When sweating reaches epic proportions, you need something more than pedestrian store-shelf antiperspirants. You need a heavy weight contender – a prescription, or prescription “strength” antiperspirant. Here’s your guide to prescription-only and clinical strength antiperspirants.

prescription antiperspirant

What is prescription antiperspirant?

As the name implies, prescription antiperspirants require a prescription and a doctor’s supervision. They cannot be purchased anywhere but a pharmacy. The concentration of active aluminum ingredient in these products is generally around 20%. Prescription options are not to be taken lightly. Misuse of prescription antiperspirants can lead to serious unwanted side effects. (we’ll talk about this later)

How does prescription antiperspirant work?

All antiperspirants, regardless of brand name or strength level, use aluminum salt as the active ingredient. The most common aluminum salt compounds found in today’s antiperspirants are aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum chloride hexaydrate and aluminum zirconium tricholorhydrex glycine.

While the effectiveness of these varies, each of these aluminum compounds works to reduce sweating in the same basic way. When they get close to water, in this case perspiration, they soak up the moisture and thicken into a gel-like substance. By spreading aluminum chloride, or one of its cousins, on areas that sweat, the resulting reaction forms a gel-like plug that blocks the sweat glands and prevents sweat from reaching the skin’s surface. Once this happens the body’s feedback mechanism stops the flow of perspiration.

The plugs dissipate over time and the sweat glands begin to function as before. That’s when the antiperspirant must be reapplied. Depending on the strength of the antiperspirant, the reapplication time may range from several hours to several days.

Prescription Antiperspirant vs. Prescription “Strength” Antiperspirant. Is there a difference?

It’s not uncommon for people to confuse the two. But they are different.

Prescription strength simply means really strong. A prescription strength antiperspirant will have more Aluminum salts or use a more potent form of Aluminum. For example, Aluminum Chloride is a lot stronger than Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex (Used in antiperspirants like Dove, Old Spice and Degree.)

Most clinical and prescription strength products will use Aluminum Chloride (usually around 12%-15%)

Prescription Strength and Clinical Strength are often used interchangeably, but they’re pretty much the same thing.

Prescription-only antiperspirants are even stronger, require a prescription, and can only be purchased at a pharmacy. They usually contain a higher concentration of Aluminum Chloride (20% or more) and can be more effective in extreme sweating cases. Last of all, a prescription option will most likely carry with it additional health risks and side effects. (more on this below…)

Prescription Antiperspirant Options:

Some of the more common prescription antiperspirant brands include:

  • Drysol is a popular prescription antiperspirant designed to treat hyperhidrosis and excessive sweating. Can be used on the underarms, scalp, hands, and feet. Active Ingredient: Aluminum chloride hexahydrate (20%)
  • Xerac AC is a topical, prescription-only treatment designed for use on the underarms, palms and feet.
    Active Ingredient: Aluminum Chloride Hexahydrate (6.25%)
  • Formalaz is a sweating treatment specifically designed to combat foot odor and sweat. A prescription-only option for plantar hyperhidrosis or foot sweating. Active ingredient: Formaldehyde (10%)

Prescription antiperspirant is strong stuff and should only be considered after exhausting all other over-the-counter hyperhidrosis and excessive sweating treatments.

Best Prescription Strength Antiperspirant Products:

Try some of these popular prescription strength and clinical strength antiperspirants before resorting to prescription-only. Many of these products can be purchased online via Amazon or at your local drug store.

  • SweatBlock Clinical Antiperspirant
    “When nothing else works!” The original 7-day antiperspirant. Formulated to reduce excessive sweating and axillary hyperhidrosis. According to users, SweatBlock keeps you dry for an average of 6.4 days and seems to work when nothing else will.
    Effective for: Armpit sweating and hyperhidrosis
    Application: Towelette (wipe)
    Active Ingredient: Aluminum Chloride (14%)
  • Driclor
    This another over-the-counter prescription strength option. It’s made in Australia and can be used for treating excessive sweating of the hands, feet and armpits. If you’re worried about sweat stains in your shirt, you’ll want to avoid this one.
    Effective for: Hands, Feet, and Armpit Sweatin
    Application: Roll-on
    Active Ingredient: Aluminum hexahydrate (20%)
  • Certain Dri Prescription Strength
    The strongest antiperspirant in the Certain Dri family. Designed for underarm use and can last up to 72 hours per application.
    Effective for: Underarm Sweating / Axillary Hyperhidrosis
    Application: Roll-on
    Active Ingredient: Aluminum Chloride (12%)
  • Odaban Antiperspirant Spray
    Offers 24-hour protection and may be the strongest non prescription antiperspirant available. It contains high concentrations of aluminum chloride which can increase effectiveness. But with increased effectiveness comes increased chance for skin irritation and burning.
    Effective for: Armpits, Hands, Feet
    Application: Spray
    Active Ingredient: Aluminum chloride (20%)
  • Maxim Prescription Strength Antiperspirant
    Over the counter hyperhidrosis treatment designed for underarm use.
    Effective for: Underarm Sweating / Axillary Hyperhidrosis
    Application: Roll-on
    Active Ingredient: Aluminum Chloride (15%)
  • ZeroSweat Antiperspirant AKA “Z Sweat” or “0 Sweat”
    For excessive sweating. This Certain Dri knock-off claims to “Keep You Dry – Guaranteed”.
    Application: Roll-on
    Active Ingredient: Aluminum Chloride (15%)

If none of the above options work for you, it’s time to look at a prescription only product.

