Cut down on sweat.
We all sweat, but some of us really sweat. Stress, anxiety, medication, and conditions like diabetes, menopause, and thyroid disorders can trigger glands to pump out excess moisture. There’s also a condition called hyperhidrosis, in which nerves that control sweat glands become overactive. Whatever the cause, sweating can take a toll. “The real burden is psychological, emotional, and social,” says Malcolm Brock, M.D., professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Center for Sweat Disorders. “People can become distraught and often suffer in silence.” If this sounds like you, don’t sweat it—these solutions may help.
PREVENT IT LIMIT CAFFEINE
Studies suggest that drinking a cup or two of a caffeinated beverage before being active can make people sweat more easily and heavily. “Caffeine excites the nervous system, so try to minimize your intake if sweating is an issue for you,” says Alisha Plotner, M.D., a dermatologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
TRY SAGE TEA
Sage has been found to reduce hot flash intensity, and preliminary research suggests that drinking it in tea form may reduce hyperhidrosis symptoms. “Studies are limited, but patients have told me it helps,” Dr. Brock says. The American Botanical Council recommends up to 3 grams of dried sage, steeped in 2/3 cup boiling water, three times a day. If it’s hot out, fine to drink it iced!
Managing stress and anxiety won’t resolve a sweat-inducing medical condition, but it can forestall sweating triggered by emotional reactions. “A cognitive behavioral therapist can help you change negative thinking patterns so you’re less
likely to become anxious, and yoga or meditation can also promote calm,” Dr. Plotner says.
TREAT IT FIND A STRONGER SWIPE
Instead of a deodorant, choose an antiperspirant: Deodorants mask sweaty smells, while antiperspirants block sweat glands to reduce perspiration in the first place. If that’s not doing the trick, your doc can prescribe one (Drysol, Xerac
AC) that contains a more potent form of aluminum chloride, the ingredient that temporarily plugs glands.
CONSIDER A NEW RX
In 2018, the FDA approved a topical underarm medication (Qbrexza) that blocks nerve signals that turn on sweat glands. Another option is twice-yearly injections of botulinum toxin-A (Botox) in the hands and feet to control sweating in those areas. If you tend to sweat in multiple areas of the body, talk to your doctor about oral meds that may help.
ZAP THE GLANDS
If neither antiperspirants nor medications help, you might be able to destroy the source of the sweat. With the FDA-approved treatment MiraDry, a doctor uses a handheld device to dissolve underarm sweat glands with electromagnetic energy. You may need two sessions, three months apart, but the glands won’t regrow and your body won’t compensate by sweating more elsewhere.