SWEATOPEDIA

Sweatopedia is a leading source of comprehensive, objective, and accurate information on hyperhidrosis.

Causes of Hyperhidrosis

Everything You Need to Know About What Hyperhidrosis Is

By Chris Reid /

What Is Hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, is characterized by sweat that is produced in excess of what is necessary for thermoregulation (the ability to maintain a healthy temperature). Sweating is a perfectly natural and necessary function the body uses to cool itself down. However, if you have hyperhidrosis, you’ll start sweating even when your body isn’t overheating.[1] Sweating that has no apparent cause is known to doctors as diaphoresis.[2]

If you have hyperhidrosis, you can experience sweating on several parts of the body, including in the hands, underarms, face, scalp, and feet. Some people even experience excessive groin sweat and sweating under the breasts. The type of hyperhidrosis you have will determine whether you experience sweating all over your body or if it is just in specific areas. Some people with hyperhidrosis sweat in several different areas simultaneously, while others only experience excessive sweating at one location - it is a highly individualized condition. Hands, feet, and underarms are the parts of the body that are most likely to be affected by hyperhidrosis.[3]

People who suffer from hyperhidrosis have the same number and size of sweat glands as people who don’t have the condition. Their sweat glands are just overactive, compared to what they would normally be.[1]

What Are the Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis?

If you’re wondering how to tell whether you have hyperhidrosis , here is a checklist of symptoms for you to review.

  • Noticeable sweat:Even when you’re sitting down and taking it easy, you’ll notice your clothes are wet. On your bare skin, you’ll often see beads of sweat.
  • You leave a trail in your wake:You might not just see sweat on your clothes and skin. You might be transferring it to everything you touch, including door knobs, keyboards, and papers that you touch.
  • Your skin is white and peeling:You might notice white and peeling skin from the constant moisture.
  • You have skin infections:Skin infections can happen to people who don’t have hyperhidrosis. However, if you have repeated skin infections due to constant moisture, like athlete’s foot, you might suspect hyperhidrosis.[1]

Different dermatologists characterize hyperhidrosis in various ways. What’s important is the fact that if you are uncomfortable with the level of sweat that your body produces (wherever it’s being produced), there are solutions that are available. You have access to over-the-counter topical treatments, prescription options, and medical procedures that can help. If you are interested in medical solutions, you can book an appointment with your dermatologist and learn how to manage hyperhidrosis with a dermatologist.[3]

Now that we’ve answered the question “what is hyperhidrosis?”, It’s important to understand the different types of hyperhidrosis. The approaches used to understand and treat hyperhidrosis are very different depending on the type you have.

The Two Main Types of Hyperhidrosis

There are two main types of hyperhidrosis. There are a few other types that are much less common, but the vast majority of people will either have primary focal hyperhidrosis or secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. Let’s look at each type of hyperhidrosis and what they entail.

Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis

Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis (PFH) is by far the most common type, affecting up to 90 percent of people who have hyperhidrosis. The cause is not well understood, but it is thought to have a genetic component.[3]

People with primary focal hyperhidrosis only sweat in particular areas like the hands, feet, armpits, face, and groin. Sweat will occur on both sides of the body in the same place. For example, if someone has one sweaty hand it is likely their other hand will also be sweaty. Additionally, the sweat will usually occur in more than one area — one common problem with PFH is that the sweating occurs on hands and feet simultaneously. It can also affect other body parts individually or simultaneously, it just depends on a person’s specific situation.[3]

Symptoms usually begin in childhood or adolescence and tend to last for a person’s entire lifetime. There is evidence that primary focal hyperhidrosis is hereditary, meaning it has a genetic component and often runs in families.[3]

Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis

While primary focal hyperhidrosis appears to be something you’re born with,secondary generalized hyperhidrosis (SGH) is a condition that shows up during adulthood. Think of SGH as an uninvited guest who arrives on your doorstep with no warning. Unfortunately, it may be a little harder to get rid of than an uninvited guest.[3]

You might suddenly wonder why you’ve been so sweaty lately. And you’d be right to wonder, because this type of hyperhidrosis can point to an underlying problem.

When someone has secondary hyperhidrosis the biggest problem isn’t the hyperhidrosis – it’s the disease or condition that might be causing it. That’s why it’s known as secondary hyperhidrosis. The true cause may be a medical condition and the symptom of that condition is hyperhidrosis.[3]

Before you panic that you’re suffering from a mysterious disease, keep in mind the source of this type of hyperhidrosis can also be a medication. Many common medications can cause hyperhidrosis as a side effect.[3]

Unlike primary focal hyperhidrosis, the sweating from secondary hyperhidrosis tends to occur all over the body. This is a telltale sign of the condition.[3]

Unlike primary hyperhidrosis, this condition doesn’t have to be permanent. If the instigating condition is found and treated, it can fix the hyperhidrosis. It may take a little work, but you CAN kick this guest off your porch.[3]

If you are concerned that your hyperhidrosis might have an underlying cause, schedule an appointment to talk to your doctor and find out.[3]

The Impact of Hyperhidrosis

While hyperhidrosis isn’t particularly dangerous physically, it can be embarrassing for those who suffer from it. It won’t just give you clammy skin – the sweat can literally drip off. That can cause a great deal of anxiety for those who experience it.[3]

Shaking hands can become a nightmare because you may be so self-conscious about how sweaty your palms are. Your socks can become wet even if you don’t do any exercise. It can make basic human experiences extremely stressful.

