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Can Wine Make You Sweat?
Written by Katie Crissman
February 21 2021

Did you know that drinking alcohol can make you sweat? It’s a real buzz kill.

Yep, drinking causes most people to sweat more than their baseline level to varying degrees.

For some, the effect is negligible, but for others it’s a problem.

If you have hyperhidrosis - a common condition that causes your body to sweat excessively - anything that causes sweating to worsen can be an issue. Hyperhidrosis affects as many as 3% of people so it’s very common.[1]

If you experience excessive sweating when you drink here’s why it happens, and most importantly, what you can do about it.

Why Does Alcohol Make You Sweat?

Alcohol affects many organs in the body, but its biggest impact is on the brain.

This accounts for the changes in behavior and the physiological side effects people experience when they drink.

Alcohol is a known sedative and a mild anesthetic. This means that alcohol can alter how the brain regulates certain physiological functions. Due to this people experience flushing, sweating, tachycardia (increased pulse) and increases in blood pressure when they drink.[2] 

THE HYPOTHALAMUS

One particular area of your brain that alcohol interferes with is called the hypothalamus.

The hypothalamus controls automatic bodily functions like temperature regulation and breathing.[2] This is important to know because people sweat in order to control their body temperature.[1]

So, when alcohol changes how the hypothalamus functions it can inadvertently tell the body to produce extra sweat. 

Interestingly, it’s thought that hyperhidrosis may be caused by a dysfunction of the sympathetic nervous system - which also happens to be controlled by the hypothalamus.

So, excessive sweating is a symptom of both drinking alcohol and hyperhidrosis.[1] Incidentally, drinking caffeine may also lead to excessive sweating due to a similar effect on the brain.

How to Stay Dry When Drinking

The bad news is that you can’t stop alcohol from tricking your brain into sweating more, but you can minimize its impact.

Here are some practical tips to help you stay dry when drinking:

    1. Drink less. This one is common sense - the less you drink the less intense your sweating will be. 
    2. Invest in armpit pads. If your armpits sweat excessively you can buy absorbent armpit pads that can keep any shirt clean and dry. The pads conveniently stick onto the interior of any shirt.
    3. Wear antiperspirant. Antiperspirant causes your body to produce less sweat so this is an important tip! Try applying an antiperspirant like Carpe antiperspirant lotion before going out. Carpe makes antiperspirant for  the underarms, hands, feet and other body parts that sweat - so whatever your problem area happens to be they can help you sweat less. Carpe even has convenient on-the-go packets (individual wipes) you can stash in your pocket or bag!
    4. Dress the part. The best clothes to prevent excessive sweating allow for air flow and comfort when possible. You can also opt for colors and patterns that conceal sweat and make it harder to detect. 
    5. Find your inner calm. Anxiety and excessive sweating can make each other worse, so try to stay calm. Sometimes, this is easier said than done, so just do your best. Try to put yourself in situations where you feel in control and have a plan B if things go south. 
    6. Go old school and carry a handkerchief. You can always go old school and carry a cloth around to quickly dry up any problem areas. It works in a pinch if you need to shake hands and your antiperspirant has worn off. If you have to wear a long sleeve shirt keep it tucked in your sleeve. 
    7. Keep a Clean Change of Clothes. If you’re going out it might ease your mind to know that you have clean clothes nearby in case of emergency. You can stash a change of clean clothes in your bag or car. 

Just remember, everyone’s body reacts differently to alcohol so even though you sweat a lot, drinking may not make a big difference to you. The important thing is that you understand how your body reacts to drinking and that you feel comfortable in your ability to deal with it. So, next time you’re going out, apply some Carpe antiperspirant lotion and just enjoy yourself!


Sources

  1. Huddle, J. R. (2014). Hyperhidrosis: Causes, Treatment Options and Outcomes. New York, NY: Nova Science. Retrieved from https://novapublishers.com/shop/hyperhidrosis-causes-treatment-options-and-outcomes/ 
  2. Paton, A. (2005). Alcohol in the Body. British Medical Journal, 330, 85-87. doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7482.85 Retrieved from https://www.bmj.com/content/330/7482/85 
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