Should I Use a Prescription Strength Antiperspirant?

Choosing a prescription antiperspirant isn’t the same as picking out a pair of shoes or doing price comparisons on vacuum cleaners.

This is a personal question and you and your doctor are the only ones qualified to tackle it. But here’s a few things to consider as you venture down the path of prescription hyperhidrosis treatments.

How severe is your sweating? You wouldn’t be here reading this fascinating article if sweat wasn’t somewhat excessive. But how bad is it? If it’s an occasional inconvenience, you probably don’t need prescription strength. If profuse sweating has transformed you into a cave-dwelling hermit who avoids all social interaction, you’re barking up the right tree.

Which sweating treatments have you already tried? Again, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably tried A LOT. But if you’ve only experimented with Old Spice and Degree, you still have a lot of non prescription options on the table. It’s best to exhaust all over-the-counter antiperspirant options before reaching for a prescription solution.

Have you talked to your doctor? Your doctor will be able to help you more than any blog post or article. If you’ve tried everything and nothing seems relieve your excessive sweating, talk to your doctor about available prescription anti-perspirants.

Ultimately, your doctor will know which antiperspirant options are safe and can guide you through the process of finding one that works best for your body chemistry and severity of sweating.

Prescription Antiperspirant Risks & Side Effects:

The best part about prescription anti-perspirants is that they’re super strong. The worst part… they come with side effects and potential health risks like:

  • Allergic reactions like hives, rash, itching, chest tightness, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat.
  • Severe burning, itching, redness or swelling of treated areas.

These precautions should be observed when using Prescription antiperspirants:

  • Always consult a doctor before using any Prescription antiperspirant.
  • Tell your doctor if you are using Antabuse (disulfiram) before using.
  • Do not use any other deodorant or antiperspirant (unless your doctor says otherwise)
  • Avoid getting Prescription antiperspirant in your eyes, nose, mouth or on your lips.
  • Do not use any antiperspirant on irritated or broken skin.
  • Wait at least 24 to 48 hours when applying to shaved areas.
  • Prescription antiperspirants may stain clothing and metal surfaces.
  • It is not known if the use of Drysol and other Prescription antiperspirants may harm an unborn baby.

Alternative Treatments to Prescription Antiperspirant:

It might be worth exploring outside the realm of prescription antiperspirant. Hyperhidrosis has been around for a long time and many treatments have been developed over the years. Their effectiveness varies, but some have proven very efficient at stopping embarrassing sweat. Here’s a few of them…

  • Clinical Strength Antiperspirants. Over-the-counter clinical antiperspirants are stronger than your average Dove or Speedstick, but don’t require a doctor and don’t come with as many side effects or potential health risks. We like this one (wink… wink)
  • Qbrexza Cloth. A prescription-only treatment for axillary hyperhdirosis. This medicated cloth is designed for underarm topical use. It contains a nerve blocking solution that stops underarm sweat in its tracks. It can be extremely effective, but comes with a long list of unwanted side effects.
  • Iontophoresis is a treatment that uses electric currents in water to drive medications into the skin. Can be very effective, yet very expensive.
  • Botox injections in affected areas can curtail sweating for months before they must be repeated. Effective, but painful and not permanent.
  • Miradry is a procedure that uses microwaves to nuke your sweat glands. No more sweat glands leads to no more sweat.

Do you suffer from chronic, excessive sweating? Hyperhidrosis, the official medical term for profuse sweating, affects millions here in the USA and around the world. Antiperspirants with aluminum chloride are the first line of defense against extreme sweating.

6 Things You Should Know About Aluminum Chloride

  • What is aluminum chloride?
  • How does aluminum chloride stop sweating?
  • Is aluminum chloride safe? False claims debunked
  • What are the side effects of aluminum chloride and how to minimize them?
  • Other forms of aluminum used in antiperspirants
  • Discovery and history of aluminum chloride

aluminum chloride facts

What is aluminum chloride?

(Read on with caution – scientific terms to follow)

The chemical formula for aluminum chloride is AICI3. As its name implies, it is a chemical compound of aluminum and chlorine. For you chemistry buffs, AICI3 has three electrons in its valence shell. It forms a covalent compound with chlorine. It doesn’t form an octet by combining with chlorine, so it can take 2 more electrons. This makes it a Lewis Acid (Lewis acid is a compound that can take an electron from a donor compound.) Whew!

The molar mass of aluminum chloride is 133.34 g/mole. (What the heck is a mole?) A mole is a unit of measurement used by chemists. It indicates the number of atoms, ions, molecules, etc., in a given chemical sample. Fun fact: Aluminum chloride can exist as a solid, liquid or gas.

Aluminum chloride is classified as an aluminum salt. It is found naturally in rocks that were formed as the earth was born. It can also be synthesized. As a solid, it is a coarse white powder. Often it is found contaminated with iron which gives it a yellow color. Aluminum chloride has a low melting point, and a low boiling point as well. It is highly reactive when it comes into contact with water. It has a strong, sharp odor, and can’t burn or catch on fire.

The uses of aluminum chloride are varied and include the production of pure aluminum metal. Large amounts are also produced for use in other industries too. It is used in the making of paint, synthetic rubber and in making petrochemicals. Aluminum chloride is found in nail strengtheners and air fresheners, and it can also treat wastewater. It has a lot of uses!