Unfortunately, hyperhidrosis is more serious than just uncomfortable sweating. Up to a third of people who deal with excessive sweating from hyperhidrosis say that they are constantly bothered by their sweating. One study done in the US found that 75% of respondents reported that hyperhidrosis negatively impacted their social, emotional, and mental health.[4] That’s a lot of people who are suffering! Due to these issues, hyperhidrosis and anxiety often go hand in hand.[3] Many people find it helpful to utilize anxiety reduction methods that are known to lessen excessive sweating.

Hyperhidrosis is hard for adults to deal with, so it is especially important to find help for kids with hyperhidrosis.

Some people refer to hyperhidrosis as a silent handicap because of the impact it has upon the lives of those who live with it. It can deeply impact their confidence and hyperhidrosis can even keep people from doing the things they love most.[5]

Is Hyperhidrosis Common?

It is thought that about 3% of the US population struggles with hyperhidrosis. In other countries the percentage of the population that has it is even higher.[3] Other sources have stated that up to 5% of the population might even have it![6] This means that hyperhidrosis is a very common issue.

While most doctor’s offices are familiar with managing hyperhidrosis, they generally don’t see a lot of patients who suffer from it. However, because hyperhidrosis is such an embarrassing and overlooked condition, many individuals avoid reporting the issue to their doctor. This means that the number of people who have hyperhidrosis might even be higher than we currently think.[3]

Those with family members who have this ailment are more likely to get it – making it an inherited condition. If you have a family member teased for their sweaty hands constantly, there could be a chance they have hyperhidrosis. [3]

What Causes Hyperhidrosis?

Doctors don’t truly understand what causes primary focal hyperhidrosis yet. One theory is that particular nerves that control the amount of sweat overreact or malfunction. That malfunction can cause the excessive sweating that can be life-changing for those who suffer from it.[7]

Since hyperhidrosis affects so many people, researchers are now shifting into full gear to discover the causes of excessive sweating so they can develop better treatments. Future treatments and research for hyperhidrosis are being developed more rapidly than ever before.[3]

What Conditions Can Cause Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis?

Many diseases and medical conditions can cause hyperhidrosis. However, just because you have one of the conditions listed below this paragraph doesn’t mean you’ll develop hyperhidrosis.

Here are some of the more common conditions that may be causing the hyperhidrosis you have developed as an adult.

  • A febrile illness
  • Menopause
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Heart failure
  • Diabetes
  • Frostbite
  • Alcoholism - Alcohol can cause excessive sweating when someone is intoxicated, withdrawing, or in someone with an intolerance.
  • Gout
  • Lymphoma and some other cancers and tumors.
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Stroke[3]

There are also several types of common medications that cause hyperhidrosis as a side effect. So, if you are on medication and you begin experiencing new or increased amounts of sweating mention it to your doctor. Some of these medications include antidepressants, painkillers, blood pressure medications and many others.a [3]

If you think you might have secondary generalized hyperhidrosis it is very important that you speak to a doctor. Many of the things that cause it can be resolved, and it could be a sign of a more serious problem. Don’t panic, but it is wise to look into the reason you are sweating more.

What Are the Treatments for Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis?

If you are diagnosed with primary focal hyperhidrosis, there are many things you can do.These are the existing treatments for hyperhidrosis, but new treatments are currently being explored by scientists:

  • Antiperspirants:There are many over-the-counter antiperspirants that can be very useful when trying to curb sweat. If a regular antiperspirant isn’t cutting it for you, ask your doctor to write a prescription for a stronger one. You can apply antiperspirant to places other than just your underarms. Use it on your hands, hairline, or feet as well. There are even antiperspirants for the face and groin that are made specifically for sensitive areas.
  • An Iontophoresis machine:This medical device sends low-voltage currents into a pan of water where your hands or feet are sitting. The electricity can lessen the activity of your sweat glands, at least for a while. However, it can take up to 10 sessions with the iontophoresis machine to deactivate your sweat glands. You may need to use this machine up to three times a week in the beginning and one treatment can take up to 40 minutes. Although iontophoresis as a treatment for palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis may give your hands and feet a much needed break, the iontophoresis machine is anything but convenient. Iontophoresis really does work, but patients have to be willing to keep up with a regular treatment regimen for it to work successfully.
  • Botox:If other treatments aren’t enough in your, you might need Botox injections. Botox can be particularly useful for axillary hyperhidrosis, but botox can also be a treatment for palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis. Botox can provide up to 6 months of reduced sweating. If you’re going to pursue this route, you should look for someone who is experienced at doing Botox injections in the underarms to ensure the right area is targeted.
  • Anticholinergics:A few oral medications can for hyperhidrosis can reduce the amount of sweat you produce by stopping your sweat glands from working. Most commonly patients are prescribed anticholinergics like glycopyrrolate or oxybutynin as a treatment for hyperhidrosis. These medications also have several side effects, including heart palpitations, blurry vision, and dry mouth.
  • ETS Surgery:An endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS) is a surgical treatment for primary focal hyperhidrosis. It is an operation where an individual actually has the nerve endings that transfer sensory information to the sweat glands destroyed. Since no known successful reversal of an ETS surgery has ever been recorded, this option isn’t usually on the table unless the other treatments have failed. As with any surgery, it can be risky. There is also a type of surgery called an endoscopic lumbar sympathectomy which is used to treat plantar hyperhidrosis, but this surgery can be very dangerous and is almost never recommended.[3]

Defeating Hyperhidrosis

Undoubtedly, hyperhidrosis can be a hard condition to cope with. Until recently, the lack of research into hyperhidrosis had made hyperhidrosis difficult to manage. Thankfully, however, new treatments and awareness has made hyperhidrosis much easier to handle. Keep trying treatments until you find what works for you and remember that you are not alone in suffering with this condition. It’s just a matter of figuring out what you can do to control your sweat instead of your sweat controlling you!

