5 Unusual Sweat-Stoppers
Stress, exercise, weather, masks, and – well – being human... No matter when, why, where, or how much we sweat, there’s one thing most of us have in common – a desire to sweat less (or at least less noticeably).
To help, we’ve got five surprising sweat-busting tricks to consider, plus tried-and-true sweat-recommendations no one should overlook.
1. Acupuncture: According to the British Medical Journal (BMJ), acupuncture can help women going through menopause find relief from day and night sweats, general sweating and sleep disturbances. Results were seen after just 15 minutes of acupuncture per week for 3 to 6 weeks. While the BMJ study focused on menopausal women, research in the journal Autonomic Neuroscience suggests acupuncture can ease stress-induced sweating in others as well.
2. Tattoos: A surprising perk of getting ink is that many people experience a dramatic drop in sweating at the location of their skin art. In a small study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers found that tattooed skin produced about half as much sweat as non-tattooed skin. Not practical for daily sweat-relief for most people (and certainly not for hyperhidrosis sufferers who experience palmar, plantar, facial, or multiple body area sweating), but interesting, nonetheless. Theories as to why tattoos can lead to site-specific sweat reduction relate to today’s third unexpected sweat-stopper, below. (By the way, if you’re considering a tattoo for any reason, please talk to a dermatologist first and consider these important risks and precautions.)
3. Hair removal: From shaving to lasers, it turns out that hair removal can help skin to feel drier. Sweat tends to occur with more volume and odor, and to stick around longer, wherever there’s hair. Shaving can help sweat to dry faster and makes it easier to apply antiperspirants. Laser hair removal can zap sweat glands along with targeted hair follicles. Similarly, the thermal energy system called miraDry® destroys both sweat glands and hair follicles in the underarms, zapping sweat, odor and hair.
4. Bedtime rituals: Ok, so this one may not be so surprising to those of you who’ve been following us for a while, but it still bears repeating. Over time, antiperspirants have gotten wrapped up into morning routines. But, to have their greatest sweat-stopping impact, it’s WAY better to use antiperspirants before bed. At bedtime people are typically sweating the least, which gives an antiperspirant’s active ingredients time overnight to form superficial plugs in your sweat ducts. These plugs are then ready to block sweating once it starts again in the morning. If an antiperspirant is applied to already-sweating, a.m. skin, sweat just washes away the product before it can start to work. Applying antiperspirants to damp or wet skin can also lead to irritation or itching. And, yes, antiperspirants can slow sweating on other body areas, too. Just test your product on a small spot first to make sure it doesn’t cause irritation–especially on sensitive parts. As always, talk to a doctor or dermatologist about any concerns.
5. Diet: Sorry caffeine addicts, your habits are not helping your quest for dryness. Same goes for spicy foods. Caffeine (no matter if it’s served hot or cold) and spices can activate the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which plays a key role in stimulating sweating. Try adjusting your intake and monitor your sweating to see if it makes a difference. Note that some treatments for hyperhidrosis interrupt acetylcholine to help reduce excessive sweating. These include Botox® injections, oral anticholinergic medications like Robinul, and topical wipes like Qbrexza®.
Hyperhidrosis sufferers, of course, likely need more relief (and more realistic relief) than full-body tattooing and going completely hairless. To find it, remember these top go-to tips:
- DO apply antiperspirants before sleep to totally dry skin. Consider clinical strength, prescription, and other antiperspirants (not just “deodorants”, which only control odor). The International Hyperhidrosis Society has an overview of options and coupon codes for you.
- DO talk to a sweat-smart healthcare provider about clinically-validated medical treatments for unwanted sweating, including prescription antiperspirants, iontophoresis, prescription underarm wipes like Qbrexza®, Botox® injections, miraDry®, other in-office procedures, and oral medications, or combinations of these. Access a registry of healthcare providers providing hyperhidrosis and other sweat-care here.
- DO wear breathable, loose, flowing clothing in styles and fabrics that encourage airflow and moisture-wicking. Cotton, linen and athletic gear are all good options as well as lace and crochet. Choose patterns and colors that discourage visible sweat “stains” but still make you happy.
- DO talk to your healthcare provider about any medications you’re taking. Some meds can cause excessive sweating as a side effect. In a discussion with your provider, you might discover different medications to achieve the same goals or that a different dose can help. Of course, DON’T stop taking any prescriptions or change dosage amounts without discussing them with your provider, first.
- DO discover whether sweat can spread COVID-19, how to deal with sex and sweat, what to do if you sweat blood or colors, how to get your sweat treatments covered by insurance, and much more throughout this website.
Stay healthy, safe and kind out there. And, when you find that perfect easy, breezy, drying, wicking, or cooling outfit – please send us an (appropriate) picture. We’re into hyperhidrosis style! (Tattoo pictures are welcome, too, just don’t ‘cc Grandma or our dermatologist friends.)