Most importantly, aluminum chloride is used to make antiperspirants, which offers the greatest benefit of all — it helps stop excessive sweating. By the way, if you’re looking for a strong antiperspirant, this one works pretty good 😉

How does aluminum chloride stop sweating?

There are two types of sweat glands found in your body, apocrine and eccrine. The eccrine sweat glands are far more numerous. They’re responsible for most of the sweat your body produces.

When an antiperspirant like SweatBlock is applied to the underarms (or other areas of the body), aluminum ions are absorbed. Dr. Eric Hanson of the University of North Carolina’s Department of Dermatology says, “The aluminum ions are taken into the cells that line the eccrine-gland ducts as the opening of the epidermis, the top layer of the skin.”

Dr. Louis Kuchnir, a physical chemist who practices in Marlborough, Massachusetts, describes the process in more detail. He explains that an aluminum chloride molecule can bind six water molecules. It can also tightly bind additional layers of 12-20 water molecules, “making the water very viscous such that the weak muscles that push sweat out of our sweat glands are unable to move the sweat to the surface of our skin,” he says.

Dr. Kuchnir continues, “When aluminum chloride gets close to water, it soaks it up and thickens it. By spreading it over the areas that perspire, it thickens the water in the top of the duct where the sweat’s coming out, and that thickening, like a gel, will block it.”

In layman’s terms, aluminum chloride and other aluminum compounds react to sweat. The resulting reaction forms a gel-like plug that blocks sweat from reaching the skin’s surface.

There you have it. That’s how antiperspirants with aluminum chloride work. Isn’t medical science amazing?

Is aluminum chloride safe? False claims debunked

You may have read something somewhere or heard rumors asserting that aluminium chloride is not safe. Some deeply flawed studies have linked its use to breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and even kidney disease.

So, what’s the truth?

The International Hyperhidrosis Society notes that aluminum chloride has been safely used for over 80 years and has proven to be effective and non-toxic.

Let’s briefly consider one of the most persistent rumors: Aluminum chloride in antiperspirants causes breast cancer. This is simply not true.

The authors of these now discredited studies asserted that the chemicals in antiperspirants, including aluminum chloride, are absorbed through the skin in the underarms. They claimed the chemicals then interact with DNA creating malignant mutations.

Because most breast cancers begin in the upper and outer portion of the breast, the region closest to the armpit where antiperspirants are used, they assumed antiperspirants must be responsible for some breast cancers.

Not so!

“Why you would think that antiperspirant would somehow go upstream and get into your lymph nodes and then somehow get into the breast is unclear,” states Dr. Timothy J. Moynihan. Dr. Moynihan, an oncologist, serves as the Education Chair and consultant for the Division of Medical Oncology at the Mayo Clinic. “It doesn’t make sense other than the fact that it’s in the neighborhood.”

Any claims that aluminum chloride in antiperspirants can also be responsible for Alzheimer’s disease and kidney disease have been similarly disproven. “These products can be used with high confidence of their safety. They’ve been used for many years, and there’s no evidence that suggests a problem,” states John Bailey, Ph.D., Chief Scientist with the Personal Care Products Council.

There’s much more reliable information available regarding the safety of aluminum chloride.

What are the side effects of aluminum chloride and how to minimize them?

The possible side effects of aluminum chloride are mild. The most commonly reported side effects are itching or a mild burning immediately after application. Tingling or a prickly sensation are also common side effects. These are short-lived and normally disappear shortly after application. If skin irritation persists you should talk to your doctor.

The possibility of itching, burning or tingling or other skin irritation due to aluminum chloride in deodorants or antiperspirants can be minimized by observing these precautions:

  • Wait 24 to 48 hours after shaving before applying.
  • Never apply an aluminum chloride antiperspirant to broken or infected skin.
  • Let your underarms or other areas where antiperspirant has been applied to completely air dry before putting on your clothing.

For people with extremely sensitive skin, aluminum chloride antiperspirants or antiperspirant deodorants may not be a viable solution.

Other forms of aluminum used in antiperspirants

While aluminum chloride is the most common aluminum compound used in today’s antiperspirants, there are other forms of aluminum that are also used to reduce sweating and treat hyperhidrosis. They are:

  • Aluminum Chlorohydrate (also known as Aluminium Chlorohydrate).
  • Aluminum Zirconium Tricholorohydrex Glycine
  • Aluminum Chloride Hexahydrate
  • Aluminum Hydroxybromid

All of these aluminum salts work in the same fashion as aluminum chloride. However, not all forms of Aluminum are created equal. Some forms are stronger than others and may have longer lasting results. For example, an antiperspirant with 10% aluminum chloride is not the same as an antiperspirant with 10% aluminum zirconium.

Discovery and history of aluminum chloride

Aluminum chloride was discovered in 1825 by Hans Christian Oersted, a distinguished Danish physicist and chemist. It is one of the oldest chemicals used in organic chemistry.

Aluminum salts were marketed as an antiperspirant as early as 1903 in a product named Everdry. Another notable and popular brand was Odo-ro-no, invented by a Cincinnati surgeon who suffered from sweaty hands. His daughter promoted Odo-ro-no throughout the country. Her company embarked upon an aggressive marketing campaign in 1919 featuring ads highlighting “a subject too often avoided.” That subject was the foul-smelling underarms of women. The popularity of Odo-ro-no skyrocketed and sales doubled almost overnight.

