You may wonder why your armpits sweat so much. Making lifestyle changes, like adjusting your diet and reducing caffeine intake, can help manage your sweating. Using topical antiperspirants might help, too.
If you’re bothered by how much you sweat, you’ve likely tried many different brands of deodorant with no success.
Excessive underarm sweating can be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be inevitable. There are many methods to prevent sweating, and many of them can be tried at home.
In some cases, people who sweat too much may have a condition called hyperhidrosis disorder, which is diagnosed and treated by a doctor. Hyperhidrosis involves profuse sweating all over the entire body — not just under the arms.
There are several natural, over-the-counter, and medical remedies that can reduce or eliminate excess underarm sweating. Consider the following tips:
1. Use topical antiperspirants
Tired of the sweat stains on your shirt? Try ditching your standard deodorant and switching to antiperspirant. Deodorant might kill the odor under your arms, but it’s not designed to stop you from sweating completely.
Antiperspirants both kill odor-causing bacteria and actively block your sweat glands from producing underarm sweat. This could help alleviate your discomfort.
For some people, however, over-the-counter antiperspirants don’t quite do the trick. If you find that regular antiperspirants don’t work for you, search for stronger antiperspirants with a higher amount of aluminum chloride, the active ingredient (at least 13 percent).
And if that doesn’t work, talk with your doctor about getting a prescription for stronger antiperspirant.
It’s also important to make sure you’re applying your antiperspirant correctly so that it can do its job as intended. This means you should:
- Only apply antiperspirant to dry, clean skin (don’t apply it to already-sweaty armpits or armpits that are still damp from showering).
- Use your antiperspirant at night, after you bathe, when your body is coolest; this allows the active ingredient to take its full effect.
- Shave under your arms, as hair can block antiperspirant from doing its job. (However, avoid applying it right after shaving, as antiperspirant can irritate your freshly shaved skin.)
- Give it time to work. It could take up to 4 days for you to experience the antiperspirant’s full effect.
2. Wait between showering and dressing
After you shower, wait a few minutes before you get dressed for the day. This is especially important if you take hot showers or live in a hot, humid climate.
Allowing your body to become cool and dry before you put on clothes could help prevent your underarms from sweating right after you bathe.
3. Shave your armpits
Shaving your underarms could reduce excessive sweating. Hair holds moisture, and underarm hair is no exception.
If you’re already experiencing heavy sweating under your arms, shaving is essential. And if you’re constantly fighting body odor alongside the sweat, shaving could also help reduce or eliminate it.
4. Avoid sweat-inducing foods
Did you know that your diet can impact how much you sweat? Some foods can cause your body to produce more sweat than others.
If you feel like you’re sweating too much, reducing or eliminating sweat-inducing foods in your diet could help.
Foods with a low fiber content force your digestive system to work overtime to break down your foods. A high sodium diet means your body will be detoxing all that salt in the form of excess urine and sweat. And eating foods that are high in fat causes your insides to warm as your body processes the fat.
Some other foods and beverages that could trigger sweaty armpits include:
- processed foods
- liquor and beer
- garlic and onions
- foods that have a high fat content
- hot, spicy dishes
- ice cream
5. Eat more foods that reduce sweat
Some foods can actually reduce the amount of sweat your body produces and calm overactive sweat glands in the process.
When looking to reduce sweat through your diet, it’s important to focus on foods that won’t tax your digestive system. You’ll also want to seek out foods that don’t overstimulate your nervous system and calm it instead.
Some sweat-reducing foods you might want to incorporate include:
- foods with a high calcium content (like dairy products and cheese)
- vegetables and fruits with high water content (e.g., watermelon, grapes, cantaloupe, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, bell pepper, eggplant, red cabbage)
- olive oil
- green tea
- sweet potatoes
6. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water and eating foods with a high water content can keep your body cool and prevent excessive underarm sweating.
7. Wear breathable, loose-fitting clothing
Wearing tight clothes — especially clothes that are snug beneath your arms — can cause underarm stains on your shirt. They can also make you sweat more.
Instead, try wearing fabrics that are breathable and clothes that fit more loosely. This will allow your underarms to cool properly and could help prevent them from sweating and staining your clothes.
8. Skip the caffeine
Caffeine stimulates the nervous system and increases sweating. It also causes your blood pressure to rise, raises your heart rate, and kicks your sweat glands into high gear.
And if you’re a fan of coffee or other hot drinks that contain caffeine, you could be in for an extra-sweaty day since hot drinks raise your body temperature and induce sweating. Try decreasing or eliminating caffeine altogether.
9. Stop smoking
The nicotine you take in when you smoke — much like caffeine — raises your body temperature, makes your heart beat faster, and causes your sweat glands to work overtime.
Smoking is associated with a host of other hygiene- and health-related concerns like bad breath, stained teeth, and cancer.
So, if you’re ready to reduce the excess sweat and improve your overall health, quitting smoking might be the answer for you.
10. Consider Botox injections or surgery
If other methods aren’t working, you might consider a medical procedure like Botox injections or surgery to stop excessive underarm sweating.
Research has shown that Botox injections are effective for treating excessive armpit sweating. Botox is a neurotoxin that a dermatologist can administer to block the communication from the sympathetic nerves that causes sweating.
The effects of Botox injections wear off, so the procedure will need to be repeated after time to remain effective.
There are several surgical options for treating hyperhidrosis, two of which are thoracic sympathectomy and sweat gland removal.
Thoracic sympathectomy is a minimally invasive surgery where the surgeon cuts the sympathetic nerves, so the nerves can’t send signals to the sweat glands. The sweat glands can also be removed through surgery by different surgical techniques including excision, curettage, and liposuction.
Excessive sweating occurs when nerves send signals to the sweat glands without being triggered by heat or physical exertion, and the sweat glands become overactive.
Some medical conditions also cause excessive sweating. Some of these conditions are heart disease, menopause, stroke, hyperthyroidism, cancer, and more.
Excessive sweating is also a side effect of several medications. Consult your doctor if you suspect you’re experiencing excessive sweating from a medical condition or medication.
Make an appointment with your doctor if home and over-the-counter remedies are ineffective.
In some cases, you may need a special prescription antiperspirant. Treatments like Botox injections are available when you’ve exhausted your options. Your doctor will guide you toward the best options for your body.
It’s possible to make some changes to your habits to minimize how frequently you sweat. Making lifestyle changes, like adjusting your diet and reducing caffeine intake, can help manage your sweating. Using topical antiperspirants might help too.
If these methods aren’t working, talk to your doctor about whether you should try Botox injections or another medical procedure to stop your sweating. With the right approach, you should be enjoying drier, more comfortable underarms again soon.