Sweating is a natural body function. Everyone does it. Mother Nature flips the sweat switch to help cool off our bodies. However, when a person’s excessive sweating becomes a daily headache and continual embarrassment, it is most likely hyperhidrosis.
Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, is a health condition that affects 15 million people in the United States alone. Those suffering from hyperhidrosis tend to sweat up to five times more than the average person.
While there is no cure for hyperhidrosis, there are ways to treat and manage the symptoms with natural products, holistic treatments, and lifestyle adjustments. We’ve collected some of the most popular and effective natural remedies and solutions. They range from nutritional supplements to household applications to specialized clothing.
Learn More about Hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, is a condition that falls into one of two categories:
Primary focal hyperhidrosis: Excessive sweating is the primary medical condition, and is not caused by another condition nor a medication side effect. Primary focal hyperhidrosis is believed to have a large genetic component.
- Secondary generalized hyperhidrosis: Excessive sweating is the result of another underlying medical condition, including gout, obesity, Parkinson's disease, pregnancy and menopause. It can also occur as a side effect of medication.
The main difference between primary and secondary hyperhidrosis is that people with secondary hyperhidrosis tend to experience generalized sweating in large areas of the body, including at night.
People with primary hyperhidrosis typically sweat from their hands, feet, underarms, groin and face (where a large proportion of sweat glands can be found). They also tend not to sweat excessively while sleeping.
Hyperhidrosis can be incredibly frustrating and embarrassing, and managing symptoms can be exhausting. Common symptoms include:
- Excessive sweating
- Sweat that soaks through clothing
- Peeling or discoloration of the skin in areas where sweating frequently occurs
- Recurrent cases of athlete's foot and other types of skin infections
- Frequently clammy hands or feet
Impact of Excessive Sweat
Sweat and Odor: Eccrine glands usually produce odorless, watery sweat, but when it comes into contact with bacteria commonly found on the surface of the skin, sweat can create smells. If you have primary hyperhidrosis, you probably don’t suffer from the additional challenge of stronger body odor. The watery consistency produced by the eccrine glands helps to wash away odor-causing bacteria. However, if you allow the sweat to dry on your skin, this can produce unpleasant odors.
- Emotional and Social: Symptoms from hyperhidrosis can lead to a considerable amount of self-consciousness, social anxiety, embarrassment and overall disruptions in a person's life. People may avoid certain jobs or other activities because of their sweating. For this reason, finding natural, effective, safe and affordable treatments is extremely important to the people living with this condition.
Natural Remedies and Treatments for Hyperhidrosis
At Ejis, we believe that no one should feel embarrassed about something as natural as sweating. Many people choose to treat the symptoms of hyperhidrosis with natural remedies instead of opting for more expensive or invasive medical treatments.
We recommend consulting a doctor before starting any natural treatment to discuss possible contraindications.
Lifestyle changes, including dietary modifications, can minimize excessive perspiration. In general, the most important way to help manage hyperhidrosis symptoms is to practice in good hygiene. This includes thoroughly washing and drying areas of the body where you sweat the most, followed by the application of natural astringents to reduce the risk of skin infections. (See specific examples below.) Additionally, refraining from smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol helps reduce excessive sweating.
Diet and Lifestyle Adjustments
Many people find making simple adjustments to their diets have helped relieve the symptoms of hyperhidrosis. Suggestions include:
- Trying out a gluten-free diet.
- Following a diet low in carbohydrates.
- Reducing sodium intake.
- Daily drinking 13 or more cups of water to stay hydrated and cool.
- Eating foods that aid in digestion, including bell peppers, celery, cucumbers, grapefruit, leafy greens, olive oil and watermelon.
- Taking vitamin B supplements.
- Daily drinking wheatgrass juice.
- Sipping on chamomile Tea to help reduce anxiety.
- Drinking a glass of water mixed with 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of honey on an empty stomach.
Certain foods and beverages actually activate sweat glands and/or attribute to stifling sweat odor. It is in your best interest to limit or avoid:
- hot peppers
- raw onions
- large amounts of garlic
- deep fried, fatty foods
- chemically processed foods
- alcoholic beverages
Holistic Treatments and Herbal Supplements
While more studies need to be conducted on the effectiveness of the following alternative remedies, they are generally considered to be safe and reasonably affordable. Some of these are known to reduce the production of sweat, while others help manage the emotional impact caused by hyperhidrosis.
- Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese holistic practice of inserting hair-thin needles into specific points in the body. It is used to treat various medical conditions and symptoms. Based on a report published in Acupuncture in Medicine, it was found to be especially successful in treating primary focal hyperhidrosis.
- Black cohosh, a medicinal herb, can be beneficial to women who suffer from secondary generalized hyperhidrosis caused by menopause. Black cohosh is known to improve symptoms of menopause.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy may effectively relieve excessive sweating caused by anxiety and/or stress. It may also help those who suffer from anxiety, depression, embarrassment caused by their hyperhidrosis.
- Schisandra is an herbal remedy made from dried fruit, and is used to treat night sweats and spontaneous sweating.
- St. John’s wort, a plant-based tincture, is known to help ease symptoms of depression and menopause, which may cause secondary generalized hyperhidrosis.
- Valerian root, also known as nature’s valium, can be beneficial in reducing anxiety and reducing symptoms of menopause.
Simple Home Applications
In addition to trying holistic treatments and supplements, check out these inexpensive and easy home remedies that help combat excessive sweating and control odor.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Use as a natural astringent by applying it to your skin with a cotton ball before bed, and washing it off in the morning. This helps to control sweating and reduce odor-causing bacteria.
- Baking Soda: Use as a natural deodorant by mixing baking soda with an equal part of cornstarch and applying it to clean dry underarms. Repeat several times a day to get the best results. This is effective in absorbing sweat, lowering pH levels and blocking odors.
- Lemon Juice: Use as a natural deodorant by applying fresh lemon to your underarms at night.
- Sage and Black Tea: Use as a topical treatment by steeping for several minutes, cooling to room temperature and then applying it to affected areas. You can also prepare enough to soak your hands and/or feet. Repeat several times a day, if needed. This helps to control sweating and reduce odor-causing bacteria because the tannic acid in the tea constricts and reduces pores.
- Witch Hazel: Use as a natural astringent by applying with a cotton pad and removing after 30 minutes. Repeat several times a day. This is one of the preferred treatments for sweaty faces.
- Epsom Salts Bath: Acts as an astringent to reduce sweating and can also help with odor. Soak for 20 minutes in a warm bath with two cups of Epson salt once or twice a week.
Wardrobe Additions and Alterations
One of the most embarrassing aspects of hyperhidrosis is sweating through clothing, leaving visible wet marks for the world to see.
To help reduce or limit the occurrence of sweat marks and pit stains, Ejis® created sweat proof boxer briefs and undershirts designed specifically for people suffering from hyperhidrosis. Our sweat proof undergarments feature a waterproof layer designed to protect clothing from wet marks. They are made from soft micro modal or cotton material fused with odor-fighting silver. Ejis undergarments make it possible for people with hyperhidrosis to wear clothes they usually avoid.
Other wardrobe changes to help minimize the appearance of sweat marks include:
- Wearing darker colored clothes and patterned fabrics.
- Choosing clothing made from breathable and/or natural, moisture-wicking fabrics.
- Avoiding fabrics made from polyester and acrylic.
- Steering clear from brightly colored or medium toned fabrics.
Finding an effective treatment for hyperhidrosis and its symptoms takes time and patience. Using all-natural solutions may be the most effective, affordable and safe way to treat and manage excessive sweating… and the first step to finding a sense of normalcy again.