Three years previous to the debut of Odo-ro-no, an Illinois dermatologist, Arthur W. Stillians, published a cure for profuse sweating. Dr. Stillians observes, “the knowledge that an unpleasant odor clings to one makes the sensitive person dread to meet others.” Those who suffer from hyperhidrosis will confirm Dr. Stillian’s statement. Hyperhidrosis messes up the lives of those who have it— emotionally, physically, and socially.

This was a time when people with hyperhidrosis symptoms were often dosed with X-rays. But instead of zapping his patients with dangerous radiation, Stillians offered a much better solution in the form of a revolutionary hyperhidrosis treatment: An aluminum chloride cream that could be applied three times a week to the underarms. He wrote in a medical journal of the period, “In 20 cases in which I have used this lotion, it has never failed to give relief.” It was a harbinger of things to come.

Unfortunately, both Stillian and Odo-ro-no suffered from a common problem. The aluminum chloride contained in these early products could stain clothing and irritate the skin. Stillians notes in his medical journal, “The drug is not wholly bland. For excessive use of it will cause a sharp itching or stinging sensation.”

It would be 1940 before anyone found a way to reduce the unpleasant side effects of antiperspirants made with aluminum chloride. A chemist, Jules Montenier, found a way to buffer the acidity. He filed a patent for the process and an antiperspirant product called Stopette, (great name, BTW) was introduced. In postwar America, a significant uptick in office life led to the increased popularity of deodorants and antiperspirants. In the early 1950’s, roll-ons were born. Aerosol products hit store shelves in the late 1960’s. Today the deodorant and antiperspirant market is almost $76 billion worldwide.

It’s worth noting that while Everdry was the first antiperspirant, deodorants were actually introduced much earlier. They smelled nice but didn’t stop sweating. In the 1860’s, doctors found that certain chemicals used as disinfectants could eliminate body odor. A commercially available disinfectant made specifically for armpits found its way into the market in 1888. It was called Mum (another great name).

In conclusion

It’s easy for people who DON’T sweat excessively to say things like “Antiperspirant is sooo bad!”

For those who suffer with hyperhidrosis, aluminum-based antiperspirants can be life-changing (in a good way). It works non-invasively to eliminate or significantly reduce profuse sweating for millions of people around the world.

According to qualified experts, aluminum chloride is safe. It’s been tested for over eight decades. Study after study demonstrates that there is no connection between antiperspirants and breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease or any other malady. The American Cancer Society and the International Hyperhidrosis Society, among others, attest to its safety and efficacy.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a prescription-only drug designed to treat axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive armpit sweating). This hyperhirosis medicine is called Qbrexza (or Qbrexza Cloth), and it is manufactured by Dermira. Qbrexza Cloth will be available to the public sometime in October of 2018.

New hyperhidrosis treatments are encouraging and welcome. Let’s look at this newly approved treatment and it’s application(s) and potential side effects.

What Should Know Before Trying Qbrexza:

  • What is Qbrexza?
  • How does Qbrexza work? How does it reduce sweating?
  • How to use Qbrexza
  • Who should use Qbrexza?
  • Why is Qbrexza only available by prescription?
  • What is the difference between Qbrexza’s ingredients and clinical-strength antiperspirants like SweatBlock?
  • How is Qbrexza different from other Anticholinergic drugs (focused topical treatment vs generalized oral treatment)?
  • What are the side effects of Qbrexza?
  • Qbrexza risks and warnings
  • Where can you purchase Qbrexza?
  • Who makes Qbrexza and what do I need to know about Dermira
  • Are there Qbrexza alternatives?

Over 15 million in the United States suffer from excessive sweating ( hyperhidrosis ). Many of these people suffer in silence. And fewer than 40% ever seek help for their excessive perspiration.

☝️ Wondering why you might be sweating more than normal?
Here are 12 possible reasons people sweat so much.

Hyperhidrosis is normally not life-threatening, but it can l be profoundly life-altering. People who suffer from extreme cases of excessive sweating find that it reeks havoc on the social, emotional and occupational facets of their lives. It turns outgoing social butterflies into a cave-dwelling introverts who may feel like lighting a candle and waiting until it’s all over.

There are many treatments available for axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweating). The newest is Qbrexza Cloth. Qbrexza Cloth is a prescription drug specifically designed for topical use on the underarm area. If you sweat excessively, you might consider making a trip to your doctor to see if you are a potential candidate.

This guide is designed to answer your questions about Qbrexza: how it works and what side effects can be expected and even anticipated. What follows will help you make an informed decision.

What is Qbrexza?

Qbrexza is a medicated wipe or towelette that is topically applied to the underarms to reduce excessive armpit sweating. Available only by prescription, it is a topically applied anticholinergic medicine for the treatment of primary axillary hyperhidrosis (extreme focal sweating).

How does Qbrexza work? How does it reduce sweating?

Qbrexza contains an anticholinergic drug called glycopyrronium. Anticholinergic drugs prevent your body’s nervous system from communicating with certain other cells. In this instance, the glycopyrronium blocks your body from activating your sweat glands. As an analogy, imagine cutting the cable on your computer’s wired keyboard. Whatever you type on the keyboard will be blocked from getting to the computer because of the broken connection. That’s how Qbrexza works.

How to Use Qbrexza

The Qbrexza cloth is applied by swabbing the affected underarm area every 24 hours with a saturated wipe. If effective as intended, the medicated Qbrexza wipe will prevent armpit sweat glands from activating. Because Qbrexza is a powerful prescription drug, your doctor may have additional instructions for its safe use. As with other topical axillary hyperhidrosis treatments, Dermira recommends that Qbrexza be used only on clean, dry skin AND never on broken or irritated skin.

