Excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis, is a medical condition that affects approximately 1-3% of the population. While sweating is a normal mechanism for the body to release toxins and regulate temperature, some people sweat excessively and this diminishes their quality of life. People with hyperhidrosis describe having to carry extra changes of clothing everywhere they go, having to avoid shaking hands with people, and missing out on social gatherings due to embarrassment and self-consciousness about their condition. In romantic relationships it affects self confidence, and can lead to reduced intimacy. In a work context it can even make paperwork difficult due to sweaty hands soaking pen and paper. All of these symptoms make people nervous and frustrated as it interferes with daily living. People with excessive sweating may have some of the following symptoms:
- Constantly wet palms of hands and soles of feet
- Visible sweating that soaks through clothing
- Discoloration of the skin in affected areas
- Body odour
- Scaling, cracking and maceration of the skin
The good news is that if traditional methods of controlling sweating, such as over-the-counter or even prescription deodorants, are not working, there are a range of other natural and medical remedies that have proven beneficial for many sufferers. Let’s take a look at the top 10 remedies for excessive sweating now.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar can assist in balancing the pH level of the body particularly armpits and feet, and this in turn reduces sweating. There are a few different ways that one can use ACV to eliminate problem sweating. If you suffer from focal hyperhidrosis (which means that the excessive sweating is limited to a particular part of the body e.g. hands) then you can simply apply ACV to the affected area before you go to sleep. For sweaty feet you can soak your soles in a solution made from half a cup of ACV combined with a litre of cold water. Soaking for approximately 15 minutes will reduce perspiration. If the problem is more generalised, then you are better to consume apple cider vinegar by mouth. Simply add 1-2 tablespoons to a glass of water with two teaspoons of honey (to sweeten) and consume on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
2. Sage Tea
Sage tea is naturally rich in magnesium, tannic acid and Vitamin B, and these chemicals reduce the activity of sweat glands and restrict the growth of bacteria that contribute to sweat production. This makes sage tea a great remedy for problem sweating. You can make your own sage tea by boiling sage leaves in water. Once boiled wait for the water to cool then drink immediately.
3. Wheatgrass Juice and Tomato Juice
One glass of wheatgrass or tomato juice per day can help neutralise acids in the body reducing excessive sweating. Tomato juice also helps to control body odour. Some people with excessive sweating have even bathed in tomato juice to rid them of the smell of perspiration.
4. Coconut Oil
In recent years, coconut oil has been discovered as a natural deodorant because it is antibacterial, hydrates the skin and is anti-inflammatory. To make your own coconut oil deodorant you will need:
- 3 teaspoons of coconut oil
- 3 teaspoons of baking soda
- 2 teaspoons of shea butter
Heat some water in a pot on the stove, then place coconut oil and shea butter in clean aluminium food can and place into boiling water in pot. Leave the can/jar in the water until the coconut oil and shea butter have melted. Remove from heat and add baking soda. For a fresh smelling deodorant you can even add a few drops of your favourite essential oil. Once mixture is cool store in a jar. Always remember to apply a skin test before using coconut oil to check for allergies.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is high in natural astringents which fight perspiration. Applying a thin layer of tea tree oil to affected areas can resolve excessive sweating for some people within just a few days of regular use.
This ancient technique has shown effectiveness in combatting excessive sweating as it balances out energy amongst the body and relaxes the hypothalamus which leads to sweat reduction. Studies have shown that overactive sweat glands are often a result of nervous system and this is why acupuncture is effective. Also, depression and anxiety are often contributing factors to excessive sweating, and acupuncture is a method of calming relaxation which can soothe the fight or flight response which causes anxiety.
7. Avoid Highly Processed & Spicy Foods, Sugar, Dairy and Caffeine
Like many modern ailments, excessive sweating can be resolved with dietary changes. High fructose corn syrup, a form of sugar, that is prevalent in most packaged process foods aggravates sweating and causes the body to sweat more frequently. The same goes for spicy foods and caffeine. Dr Ben Kim of drbenkim.com also describes on his website how he cured a young woman of excessive sweating by having her eliminate all forms of dairy in her diet. That old age you are what you eat certainly proves true here. If that doesn’t convince you, consider this: 90% of all hyperhidrosis sufferers are significantly overweight, and often just losing 10% of your body weight is enough to keep symptoms under control. Eating the right foods such as whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables and lean sources of protein will not only help you lose weight, but also increase your complex B vitamins which helps improve the breakdown of toxins and waste within the body, which will also reduce sweating.
8. Witch Hazel
Witch Hazel is an herb derived from the leaves and bark of a plant native to North America. It has been used as a remedy for many conditions including swelling, sores and bruises. Witch Hazel is particularly effective for facial sweating, which is why it is often used in aftershave lotions. Like tea tree oil it is also a natural astringent, and like sage it is also a rich source of tannic acid. To use witch hazel for sweating, apply witch hazel extract or cold witch hazel tea to a cotton pad and apply this to the face. Repeat morning and night.
If herbal supplements and tinctures are not your thing, you might consider botulinum toxin (aka anti wrinkle injections) treatment. Injections not only prevent wrinkles but can also turn off sweat glands in the underarms for months at a time. Antiwrinkle injections is considered 90% more effective than common hyperhidrosis medication or prescription antiperspirants. However the downside of this treatment is that the injections can cause discomfort at first, and it is quite an expensive remedy with injections commonly costing between $500-1000.
10. If nothing else has worked then you may need one of the most advanced treatments for hyperhidrosis known as Iontophoresis. This is a treatment that can only be accessed through a doctor. It involves soaking the hands and feet in a basin of water and passing an electric current through that water. It sounds dangerous but is very safe and effective at reducing symptoms. However it does often require frequent treatments to sustain the absence of symptoms.
I hope that these suggestions have given you plenty of options to consider in controlling sweating. One final bonus tip worth noting is that shaving armpits and wearing loose fitting natural fibre clothing (as opposed to synthetics) also allow the skin to breathe better which may alleviate excessive sweating also.
Please remember before conducting any treatment to seek medical advice as for some people there may be undiagnosed medical issues underlying hyperhidrosis such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, heart disease or hormone imbalances. Talk to your GP if your symptoms fail to improve.
Now – over to you… What remedies have you tried for excessive sweating, and how did they help? Share your tips and techniques in the comments and let’s learn from each other.