Sources
  1. MedicineNet Medical Journal. (2016, May 13). Definition of Hyperhidrosis. Retrieved May 14, 2018, from https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=16272
  2. Diaphoresis: What causes excessive sweating? (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321663#overview
  3. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Amsterdam: Elsevier Pub. Co., 2014. Retrieved from https://www.elsevier.com/books/hyperhidrosis-an-issue-of-dermatologic-clinics/pariser/978-0-323-32607-0
  4. Lenefsky, M., & Rice, Z. P. (2018). Hyperhidrosis and Its Impact on Those Living With It. AJMC. Retrieved from https://www.ajmc.com/journals/supplement/2018/hyperhidrosis-managed-markets-update-treatments/hyperhidrosis-and-its-impact--on-those-living-with-it
  5. Nordqvist, C. (2017, December 21). Hyperhidrosis: Symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment. Retrieved May 14, 2018, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/182130.php

    Doolittle, James, et al. “Hyperhidrosis: an Update on Prevalence and Severity in the United States.” Archives of Dermatological Research, vol. 308, no. 10, 2016, pp. 743–749., doi:10.1007/s00403-016-1697-9. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27744497/

    Huddle, J. R. (2014). Hyperhidrosis: Causes, Treatment Options and Outcomes. New York, NY: Nova Science. Retrieved from https://www.bookdepository.com/Hyperhidrosis-Janine-R-Huddle/9781633215160

Body Areas Affected by Hyperhidrosis

How Can I Control Foot Sweat?

By Chris Reid /

Excessively sweaty feet can lead to some big problems. Some people just have mildly sweaty feet, but others find that sweaty feet greatly impact their quality of life. This is often the case for people who have primary focal hyperhidrosis, a condition in which people sweat excessively from specific parts of the body - including the feet. Many people with sweaty feet struggle with staining and destroying shoes, have difficulty wearing sandals and flip flops, have trouble walking barefoot, and constantly need to wear absorbent socks. Even worse, people whose feet are constantly exposed to moisture are at risk for foot conditions like Athlete’s foot, skin maceration, infections, and irritation. This is why it is imperative for people with excessively sweaty feet to find a way to kick their sweat and get control of the problem.[1]

Natural Ways to Manage Sweaty Feet

Sometimes excessive foot sweating can be managed with natural methods and lifestyle changes. There are some practical things you can do, which won’t reduce the amount you sweat, but will help you to manage things better and prevent some of the complications that come along with sweaty feet. Here are some things you can do to manage your sweaty situation:

  • Wash your feet frequently. While washing your feet won’t stop you from sweating, it will reduce your risk of infection, keep skin from getting irritated, prevent odor build up, and prevent bacterial growth. Ideally, you should aim to wash your feet twice a day if you have been sweating in your shoes for an extended period of time. It is also beneficial to use certain products while you wash your feet. These can include antifungal products, certain essential oils, epsom salt to soothe feet, and of course, soap.
  • Soak your feet is a black tea bath. It is suggested that you fill a basin with warm water and add two tea bags to soak your feet in. It is thought that the tannins in black tea affect your sweat glands in such a way that it stops them from producing as much sweat. This method isn’t scientifically tested, but it may be worth a try!
  • Wear the right socks and shoes. Certain sock materials are good for sweaty feet, while others are not. For example, it is a good idea to avoid cotton socks, while materials like merino wool and athletic socks with moisture wicking technology are better for keeping sweat away from the skin. The material your shoes are made of are also important, leather or mesh athletic shoes are best as they allow your feet to breathe.
  • Alternate your shoes and change socks often. It might be worth it to invest in two pairs of shoes that you can alternate every other day. This allows each pair to dry completely before you get them wet again, it will also prevent shoe damage and break down from being as severe. It is also a good idea to keep an extra pair of socks with you and to change your socks any time your feet become completely soaked. This will keep your feet and skin healthier.[2]
  • Over-the-Counter Treatment Options

    One of the most helpful tools for people with sweaty feet are over-the-counter products. Over-the-counter topical treatments for hyperhidrosis called antiperspirants are the most essential. Antiperspirant is the first-line treatment doctors recommend for hyperhidrosis because they treat the problem at a local area and they effectively prevent sweat glands from producing sweat. Many people have success with over-the-counter antiperspirants, but antiperspirant is available by prescription if a higher strength is needed.[1] There is also a type of soothing treatment called foot powder. Foot powder is a powder that you apply to dry feet which absorbs excessive sweat and soothes irritated skin. When used in combination antiperspirant and foot powder can bring much relief. Finally, antifungal powder is suggested if you think you may have athlete’s foot.[2]