Should you use Qbrexza?

Qbrexza is specifically designed for those who suffer from axillary hyperhidrosis or excessive underarm sweating. As with many prescription drugs, Qbrexza is accompanied with a entourage of potential unwanted side effects and warnings. It should only be considered after you’ve exhausted all other lower-risk treatment options.

You should never use prescription drugs without first consulting your doctor. (And never use a prescription that hasn’t been prescribed for you personally.) Qbrexza’s maker also recommends its use for patients aged 9 and older. Clinical testing on children younger than 9 years is inconclusive. Its safety and effectiveness for young children are unknown.

Why is Qbrexza only available by prescription?

Qbrexza contains the active ingredient glycopyrronium, an anticholinergic drug. This drug has been previously available as an oral medication for treating diseases unrelated to hyperhidrosis. It’s use as a treatment for hyperhidrosis has been “off label” meaning that it was not specifically intended to treat excessive sweating. Neurotransmitter-blocking anticholinergic drugs like glycopyrronium were initially prescribed for the treatment of COPD, asthma, incontinence, and other types of gastrointestinal issues.

Qbrexza is the first topical application of glycopyrronium specifically intended for the treatment of hyperhidrosis. The side effect warnings for applying the drug topically are the same as when the drug is taken by mouth.

What is the difference between Qbrexza’s ingredients and clinical strength antiperspirants?

Clinical strength antiperspirants available over the counter use some form of the active ingredient aluminum chloride. It has proven effective for over 80 years and does not require a doctor’s prescription. Potential side effects of the antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride are minor, localized, and short-lived.

Because Qbrexza uses the active ingredient glycopyrronium, there are potentially very serious warnings and side effects. Other less risk-prone treatments may offer as much efficacy as Qbrexza.

How is Qbrexza different from other Anticholinergic drugs?

As mentioned before, Qbrexza is the only anticholinergic drug currently approved by the FDA specifically for the treatment of hyperhidrosis. Both the oral anticholinergic and the topical anticholinergic in Qbrexza utilize the same drug. Orally administered anticholinergics affect the entire body. The topical formulation applied locally on your armpits is intended to be more focused. Either way the anticholinergic is absorbed into your system. There is a high risk for negative side effects in both the oral and topical treatments.

What are side effects of Qbrexza?

Patients with certain medical conditions should avoid glycopyrronium, both in oral and topically-applied forms, as with Qbrexza Cloth. The use of anticholinergics for these people can have dire health consequences.

These include patients with conditions such as:

  • Glaucoma
  • Unstable cardiovascular status
  • Paralytic ileus
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Toxic megacolon
  • Sjogren’s syndrome

Caution: Dermira recommends that Qbrexza medication should not be used while taking any other anticholinergic drug. There could be a resultant additive effect that will increase the adverse side effects of other anticholinergic medications.

Possible side effects of Qbrexza

The possible side effects of Qbrexza and other anticholinergic drugs include:

  • Dry mouth. Dry mouth was the most commonly reported side effect in the clinical Qbrexza trials. 24.2% of trial subjects reported dry mouth– a 1 in 4 chance.
  • Constipation. Because anticholinergic drugs affect the central nervous system, constipation is a frequent side effect. You may need to use a laxative while using Qbrexza.
  • Urinary retention (trouble peeing). If you have a history of trouble urinating, or if you have difficulty passing urine now, or you have a distended bladder, you should proceed with great caution when considering the use of Qbrexza. If you experience any urinary troubles, tell your doctor. Anyone with bladder neck obstruction or prostatic hypertrophy should exercise extreme caution. When Qbrexza was tested in the clinical trials, people who had a history of any urinary retention problems were excluded from the study.
  • Blurred vision. in the clinical trials of Qbrexza, mydriasis or dilation of the pupils in the eyes was reported nearly 7% of study participants. This is why it’s dangerous to drive or operate machinery. Be careful and safe. If you experience any vision problems while using Qbrexza, immediately discontinue activity until your vision clears. It will pass. Wait it out.
  • Head and throat pain. Head and/or throat pain was reported by 5.7% clinical study participants. Dry throat without specific pain was also noted.
  • Burning and itchy skin. Skin irritations are frequently experienced by users of anticholinergics. Localized skin reactions at the site of the application in the armpits were not uncommon in the Qbrexza clinical trial. These included erythema (redness) by 17.0% of study participants, some burning or stinging sensations by 14.1% of participants and pruritus or severe itching was experienced by 8.1% of those in the study.
  • Dry skin, mouth, and eyes. Also common side effects from anticholinergic use.
  • Body temperature control. Qbrexza users will experience reduced sweating. Heat stroke and hyperpyrexia can occur when you don’t sweat enough to cool your body. If you become overheated while minimally sweating or you stop sweating all together, seek out a doctor’s help immediately.
  • Anticholinergic Syndrome. Anticholinergic syndrome is the result of an overdose of anticholinergic drugs. It can cause central inhibition, which leads to a hyperactive, agitated state of delirium, accompanied by feelings of confusion and restlessness. Poking at imaginary objects is a common symptom of anticholinergic syndrome.

    If you’re using Qbrexza or any other anticholinergic drug, be watchful for these tell-tale symptoms:
    1. Hot, dry skin with a flushed appearance
    2. Dilated pupils in your eyes (mydriasis)
    3. Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
    4. Constipation and decreased bowel sounds
    5. Difficulty urinating

    Anticholinergic syndrome ranges in severity from mild to life-threatening seizures, coma, and even cardiovascular toxicity.

