How to Sweat Less

Best Expert Tips to Reduce Sweating

Sometimes, it’s good to sweat. Sweat plays an important role in the body, cooling your body's temperature as it evaporates. So without enough sweat, you could potentially suffer from heat stroke. Not cute. But that doesn't mean you want to show up to work or a dinner date looking like a hot, wet mess. So our ChickRx experts have tips for keeping your sweat at bay, whether you have a moderate or seriously aggressive amount of perspiration to get under control:

Powerful Antiperspirants & the Best Way to Apply
Deodorants only work to control odor associated with sweating, which is caused by the bacterial breakdown of sweat on your skin--yeah, so gross, we know. To reduce sweating itself, you need an antiperspirant.

- There are powerful over-the-counter (OTC) antiperspirants (which work by physically plugging sweat ducts), such as Hydrosal Pro, Certain Dri (R), and Secret Clinical Strength. These may be effective enough to help with excessive sweating. 

- Although most people typically apply antiperspirants in the morning, you should also use these products at night on clean and dry skin (this is when you are less likely to sweat, which prevents antiperspirants from absorbing into your skin). 

- Though you may not normally think to do so, you can use antiperspirants on your palms and soles (not just armpits), if you experience excessive sweating there.

- Be aware that since powerful antiperspirants are more effective because they contain high concentrations of the active ingredient, you do have a higher risk of experiencing skin irritation such as red, itchy and flaky skin. Thinner-skinned areas such as the armpits are more susceptible to irritation than the palms and soles.

- If those powerful OTC don't work, a dermatologist can prescribe even more powerful antiperspirants, such as Drysol, if needed.
Dr. Lawrence Osman, MD (Dermatologist) 

- For a sweaty face, you can try applying antiperspirant across your hairline—but first apply it to a small patch of skin to ensure it won’t cause irritation. 

- For sweaty feet, you can try spraying an aerosol antiperspirant on the bottom of your feet and in between your toes. 

- And always apply antiperspirant to fully dry skin to avoid creating irritation and stinging!

Wear Breathable Materials & Keep Cool
Opt for natural fabrics (cotton, wool, hemp, silk, linen), which have looser weaves than synthetic fabrics, which can prevent air from passing through to your skin and trigger more sweating. 

- If you’re getting dressed after a shower, blast yourself with cold water and stay under it until you feel chilly before getting out of the shower. Dry off and stay naked until your body acclimates, then get dressed. Avoid material that doesn’t breath, and if you have to use a blow dryer, use the cool setting.
Mariel Hemingway (Actress, Author, Health & Wellness Expert)

Avoid Foods that Cause Sweating
- Avoid hot drinks, which raise your body temperature and get your sweat glands pumping. 

- Avoid caffeine and spicy foods, like hot peppers, which can also cause you to sweat. 

- And, of course, drinking cold water can cool your body and help reduce sweating. Staying well hydrated also helps keep your body temperature lower, which in turn, reduces sweating.

And if all that doesn’t do the trick—here are some more serious measures you could consider taking…

Botox (botulinum toxin) works very well to temporarily decrease excessive sweating and can be injected into all commonly affected areas. 

- Botox works by paralyzing the small muscles that propel sweat along the sweat duct, and significantly reduces sweating for six to eight months. Botox is only FDA-approved for treating excessive underarm sweating (a.k.a. axillary hyperhidrosis), but is often used to treat other areas.

- Note: Adverse reactions noted during the FDA trials included possible bruising (lasting several days) and injection site pain. This procedure may be covered by insurance, but costs about $1000 to treat both underarms if it's not.
Dr. Lawrence Osman, MD (Dermatologist) 

Iontophoresis is a technique using a machine that passes an electric current through water. It's a temporary solution that may be used to treat the armpits, palms and soles when antiperspirants alone are not enough. 

- No one knows exactly how iontophoresis works, but it's thought to thicken the skin enough to block the sweat ducts. The main side effect is mild, temporary redness in the treated area.
Dr. Lawrence Osman, MD (Dermatologist) 

Surgical treatment is reserved as a last resort for hyperhidrosis, and the results may be permanent.

- Liposuction surgery can be used to physically remove the sweat glands from the underarm area (you may have watched Ramona Singer have one version of this procedure done in an old episode of The Real Housewives of New York). As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection or reaction to the anesthesia. This liposuction procedure generally costs several thousand dollars, and is not likely to be covered by insurance.

- Another type of technique is endoscopic thoracic surgery (ETS), where the nerves responsible for sweating (located deep inside the chest cavity) are cut. The risks of ETS are much higher than those of liposuction, especially if liposuction is performed using local anesthesia. One of the major drawbacks of ETS is the risk for compensatory sweating, which is when the body reacts by increasing sweating in an area not previously affected, such as the chest or back. Some studies show this may occur in as many as 80% of patients.
Dr. Lawrence Osman, MD (Dermatologist) 
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tick commented
Good written and thoroughly discussed. Also i find this one helpful.
Dr. Dani commented
I'd also add here that in my practice, I have found Relaxation Training to be very effective at reducing both body odour and sweating by down-regulating the sympathetic nervous system overdrive that many people experience due to un-buffered chronic stress. I find that guided relaxation recordings are a great way to start:)