    Medical Treatments for Sweaty Feet

    For some people, especially those with hyperhidrosis, lifestyle adjustments and over-the-counter options might not be enough to control their foot sweat. Luckily, there are several effective medical treatment options available. Most doctors suggest that patients try over-the-counter and prescription antiperspirants before moving on to more intensive treatments. Once a patient has exhausted these options, however, doctors have many options that they can try in order to eliminate foot sweating and to improve patients quality of life. Here is a breakdown of the available treatments, from minimally invasive techniques to highly intense surgical procedures:

  • Iontophoresis: Iontophoresis is a type of therapy that uses the passing of an ionized substance through intact skin by application of a direct electrical current to stop the body from producing as much sweat. While this sounds complicated, the procedure is quite simple and it doesn’t hurt the patient. Iontophoresis is used to treat palmar (hand) and plantar (foot) hyperhidrosis and is one of the least invasive hyperhidrosis treatments available. When used to treat sweaty feet, a patients is given two trays of water to place their feet in which are connected by electrical wires. A machine pulses small electrical currents through the water and through the skin of the patient’s feet which greatly reduces the amount of sweat they will produce. The procedure needs to be repeated a few times a week to maintain results. Iontophoresis has been found to be highly effective and many people use it as a part of their weekly routine.
  • Botox Injections: Botox injections can reduce the skin’s ability to produce sweat and they have been approved as a treatment for axillary hyperhidrosis by the FDA. While botox is not specifically approved for the treatment of plantar hyperhidrosis, many people have had a significant reduction in symptoms when it is used. Typically, a doctor will assess the problem area, in this case that would be the feet, and then inject botox into the skin in a grid like pattern. The results from botox injections will usually last for several months making it a convenient treatment method.
  • Oral Medications: There are oral medications that can reduce the amount of sweat people produce, however none of them are specifically approved by the FDA for the treatment of hyperhidrosis. Most of the time doctors recommend that patients receive local treatment whenever possible, but medication can be useful for certain patients. Anticholinergics are the most common type of medication that doctors prescribe for people with hyperhidrosis, these include medicines like glycopyrrolate and oxybutynin. Sometimes, other types of medications are used like beta blockers, anti anxiety medications, and clonidine.
  • Surgery: A type of surgery to treat sweaty feet called endoscopic lumbar sympathectomy is available. However, it is almost never recommended because the side effects from the surgery can be catastrophic. If you are sweating to the point where you are considering this type of surgery it is best to try the other available treatments or combinations of those treatments rather than undergoing a risky procedure. While it is similar to endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, the risks are much higher.[1]
  • Sources
    1. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier
    2. Leonard, J. (n.d.). What causes feet sweating? Retrieved June 3, 2019, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322578.php
    Body Areas Affected by Hyperhidrosis

    What Causes Excessive Sweating on my Head and Face?

    By Chris Reid /

    Do you struggle with a sweaty face and head? If so, you’re not alone. According to an article published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, about 22.8% of people who have excessive sweating deal with sweating on their face and head.[1] An excessive sweating face can be an embarrassing problem to deal with. So, what causes excessive sweating on the face and head? Sometimes it can be the result of intense heat or exercise, but if you are sweating profusely for no obvious reason - you may likely be dealing with a form of hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis is just a big word to describe sweating more than your body needs in order to regulate your temperature and stay healthy.

    The type of hyperhidrosis that affects the face and head is medically known as craniofacial hyperhidrosis. Craniofacial sweating usually happens on the forehead, scalp, nose, chin, and sometimes cheeks. If you have hyperhidrosis, your sweating may be influenced by levels of anxiety and stress - but often (and somewhat frustratingly) it may have no obvious cause.[1] There are three types of hyperhidrosis that are known to cause excessive sweating of the face and head: primary focal hyperhidrosis, secondary generalized hyperhidrosis, and gustatory sweating (Frey’s syndrome).

    The Causes of Excessive Face and Head Sweating

    Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis

    One of the most common causes of facial and head sweating is called primary focal hyperhidrosis. It is a condition that causes people to sweat in excess of what is needed by their body. Primary hyperhidrosis affects specific parts of the body like the hands, feet, underarms, and face. About 7 million people in the US have hyperhidrosis, so the condition is quite common.[2] And of the folks who have primary focal hyperhidrosis, about 22.8% have craniofacial hyperhidrosis (meaning they specifically have issues with excessive facial and head sweating).[1] Researchers aren’t exactly sure why primary focal hyperhidrosis occurs, but they suspect that it is caused by an overactive nervous system.

    The sympathetic nervous system activates the sweat glands and is responsible for the “fight or flight” response. When the sympathetic system is activated at inappropriate times it can cause sweat glands to become overactive.[3] Hyperhidrosis is suspected to be somewhat hereditary.[2] So, if you have primary hyperhidrosis you may also have relatives with the same condition.