  • Other considerations before using Qbrexza

    Dangerous interactions. If you are taking any of the following medications, it is important to talk to your doctor as there could be dangerous drug interactions:

    • Antihistamines (cold medicines) such as Cyproheptadine, Chlorpheniramine, Promethazine, Doxylamine, or Diphenhydramine
    • An antitussive (cough medicine) like Dextromethorphan
    • Tricyclic antidepressants like Doxepin, Amitriptyline (often used for migraines), or Imipramine
    • Antipsychotics like Olanzapine, Quetiapine, Haloperidol, Droperidol, or Chlorpromazine
    • Anticonvulsants like Carbamazepine
    • Antiemetics (travel sickness medicine) like scopolamine (brand name Hyoscine)
    • Topical ophthalmoplegics (for optical migraines) such as Homatropine and Cyclopentolate

    In addition, contact with certain plants can trigger negative side effects. Be careful using Qbrexza wipes in proximity to any of the family of nightshade plants (also known as Atropa belladonna), mandrake root, jimson weed, lupin beans, and Angel’s Trumpet (also known as Datura).

    Other Warnings

    Pregnancy. There is currently no available data on the use of Qbrexza medication for pregnant women. It is not possible to determine the potential risk associated with this drug for adverse developmental outcomes for the fetus.

    Lactation (breast feeding) There is currently no data available on the how the presence of glycopyrrolate in human milk may affect an infant or what the effects would be on the mother’s milk production. Developmental benefits of infant breastfeeding should be considered.

    Renal Impairment (kidney disease) The ability to eliminate glycopyrronium will be impaired for any patient with a diagnosis of kidney disease or renal failure.

    Qbrexza effectiveness

    The long-term clinical studies assessed the safety of using Qbrexza over the period of one year. 

    When compared to participants who received placebos, the patients dosing with Qbrexza did report significant improvement. The severity of excessive sweating was reduced. The quality of life improved with what was considered to be a mild to moderate range of side effects.

    Between 72% and 77% of participants reported a reduction in excessive perspiration. The patients who experienced a reduction in underarm sweating reported at least a 50% reduction in the sweat volume.

    Who makes Qbrexza and what should I know about Dermira?

    Dermira is the manufacturer of Qbrexza. It is a specialty biopharmaceutical development-stage biotech company. It focuses on the development and commercialization of innovative therapies and differentiated products in dermatology. The company is based in the San Francisco Bay area of California, in Menlo Park.

    When will Qbrexza be available?

    Dermira, Qbrexza’s maker, anticipates a launch date in October 2018.

    Are there Qbrexza alternatives?

    For the millions of people that suffer from excessive sweating, there is an entire gamut of hyperhidrosis treatments that have proven safe and effective. Some may provide lasting relief without using an anticholinergic with it’s associated risks and side effects.

    Currently available treatment options include:

    • Lifestyle remedies including regular bathing, choosing the right clothing and using an underarm antiperspirant or deodorant. There are even special tee shirts that absorb or block sweat.
    • Clinical strength antiperspirants like SweatBlock. These can safely and effectively stop profuse sweating for up to 7 days with no serious side effects. SweatBlock provides dependable relief for sufferers of all forms of primary hyperhidrosis.
    • Prescription strength antiperspirants. These have the highest allowable concentration of aluminum chloride (or similar).
    • Botox injections
    • Microwave treatments that destroy targeted sweat glands. Painful and effective but expensive.
    • Iontophoresis. These treatments for excessive sweating of the hands or feet use low voltage electrical current to drive medications, often anticholinergics, through the skin.
    • Sweat gland removal surgery. A last resort option where sweat glands are permanently removed. Highly invasive and expensive.

    Whatever the extent of your sweating problem, there is a viable treatment that can provide relief. Qbrexza is a new, powerful drug that can reduce or eliminate underarm perspiration. But, it’s active ingredient, glycopyrronium, brings with it the high likelihood of unwanted, perhaps even serious, side effects.

    Before you go down the road of prescription antiperspirants or hyperhidrosis medications like Qbrexza, try SweatBlock. It’s a strong antiperspirant that doesn’t require prescriptions or come with a long list of scary side effects. Try SweatBlock risk free today.

How many times have you found yourself wondering, “Why do I sweat so much?” 

You’re not alone. There are millions of people out there who find themselves asking the same question. The good news is, there’s probably a reason that you sweat excessively. And once you determine the cause, it’s a lot easier to treat the problem. 

12 Possible Causes for Excessive Sweating:

  • 1. Hyperhidrosis (Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis)
  • 2. High number of sweat glands
  • 3. Diet
  • 4. Heat and Humidity
  • 5. Anxiety and Stress
  • 6. Physical Exertion and Exercise 
  • 7. Pregnancy 
  • 8. Menopause
  • 9. Diabetes
  • 10. Puberty
  • 11. Medications 
  • 12. Unrelated Disease (Secondary Hyperhidrosis)

Understanding how sweat works is the first step to understanding why you might be sweating more than normal.

Why do we sweat?

You might think sweat is just a spontaneous oozing of salty secretions on you skin. But there’s more to sweat than soggy armpits and sweaty handshakes.

Sweating is a critical cooling function that keeps you from overheating.

