctor.
In cases of severe sweating, surgery may be an option. A procedure known as endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) can be used to cut the nerves behind the chest wall.
This is a procedure also sometimes used if you have severe blushing. However, it is a last resort, as it can involve unwanted side effects such as compensatory sweating in up to 50% of people.
The procedure does have a high success rate at around 80 to 90 percent and is best used for cases of upper body sweating such as face, scalp, etc. It would not be used for sweating of your hands or feet.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Finally, if you are interested in learning about how your mind influences your sweating, you may want to consider therapy such as CBT.
CBT helps you to decrease your negative thoughts related to your sweating and address emotional triggers that make your sweating worse.
It can also be used alongside any of the methods mentioned above, as a complementary treatment.
Through CBT, you would learn how to challenge your thoughts about what others think about your sweating.
For example… you might learn…
- other people don’t notice it as much as you think they do
- it feels worse than it looks
- people might think positive things such as that you are excited
Through CBT, the goal is to reduce your social anxiety about sweating and to focus outward rather than on yourself.
When you are able to overcome your shame and embarrassment about sweating, two things will happen.
- First, you might actually sweat less (if your sweating is related to social anxiety)
- Second, you won’t care as much even if you do sweat a lot
One way this can happen in therapy is to watch a replay of a video taken of you in a situation when you were sweating. The idea being that you will see your sweating is not as noticeable as you think.
Another option is to confront a situation in which you have a fear of sweating, and to actually try to draw attention to your sweating.
You might find out that people are not as judgmental as you assume they will be.
Other CBT tricks include learning to focus outward and learning how to relax, which can help to reduce anxiety about sweating.
If you are interested in therapy but don’t know where to start, I personally recommend Betterhelp online therapy. Readers of About Social Anxiety receive 20% off their first month when signing up through this link.
And if wanting to learn how to stop sweating is just part of a larger social anxiety problem for you, be sure to sign up for our free resource library at the top or bottom of this page.
If you aren’t quite ready for therapy, but are still interested in changing how you think about your sweating, you might be interested in hypnotherapy.
While you could visit a hypnotherapist in person, there’s also the option of trying out a pre-recorded hypnotherapy audio track.
I recommend this instant download from Rachel Eccles on Etsy if you’d like to try hypnotherapy for excessive sweating.
Do you have any thoughts on how to stop sweating or have you tried any of these methods? Feel free to share in the comments below.
RELATED ARTICLES ABOUT SOCIAL ANXIETY SYMPTOMS
- How to Stop Blushing
- 8 Ways to Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
- Learn about the Four Types of Social Anxiety