    Secondary Generalized Hyperhidrosis

    An excessive sweating face and head can also be caused by another type of hyperhidrosis called secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. It is usually characterized by sweating that occurs all over the body due to an underlying condition. This means that if you have secondary hyperhidrosis, there is another health condition or medication that is causing your excessive sweating. Secondary hyperhidrosis usually begins suddenly during adulthood, as opposed to primary focal hyperhidrosis, which typically develops during adolescence. You can experience excessive facial and head sweating from secondary hyperhidrosis, but if you have this condition you will most likely also experience excessive sweating on other parts of your body at the same time. It is important to seek medical attention if you think you have secondary hyperhidrosis (and don’t know the cause), because it can be the result of an underlying factor. There are certain diseases and conditions that cause secondary hyperhidrosis, which range from benign to more serious. There are also manymedications that can also cause secondary hyperhidrosis as a side effect.[2] If you think you have secondary hyperhidrosis, don’t panic, but please talk to your doctor so you can get more information and take control of your sweat.

    Gustatory Sweating (Frey’s Syndrome)

    Most people will never have to deal with this condition, but it can be a surprising cause of an excessively sweating face. Unlike primary focal hyperhidrosis and secondary generalized hyperhidrosis, gustatory sweating is quite uncommon. Gustatory sweating is when you experience excessive sweating and flushing on your face when you’re eating. It can even happen as a result of someone thinking about food! It is most often caused by an injury to the parotid gland and its associated nerves. This little known gland is located near the sides of the face and can be affected by an injury to those areas. After an injury those nerves struggle to regrow in the proper place and communication signals are affected. Essentially, the body responds inappropriately to stimuli after an injury or disease damages the nerves. It is unlikely that gustatory sweating is the cause of your sweating woes, but if these symptoms sound familiar you should check with your doctor and find out. [2]

    Regardless of which type of hyperhidrosis is causing you to struggle with excessive facial and head sweating, remember you are not alone! We are here for you. Thankfully, there are effective ways to reduce and stop facial sweating so that it doesn’t have as big of an impact on your quality of life.

    Sources
    1. Nicholas, R., Quddus, A., & Baker, D. M. (2015). Treatment of Primary Craniofacial Hyperhidrosis: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 16(5), 361-370. doi:10.1007/s40257-015-0136-6 Retrieved March 14, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26055729
    2. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier. Retrieved from https://www.elsevier.com/books/hyperhidrosis-an-issue-of-dermatologic-clinics/pariser/978-0-323-32607-0
    3. Huddle, J. R. (2014). Hyperhidrosis: Causes, Treatment Options and Outcomes. New York, NY: Nova Science. Retrieved from https://www.bookdepository.com/Hyperhidrosis-Janine-R-Huddle/9781633215160
    Antiperspirant

    How to Get Rid of Body Odor from Sweating

    By Chris Reid /

    Body odor has plagued people for thousands of years. In fact, soap was invented by the Phoenicians in 600 B.C. and ancient Egyptians are known to have bathed in perfumed water in an attempt to figure out how to get rid of their body odor![1] Luckily, these days we know how to stop body odor from becoming a problem. First, it’s important to understand how sweat causes body odor in the first place.

    How Sweat Causes Body Odor

    Humans have two types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine.[2]

    Eccrine glands cover most of the skin’s surface and are used to maintain thermoregulation (the body’s temperature) by cooling the body in times of high heat. They produce sweat that is initially clear and odorless.[2]

    Apocrine glands, on the other hand, are larger than eccrine glands and are located within hair follicles. They only appear on the armpits, groin, and areolas. Apocrine glands produce sweat that is thicker and yellowish. The sweat from apocrine glands is most often associated with body odor. This is because it is made up of fatty acids and proteins that bacteria on the skin metabolize.[2]

    The byproducts that bacteria create - the things that bacteria break sweat down into (like isovaleric acid and androsterone) - give off a strong, unpleasant smell that we recognize as body odor.[2]

    Some people have conditions that make them sweat excessively or have especially stinky sweat that make dealing with sweat and body odor even more difficult. Hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes people to sweat in excess of what is needed by the body for thermoregulation.[2]

    Depending on the type of hyperhidrosis they have, a person may sweat excessively from certain areas of the body at random times (primary focal hyperhidrosis) or they may sweat all over (secondary generalized hyperhidrosis). Unfortunately, because people with hyperhidrosis produce so much sweat they also tend to struggle with the odor it can cause.

    When someone has especially stinky sweat it is referred to as bromhidrosis. People with bromhidrosis have body odor that is significantly worse than the average person and it can be socially isolating. However, people with hyperhidrosis and bromhidrosis can learn how to stop body odor by using treatments to control their sweat.[3][4]

    How to Get Rid of Body Odor Caused by Sweat

    There are several ways to stop the sweat. The most important, and most obvious, way we know how to stop body odor is to prevent it by having good basic hygiene. This means showering once a day, changing clothes every morning or after sweating significantly, and applying antiperspirant and deodorant as needed. Removing the bacteria and sweat from your skin prevents body odor from forming in the first place. Unfortunately, in the real world people don’t always have time to wash up every time they sweat a little bit, which is where the use of antiperspirant and deodorant come into play.