Think of a car. Your metabolism is like the engine of car. As it runs it produces heat. If a car engine gets too hot, it will quickly overheat and stop. To prevent this, your car has a radiator that circulates coolant around and through the engine. The coolant carries away excessive heat and keeps the engine cool and running.

When your body “engine” heats up, it too is at risk of overheating and shutting down (heat stroke). Fortunately, your body has coolant too! Your extra body heat gets released through sweat glands in the form of sweat on your skin. When body temperatures get extreme, your body will produce even more sweat to expel that extra heat.

Exercise, stressful situations, or digesting large amounts of protein (meat sweats) are just a few things that can trigger excessive sweating.

For some, excessive sweating happens without warning and for no reason. Even normal breathing can produce a set of sizable sweat tacos.

Why do I sweat so much?

Like a choose-your-own-adventure book, this question can take us down different paths leading to very different conclusions. Let’s explore some of the reasons you might be sweating more than normal.

1. Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition characterized by excessive, often unpredictable sweating. It’s the kind of sweating that’s more than the body needs to cool itself. Way more. Four to five times more than normal. The sweating can occur at any time and for no reason. And while it’s a physiological condition, people who have it affirm that it also messes up their quality of life– socially, emotionally and psychologically.

A 2016 study involving more than 2000 participants, conducted by the International Hyperhidrosis Society, found that anxiety and depression were significantly higher in those with hyperhidrosis.

Hyperhidrosis affects an estimated 15.3 million people in the United States. (International Hyperhidrosis Society estimate.) It can affect the whole body or be isolated to specific areas of the body such as the hands, feet, face and forehead. It Hyperhidrosis usually begins in the adolescent years.

Excessive underarm sweating, also known as axillary hyperhidrosis, is one of the most common types of hyperhidrosis.  Other types of hyperhidrosis include: palmar hyperhidrosis (sweaty hands), hyperhidrosis of the feet, and craniofacial hyperhidrosis (sweaty face and head).

Unfortunately, how or why hyperhidrosis occurs is still a mystery. Most types are caused an over stimulation of the sweat glands. In some cases, hyperhidrosis is a side effect of more serious underlying health conditions. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about irregular or excessive sweating. Don’t suffer in silence.

While we’re talking about it, here’s a list of hyperhidrosis treatments to discuss with your doctor (or dermatoligist).

☝️Wait a second, have we been talking about excessive sweating?
We actually sell some products that help reduce embarrassing, unwanted sweat. Check them out here!

2. High Number of Sweat Glands

If you feel you sweat more than normal, the answer could simply be that you have more sweat glands.  The average person has about 2 million sweat glands. The most common, Eccrine glands can be found everywhere except inside your ear canals, on your lips and on the genitals.

The area of greatest concentration is on the bottoms of your feet. Your lower back has the least concentration of sweat glands.

Apocrine glands, the other kind of sweat gland, are concentrated in your armpits. They’re also found on your scalp, eyelids, around your nipples and in your groin area. Perhaps that answers the question, “Why do I sweat so much down there?”

Some people have up to 5 million sweat glands. The equation is simple. More sweat glands equals more sweat. In other words, you just won the genetic lottery when it comes to sweat glands! Aren’t you lucky?

3. Diet

Your diet matters. You really are what you eat. Your eating habits can have a significant impact on your sweating.

Take for example, capsaicin, an active compound found in chili peppers. It’s what creates the heat spicy food lovers crave. This little-known substance fools your body into thinking that the temperature is rising. The result… a side of “sweat tacos” with those spicy nachos.

Spicy foods aren’t the only ones to blame. Processed fatty foods, coffee, energy drinks, alcoholic beverages, and foods high in sodium can also contribute to excess sweating. If your diet includes large amounts of these foods, that might explain your elevated levels of perspiration. 

There are some people who sweat excessively when eating any food, even ice cream. Some sweat profusely just thinking about food. It’s called gustatory hyperhidrosis or Frey’s Syndrome.

Abnormal sweating when eating or sweating after eating can also occur for no known reason or can be a result of secondary hyperhidrosis. Diabetes, chronic headaches, shingles, herpes and Parkinson’s have all been known to cause gustatory sweating.

If you’re interested in learning more about diet and sweating, check out these article about foods that make sweat and another about foods that can reduce sweating.

4. Heat and Humidity

Hot, humid days are times when most of us get hit with tsunami-like waves of sweat. Like built -in fire suppression sprinklers, your sweat glands turn on to cool you down with refreshing sweat secretions. It’s normal. It’s healthy. It’s how your body fights overheating.

If you live in a hot climate that’s also humid, you’ll sweat more and the humidity in the air will hinder evaporation. That means your sweat is going to stick with you throughout the day. It’s simple. If you wear heavy, non-breathable clothing in warm weather, you’re going to sweat. And if it’s humid, well, that sweaty moisture is going to hang around awhile. Taking a couple of showers each day will help.

5. Anxiety and Stress

Challenging workouts (when sweating is accepted and even welcomed) and sweltering weather are not the only times you find might yourself drenched in salty sweat. We’ve all had uncomfortable, sweaty moments. First dates, tense interviews, important presentations and nerve wracking proposals all cause normal people to sweat more. What do these situations have in common?  They all create higher levels of stress, anxiety and nervousness.  

As humans, we experience stress and anxiety almost daily.  Stress puts your body on high alert and activates your flight or fight reaction. This human survival mode increases blood flow, heart rate, body temperature, and sweat output. Sweat production during high stress situations is completely normal and healthy. It’s just really unpleasant and can be embarrassing too.

