Sweating is a normal bodily function, designed to help cool the body down, but some people do suffer from excessive sweating, which is a condition known as hyperhidrosis.
Here are ten tips on how to ease the symptoms of excessive sweating:
1. Sweat in itself is not smelly, but it does encourage the growth of a bacteria that naturally occurs on your skin. This bacteria breaks down sweat and releases a fatty acid, which has an unpleasant and pungent smell. To avoid this you will need to wash at least twice a day and after exercise, and it might be helpful to use an antibacterial soap and make sure you dry yourself thoroughly before getting dressed again. Make sure you wash your clothes before you put them on again, as they will retain the smell of stale sweat for a long time, and this can also degrade the material.
2. Only wear clothes that are loose fitting and made from a natural ingredient such as cotton. Silk is also a natural product, but sweat can permanently stain this delicate fabric, so if you suffer from excessive sweating it is probably a good idea not to wear it close to your skin. Natural fabrics allow air to circulate and aid the natural evaporation of sweat from your body. Always dress appropriately to the weather, and give your body the best chance to stay cool.
3. Healthy diet and exercise – Exercise can improve your body’s overall circulation and make it easier for you to stay cool. Fat can insulate the body and make it more difficult to maintain your internal temperature; causing you to sweat more, and highly processed foods and alcohol are difficult to break down, which stresses the digestion system making it work harder and increase internal body heat. Make sure you eat a balanced healthy diet, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
4. Avoid stimulating drinks – Caffeine and energy drinks stimulate the nervous system and can trigger sweating. Try and cut out energy drinks altogether, and only drink a maximum of two cups of coffee or tea per day.
5. Drink plenty of water, about 2 litres a day, especially you sweat a lot as this will help prevent you from becoming dehydrated.
6. Relax – Anxiety can trigger sweating so consider trying out relaxation techniques such as yoga, and work on improving your self esteem so that you don’t worry or get embarrassed over unnecessary things.
7. Talcum powder – excessive sweating can cause chaffing and soreness, so after a bath or shower pat vulnerable areas with some talcum powder. This will help keep the skin smooth and dry and avoid rubbing.
8. Antiperspirants/Deodorants – Regular antiperspirants and body sprays can be very effective at reducing sweating and masking odours. You can also buy cooling sprays to mist your face with during the day. For more severe sweating you can get stronger antiperspirants containing aluminium chloride that are applied at night to dry skin, and are more effective at blocking sweat glands.
9. The herb sage has long been thought to reduce sweating, so you could try drinking sage tea twice a day, or using a sage tincture to dab on affected areas. This is a long-term treatment, and may take up to 3 to 4 weeks to show any improvements.
10. Lie down – for some reason the nerves that activate armpit sweating are greatly inhibited when we lie down. On hot days take a few minutes to lie down in a shady, cool area. You could combine this with a little relaxation time, and listen to some soothing music or simply empty your mind and let it rest for a few minutes.