    Antiperspirant and Deodorant

    Many people do not realize what antiperspirant is and how it differs from deodorant. Antiperspirants are agents that can be applied to the skin which prevent the production of sweat. They are considered to be the first line treatment for people with hyperhidrosis and can be extremely helpful for anyone who deals with sweat and stink on a regular basis. Antiperspirant is one of the best ways we know how to get rid of body odor.[3]

    When it comes to choosing the right over-the-counter antiperspirant there are a lot of options. There are several companies like Carpe, Dove, SweatBlock, Certain Dri, and many more that offer options with different active ingredients and in different applicators. The FDA regulates the active ingredients in antiperspirant as it is considered to be a drug. There are different active ingredients, but most antiperspirants use some type of metallic salt to plug sweat glands and prevent sweat production.[3]

    Most of the time antiperspirant comes in a stick, spray, or gel form which can be applied to the body. Some companies, like Carpe and SweatBlock, also sell antiperspirant lotions and wipes that can be especially helpful for those who struggle with sweaty hands and feet.

    Deodorant is different from antiperspirant because it is made to mask any odors that are already present and kill bacteria on the skin to prevent them from producing more odor. There is no one best deodorant, but often combination products that contain both antiperspirant and deodorant are the most effective when combating body odor. Combination products are called antiperspirant deodorants.[4]

    Other Treatments

    Aside from maintaining good hygiene and using antiperspirant and deodorant products, there are a few things you can do to get rid of body odor caused by sweat. One other simple adjustment you can make is to wear fibers that are breathable, like organic cotton, or moisture wicking. There are some specific types of clothes that are best for people who struggle with excessive sweating. Finally, if all else fails, there are some medical treatments you could pursue.

    A visit to your local dermatologist will give you a sense of how to get rid of body odor using medical treatments, but here are a few ideas you can consider. If you struggle with excessive underarm sweating and smell you could try a local permanent procedure for axillary hyperhidrosis that stops your sweat glands in that area from being able to produce sweat. One example of this type of procedure is MiraDry. There are also prescription antiperspirants and antiperspirant wipes, called Qbrexza, that can help. There are many ways to manage sweat with and body odor with a doctor.

    If you are struggling with sweat and body odor don’t give up because there are lots of treatments out there. Don’t let sweat be a drain on your life - you can fix it!

    Sources
    1. Ramirez, A. (1990, August). All About/Deodorants; The Success of Sweet Smell. Late Edition. Retrieved March 7, 2019, from https://www.nytimes.com/1990/08/12/business/all-about-deodorants-the-success-of-sweet-smell.html
    2. Huddle, J. R. (2014). Hyperhidrosis: Causes, Treatment Options and Outcomes. New York, NY: Nova Science. Retrieved from https://www.bookdepository.com/Hyperhidrosis-Janine-R-Huddle/9781633215160
    3. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Amsterdam: Elsevier Pub. Co., 2014. Retrieved from https://www.elsevier.com/books/hyperhidrosis-an-issue-of-dermatologic-clinics/pariser/978-0-323-32607-0
    4. Eshini, P., & Sinclair, R. (2013). Hyperhidrosis and bromhidrosis: A guide to assessment and management. Australian Family Physician, 42(5), 266-269. Retrieved March 7, 2019, from https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2013/may/hyperhidrosis-and-bromhidrosis/
    Body Areas Affected by Hyperhidrosis

    6 Common Complications of Hyperhidrosis

    By Katie Crissman /

    Hyperhidrosis is a skin disorder that causes people to sweat in excess of what is needed by the body. It is suspected that nearly 3% of the population struggles with the condition, making it quite common. While there are a few different types of hyperhidrosis, the two most common kinds are primary focal hyperhidrosis and secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. Primary focal hyperhidrosis is the most common type and it produces excessive sweating on specific areas of the body like the hands, feet, face, armpits, and sometimes other areas, like the groin. It is a lifelong condition and typically shows up during puberty. Secondary generalized hyperhidrosis is caused by an underlying condition or medication and it tends to cause all over sweating and can show up suddenly. Regardless of which type of hyperhidrosis a person has, the effects of producing too much sweat can cause other secondary health complications. It is important to know that hyperhidrosis is not dangerous, but it can cause some unfortunate health related issues.[1] Here are some of the most common complications of hyperhidrosis and what you can do about them:

    Emotional Complications

    One of the most profound effects that hyperhidrosis has on people is how it affects them emotionally and socially.[2] This is because the nature of the disorder is embarrassing and it can make people feel isolated. Specifically, hyperhidrosis is known to affect several aspects of daily life like emotional well-being, interpersonal relationships, leisure activities, self-esteem, personal hygiene, and work. All of these are important facets of a person’s life and because hyperhidrosis disrupts them, it makes sense that hyperhidrosis can lead to anxiety and depression. One large study published in the Journal of Dermatologic Clinics stated that 63% of people with hyperhidrosis reported feeling depressed or unhappy as a result of the condition and 74% had less confidence than they would like. While these statistics may sound daunting, when hyperhidrosis was addressed with proper medical treatment a significant number of people saw significant emotional improvement.[2]

    Maceration

    One of the most common skin issues that can come about from hyperhidrosis is called maceration. Maceration is the name for skin that is mushy and wet from constant exposure to sweat and moisture.[2] Skin that is macerated is usually lighter in color and appears wrinkly. Hyperhidrosis usually causes mild cases of maceration which can usually be treated by exposing skin to the air and keeping the affected area dry. While maceration itself is not physically dangerous, it can lead to delayed wound healing, susceptibility to infection, discomfort, pain, and skin breakdown. This is why it is imperative to keep skin dry and clean as much as possible.[3]

    Infection

    Hyperhidrosis can lead to a higher likelihood of developing a few types of infections. These include bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.[2] One study published by the American Academy of Dermatology found that patients with hyperhidrosis had a 30% chance of developing a skin infection of any type compared to only 12% of people from the general population. This is a significantly higher risk.[4] Maceration causes skin to be less effective as a barrier and viral and bacterial infections can enter the body more readily.[3] Wet conditions also provide an ideal environment for fungal infections to grow. The most common types of fungal infections that people with hyperhidrosis have to deal with are athlete’s foot which affects the feet and jock itch which affects the groin.[2] Keeping skin as dry as possible and using topical, and sometimes, oral medications can keep these conditions in check.

