Straightforward ways to deal with the bane of excessive sweating

Excessive sweating can be very embarrassing when you can't control it.

Sweating is a natural process – if we didn’t do it, our body wouldn’t be able to cool down its core temperature. 

But what’s not normal is excessive sweating at all times. Then, it really is the pits, when your underarms or back soak your shirt or you avoid handshaking because you dread the thought of someone clasping your slippery palm.

There are a few things you can do, however, to significantly alleviate the problem, including some  surprising methods you may not have thought of before.

Get some clinical-strength antiperspirant

This one is just common sense, but not all deodorants are made equal and you may have to spend a little extra if you want to stop excessive sweating.

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There are many antiperspirants that are dedicated to stopping sweat. For people with hyperhidrosis (the medically recognised condition of excessive sweating), aluminium chloride is the active ingredient you need to look to combat the condition.

When shopping for a good deodorant, look for products with 12 percent or higher aluminium chloride content. Most store-bought deodorants aren’t effective because they contain a low percentage of the ingredient, so you may need to visit your pharmacist or ask your doctor to recommend the right product.

Apply the antiperspirant correctly

Did you know that there are wrong and right ways to apply antiperspirant? Apparently, most people don’t do it the right way. For maximum effectiveness, your deodorant should be applied at night before going to bed. This is because the aluminium chloride in your deodorant needs time to block the sweat glands.

This is also a time that people seem to sweat less, meaning there is less chance for the blocking process to be disrupted. If you apply it just before you go out you can sweat away the product, making it less effective.

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Before applying your deodorant at night, make sure your underarms are clean and free from moisture.

Dress strategically

This is another common-sense tip. As the seasons change, so too, should our outfit choices.

Dressing in light, loose, breathable fabrics is a simple way to avoid transferring excessive sweat on to your clothing. Cotton absorbs sweat more effectively, while polyester and other manmade fibres such as rayon don’t breathe or absorb sweat, leaving you to stew in your sweat, possibly causing skin irritation.

There are some manmade fabrics, however, that are specially made to absorb sweat. They’re usually marketed as sportswear and labelled ‘moisture wicking’, so while gym gear as day wear is fashion, make the most of it and wear some comfortable, moisture-wicking legging and t-shirts.

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Beware food triggers 

Spicy and fatty foods often trigger sweating, so stick to mild foods if you suffer from excessive sweating. The body reacts to spicy foods in the same way as it does to heat, by trying to cool things down in the body, thus causing you to sweat.

Coffee and energy drinks are also triggers for excessive sweating so try to limit these in your diet. Calcium-rich foods and fruits have been known to reduce sweating, however, so you may want to replace some of those problem foods with these.

Don’t avoid exercise

Surprisingly, one of the methods that can stop excessive sweating is working up a sweat by exercising. Exercising produces endorphins, which lower stress hormones and relaxes the body.

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By putting your body at ease through exercise you have less of a chance of triggering an adrenaline response that causes your body to sweat. To maximise this effect, try and incorporate 30 minutes of exercise every day for five days a week.

Eat parsley

If the odour that can come with sweat makes you particularly worried, many people swear by eating parsley to entirely eliminate body odour (as well as bad breath and smelly feet!). Just add a handful of fresh parsley to a meal each day, or munch on a bunch from your herb garden, or make some parsley tea by steeping the parsley in boiling water. It won’t stop you sweating but it will prevent any unattractive odour.

If, however, you still find that you are sweating so much it has a negative impact on your daily life, there are other, less natural methods that could help you out. There are medications and supplements you can try – Botox and other anti-wrinkle injections, for example, are an effective treatment for some people who use the injections to paralyse the sweat glands – so see your doctor for advice.

Have you ever had trouble with excessive sweating? What do you use to stop it?