If you sweat excessively from your head and face, in particular, you may have a condition known as craniofacial hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis means sweating more than is necessary to maintain a normal body temperature. It can range in severity from dampness to dripping.
If you find that your face and head are very sweaty on a regular basis, even when you are not hot, stressed, exercising, or eating spicy food, you may be experiencing this condition.
Excessive sweating of the head and face can feel frustrating or make you uncomfortable in social situations. The good news is there are a number of possible treatment options.
There are two main types of hyperhidrosis: primary and secondary.
Primary hyperhidrosis is the most common type. It means the excessive sweating is not caused by a medical condition, physical activity, or increased temperature. It typically affects the hands, feet, head, and face. It can occur in other parts of the body as well.
Secondary hyperhidrosis is related to a medical condition or medication that causes excessive sweating, such as:
While hyperhidrosis can occur in any part of the body, there are a large number of sweat glands in the face and scalp. So, if you are prone to excessive sweating, it may be more noticeable in those areas.
One study found that 30 to 50 percent of people who experience this type of sweating have a family history of it.
If you find that your face is frequently dripping with sweat, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor. They can help determine if your sweating is actually due to a medical condition, which could be serious.
If your doctor determines that your sweating is not related to another medical condition, they can help you figure out the best treatment option for you.
While excessive face and head sweating may occur in unusual situations such as during cold weather or when you are not exercising, there are a number of factors that could trigger the sweating. These triggers include:
- hot weather
- stress or anxiety
- strong emotions such as anger or fear
- eating spicy foods
- exercise, even mild activity
While experiencing excessive sweating can be frustrating, there are a large number of treatment options available that can help. Some of these options include:
- Over-the-counter antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride.
- Prescription antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride hexahydrate. These strong antiperspirants may be irritating to the sensitive skin of the face and head. Your doctor should be able to help you develop a regimen to manage the sweating and also care for your skin.
- Botox injections can be used to decrease the activity of nerves affecting the sweat glands. It may take several treatments for the injections to begin working, but they can help with symptoms for up to 12 months.
- Oral medications known as anticholinergics decrease sweating over your entire body. They may have side effects such as constipation, urinary retention, dizziness, and dry mouth.
- Certain antidepressant medications may reduce sweating and help address anxiety that triggers sweating episodes. Be aware that there are some antidepressants that may actually cause you to sweat more.
- Oral medications known as beta blockers and benzodiazepines may block the physical signs of anxiety, such as sweating.
Other treatment possibilities
There are a few other treatment options that are not typically used for the face, but are still worth exploring with your doctor. Those include:
- Lontophoresis is a procedure that involves running low-level electrical current through your body while you are submerged in water. This is most effective for sweating of the hands, feet, and armpits.
- Surgery to remove sweat glands is another treatment option for hyperhidrosis, although it’s primarily used for excessive sweating from the armpits.
- Sympathectomy is a procedure where some of the nerves triggering your sweat glands are cut, decreasing the signals for sweat production.
In addition to medications and procedures, there are a number of things you can try to help reduce excessive head and face sweating. Some of these at-home remedies include:
- bathing frequently to reduce skin bacteria and moisture
- applying antiperspirant before bed and in the morning
- keeping a soft, absorbent towel in your bag, desk, or car to help dry excess sweat
- using plain, unscented face powder to help absorb moisture
- avoiding spicy foods and caffeine, both of which can increase sweating
- avoiding hot temperatures or dressing too warmly
- wearing breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics
- staying well-hydrated
- carrying a small handheld or clip-on fan to help keep your face cool and dry
- eating smaller, more frequent meals to help regulate digestion, which produces heat
- not exercise immediately before work or other social activities, as sweating may continue for some time after exercise
Many health insurance companies will help cover prescription medications to treat hyperhidrosis.
Some insurance companies may help cover more invasive treatments, such as Botox. You can call your insurance company or read your benefits guide to find out if your insurance plan will help cover these treatments. If not, there are patient assistance programs for people wishing to receive Botox treatment.
If you are having difficulty getting insurance coverage for the treatment your doctor is recommending, they may be able to help you submit a letter of medical necessity explaining why this treatment is important and necessary.
Participating in research studies may be another way to receive treatment at no cost.
It’s important to work with a dermatologist who is familiar with this type of sweating and can help you find the best treatment option for you.
Craniofacial hyperhidrosis is a condition that causes excessive sweating of the head, face, and scalp. The amount of sweat produced is more than the body needs for temperature regulation, and may be very bothersome.
There are a number of effective treatment options available. If you feel embarrassed or frustrated by excessive sweating from your face and head, speak with your doctor or a dermatologist to determine the cause and best treatment for you.