    Warts

    Warts are another skin condition that is more likely to appear as a result of hyperhidrosis. When skin is exposed to moisture it begins to break down and becomes a less effective barrier for keeping infections out. Unfortunately, some of the infections that can affect the skin cause warts to grow.[2] Most cases of warts are caused by a type of virus called HPV. It is suggested that people with warts keep them covered to prevent infecting others, that they treat them with an appropriate medication and that they do not shave over top of warts. Luckily, they are easily treatable.[5]

    Body Odor

    Body odor is an unfortunately common side effect of hyperhidrosis. Medically, body odor is referred to as bromhidrosis. Sweat is actually odorless when it is released from the body but it becomes stinky when bacteria on the surface of the skin digest proteins and create foul smelling byproducts. Body odor tends to be the worst when produced by the skin of the armpits and groin. This is because those areas have apocrine sweat glands which create a thicker type of sweat. Hyperhidrosis feet that have been enclosed in socks and shoes for a long period of time also tend to create a worse smell than other parts of the body. You can cut down on body odor by keeping skin as clean and dry as possible, although this can be tricky for those with hyperhidrosis. There are other ways to reduce sweating and body odor that can also help.[2]

    Economic Consequences

    While economic consequences may not directly impact health, they certainly impact a person's lifestyle. According to several quality of life studies published in the journal of Dermatologic Clinics hyperhidrosis can have a significant impact in the workplace. This can manifest due to social anxiety or be a direct result of hyperhidrosis. For example, a person with severe palmar hyperhidrosis may struggle to manipulate objects and with activities like holding a pen. These issues can lead to lower work performance. Unfortunately, certain hyperhidrosis treatments are not covered by insurance at this time and this can also deplete hyperhidrosis patients financially. Luckily, treatments can improve a person’s economic position and relieve some of the burden.[1]

    The complications associated with hyperhidrosis can be frustrating and make the condition even more daunting to deal with. However, it is important that you don’t lose hope! Hyperhidrosis is highly treatable and most of its complications are fairly simple and can be reversed.

    What Can You Do About It?

    If you are struggling with the complications that come along with hyperhidrosis there are several things you can do. The first thing most doctors recommend is trying an over-the-counter antiperspirant. Antiperspirant enables the skin to produce less sweat by blocking the sweat glands. There are several different types of antiperspirant to choose from that can be used for a variety of needs.[1] Some brands, like Carpe have antiperspirants lotions that are specifically designed for sensitive skin, while others have spray on or roll on versions of intense strength products. If you haven’t had luck with antiperspirant alone, there are several other medical interventions that can improve your symptoms. These include procedures like iontophoresis, botox injections, oral medications, and even surgery. If you are struggling, don’t give up! There are many options and new treatments are being developed every day.

    Sources
    1. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.
    2. Common Complications of Hyperhidrosis. (n.d.). Retrieved August 21, 2019, from https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/common-complications-of-hyperhidrosis
    3. Everything You Need to Know About Macerated Skin. (n.d.). Retrieved August 21, 2019, from https://www.healthline.com/health/macerated-skin
    4. Walling. (2009). Study finds that patients with excessive sweating condition are more likely to develop skin infections. American Academy of Dermatology. Retrieved August 21, 2019, from https://www.aad.org/media/news-releases/study-finds-that-patients-with-excessive-sweating-condition-are-more-likely-to-develop-skin-infections.
    5. How to heal warts more quickly and prevent new ones. (n.d.). Retrieved August 21, 2019, from https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/contagious-skin-diseases/warts/how-to-heal-warts
    Body Areas Affected by Hyperhidrosis

    Upper Lip Sweat

    By Katie Crissman /

    Many people struggle with upper lip sweat for a variety of reasons. While there are multiple reasons for this issue, the most common reason people sweat on from their face is because they have a condition called primary focal hyperhidrosis.Primary focal hyperhidrosis (PFH) is a condition that causes people to sweat excessively from specific areas of the body including the hands, feet, armpits, and face.[1] Excessive facial sweating is often referred to as craniofacial hyperhidrosis and this type of hyperhidrosis often affects various parts of the face and scalp, including the upper lip area. This can be especially burdensome to patients because it affects a highly social and visible part of their body which can lead to problems with quality of life. It is thought that of the 2.9% of people who suffer from hyperhidrosis only 22.8% have craniofacial hyperhidrosis, making it less common than other forms of the condition.[2] Upper lip sweating is one of the least likely patterns of sweating associated with craniofacial sweating, but it does affect many people. Luckily, there are several treatments that people can try to reduce upper lip sweating and improve their quality of life.[1]

    Causes of Excessive Upper Lip Sweating

    There are two main causes of excessive upper lip sweating and craniofacial hyperhidrosis in general. Most of the time when someone has facial sweating it is because they are either struggling with primary focal hyperhidrosis or secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. Primary focal hyperhidrosis is the most common cause of craniofacial sweating, but it is important to rule out secondary hyperhidrosis before a diagnosis of PFH can be reached.[3]

    It is important to distinguish why someone has an issue with excessive upper lip sweat because the type of treatment a person receives will depend on the cause of their sweating. Unlike primary focal hyperhidrosis, which doesn’t have a well understood cause, secondary generalized hyperhidrosis is caused by a specific underlying medical condition or medication. Certain diseases and conditions cause secondary hyperhidrosis including hyperthyroidism, some cancers, HIV, some infections like tuberculosis, and several others. Secondary hyperhidrosis can also be caused by medicines like antidepressants, painkillers, hypoglycemic agents, and many of types of medicines. Due to the fact that some of the underlying conditions that can cause secondary hyperhidrosis may be serious, it is important to talk to your doctor about your situation. It is especially important to seek medical help if your upper lip sweating began suddenly or if you suspect secondary hyperhidrosis could be the cause. If upper lip sweating is caused by secondary hyperhidrosis, then treating the underlying cause should resolve the problem.[1]

    Primary focal hyperhidrosis accounts is the primary reason that people experience craniofacial sweating. It has no definitive cause, although some researchers believe it is due to an overactive autonomic nervous system. Sweat glands are innervated by the sympathetic nervous system and it is thought that, for some reason, the sweat glands in affected people are overstimulated. However, there is no conclusive evidence to prove this is why primary focal hyperhidrosis occurs and scientists aren’t sure about the cause. It is thought that hyperhidrosis is partially genetic and so inheritance can play a role in its development. Even though the exact cause of PFH isn’t well understood there are several treatment options that help patients to mitigate their symptoms and improve their quality of life.[1]

    In some rare cases, upper lip sweating can be caused by a type of hyperhidrosis called gustatory hyperhidrosis. Gustatory sweating is occurs when people eat certain foods which makes them flush and sweat profusely from the face. This type of sweating is very uncommon, but it should be considered if facial sweating occurs only when eating or thinking about food. Most of the time gustatory sweating is caused by an injury or damage to the parotid gland.[1]

    Treatments for Upper Lip Sweating

    If you are struggling with upper lip sweat caused by primary focal hyperhidrosis then there are several ways to manage your symptoms. The first line treatment that doctors suggest is to use antiperspirant on the affected areas of the face. This is the least invasive option that patients can try. It is suggested that patients use antiperspirants with aluminum or zirconium salts as an active ingredient before moving onto other treatments. Unfortunately, antiperspirants can irritate skin, especially on sensitive areas like the face. There are some antiperspirants for places like the face and groin that have sensitive skin and it may be beneficial to try these products before moving on to more intensive options.[1] It has also been noted that administering 1% topical hydrocortisone cream can greatly reduce irritation caused by antiperspirants when used on the face.[3]

    Depending on the source of the information, it is recommended that patients either try anticholinergic medications or botox next if antiperspirants are not effective. Anticholinergic medications can be applied topically or taken in a pill form. This type of medication stops the body from producing sweat and is often used once local therapies have failed. Topical formulations of anticholinergic medications have the benefit that they cause less side effects than when the pill form is taken. Oral anticholinergics can cause systemic side effects and the benefits need to be weighed against the risks. For people with intense facial and upper lip sweating medications can provide much needed relief.[3]

    Botox offers another great option for treating craniofacial hyperhidrosis and it can be used to treat specific areas like the upper lip. The FDA has approved botox for the treatment of axillary hyperhidrosis, but it has been used with promising efficacy in patients with craniofacial hyperhidrosis. Unfortunately, complications can arise and muscles in the face can be weakened by botox exposure. This is why it is imperative to consult an experienced doctor and know the risks before undergoing any type of procedure. When upper lip sweating is treated by botox there is also a risk that patients may experience pursing of the lips or a change in speech patterns which are temporary side effects, but which can be serious. It is relatively uncommon for patients to experience side effects from the procedure and many get great results that allow them to live without symptoms for months at a time.[1]

    If patients have severe upper lip sweating and haven’t responded to any other treatments, there is a type of surgery that may be able to improve symptoms. This type of surgery is called endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy and it is typically used to relieve the symptoms of palmar hyperhidrosis. It has been found to be effective in people with craniofacial sweating, but should be used as a last result as it is an intensive and invasive procedure. Unfortunately, a side effect of the surgery called compensatory sweating may limit how beneficial the surgery is in terms of improving a person’s quality of life.[3]

    If you suffer from excessive upper lip sweat, it is important to find a way to manage your symptoms. There are effective treatments and they often greatly improve patient's quality of life.

    Sources
    1. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier
    2. Nicholas, R., Quddus, A., & Baker, D. M. (2015). Treatment of Primary Craniofacial Hyperhidrosis: A Systematic Review. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 16(5), 361-370. doi:10.1007/s40257-015-0136-6
    3. Craniofacial hyperhidrosis can usually be managed pharmacologically, but surgery may sometimes be needed. (2016). . Drugs & Therapy Perspectives, 32(5), 191-194. doi:10.1007/s40267-016-0282-9
    Try Carpe today, and together, let’s stand up to sweat!