Nervous sweating is a physiological response to psychological stress. Dr. Carisa Perry-Parrish is a psychologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Sweat Disorders in Baltimore, Maryland. She says, “Involuntary sweating is like your body betraying you.” In the worst way we want to appear confident but our body is saying, “I’m not sure I can do this.” And it’s a vicious circle. We sweat because we’re nervous and then we start feeling nervous because we’re sweating.

If sweating is excessive during stressful situations, it could indicate a more serious condition like hyperhidrosis. This kind of heavy sweating is often called “nervous sweating” or “stress sweat” and can usually be controlled with a strong antiperspirant.

6. Physical Exertion and Exercise

Let’s answer the question, “Why do I sweat so much when I exercise?” Remember, sweating is all about controlling temperature. When you exercise, as in an intense workout, eccrine sweat glands are mobilized into action to keep body temperature stable. Your brain’s thermostat (the hypothalamus) triggers sweat glands to release that all-too-familiar salty mixture of water, salt and electrolytes we call perspiration.

But it’s not just temperature that causes us to sweat. During exercise your heart rate, blood pressure and heavy breathing also cause your sweat glands to work overtime. Even when your breathing, heart rate and blood pressure return to normal, sweating can continue for a while because your muscles stay stimulated.

Exercise will cause you to sweat, and the more strenuous the activity, the more you’ll perspire. “But,” you ask, “why do I sweat so easily when other people seem to stay dry?” One factor could be your health and fitness. A person who is out of shape, overweight or not physically fit is more likely to sweat more profusely than a someone who keeps themselves physically fit.

7. Pregnancy

Raging Pregnancy hormones can bring on more than weird food cravings and crazy mood swings. Yes, it’s a bumpy ride that can also bring along hemorrhoids, acne, bleeding gums. And you guessed it, lots of sweating.

Pregnancy increases hormone levels, metabolism and blood flow through your body, which in turn, increases sweat production. You’ll feel it most during the first and third trimester. Some women tend to sweat even more after pregnancy as their body regulates hormone levels and sheds stored water weight.
Other possible causes of excessive sweating during pregnancy can include a higher-than-normal BMI and the little tyke taking shape inside you. Your pride-and-joy-to-be can heat up your internal oven like never before. You’ll feel the heat but the little her or she will remain comfy and safe.

8. Menopause

The heat spike starts in your chest. Like a bullet train it moves up to your neck and head. Beads of sweat form. Soon sweat is running down your face. The hot flash lasts for four or five minutes but seems 10 times longer. Welcome to menopause.

Unfortunately, hot flashes and night sweats are some of the most common symptoms of Menopause. Like pregnancy, doctors believe that these flushes are caused by changing levels of estrogen. Do you see a pattern here? The more my hormones change, the more I sweat.

If you’re a woman between the ages of 45 and 55, your excessive sweating is probably due to menopause.

9. Diabetes

There are at least two reasons why those who have diabetes sweat more than normal. The first is because those with diabetes tend to be overweight. When your body has to carry around extra weight, it means more work, and you guessed it, more sweat.

The second reason is high glucose levels. A loss of nerve function can occur when blood sugar levels are elevated for too long. It’s called diabetic neuropathy. If the sweat gland nerves are damaged, they can’t communicate clearly with the sweat glands. Nerve message confusion can mean excessive sweating.

10. Puberty

Pimples, voice cracks and growth spurts are all common symptoms of puberty. A less common symptom of puberty is overactive sweat glands– about 3 million (on average) of them.

During puberty, your body experiences hormonal changes, body growth and a myriad of new emotions which all can lead to some sweaty situations. This seems like piling on, since going through puberty is hard enough without having to throw in extra sweat with the awkward middle school photos.

11. Medications

Think back to the last drug commercial you watched on TV. Remember that lightning-fast list of side-effects that appeared at the bottom of the screen at the end? When everyone is flying kites, riding bikes and jumping around like hobbits? This is when pharmaceutical companies quickly list some of the unwanted side effects of their medicines. The proverbial small print.

One of those small print items is sometimes Diaphoresis–  a side effect you’ll often hear on these ad disclaimers. This inconvenient sweat condition is characterized by “sweating, especially to an unusual degree as a symptom of disease or a side effect of a drug.” Medications may help relieve specific symptoms, but they also bring a host of their own side effects– like diaphoresis.

Ask your doctor if your medication could be causing you to sweat more than normal.

12. Unrelated Disease

Sometimes an unrelated disease or disorder can cause abnormally profuse sweating. When this happens, it’s called secondary hyperhidrosis or generalized hyperhidrosis. It’s caused by another, unrelated medical condition.

People who suffer from secondary hyperhidrosis usually experience sweating over larger areas of their bodies. They can also experience excessive sweating while sleeping. Treating the underlying disease will usually cure the sweating problem. Only a doctor can diagnose secondary hyperhidrosis.

Why Do I Sweat So Much On My Face?

While craniofacial hyperhidrosis could be the cause of excessive sweating facial sweating, it’s not the most common cause. Most of your face is covered in eccrine sweat glands. Because these are controlled by your nervous system, you might find that you sweat from your face more when you’re nervous, worried, or stressed.
 
Your diet may also affect the amount of sweat your face produces. If you eat a lot of hot, spicy foods, drink alcohol, or consume foods that are hard to digest, it could cause you to sweat more on your face. 

Why Do I Sweat So Much Under My Arms?

The apocrine glands in your armpits produce protein-filled sweat to rid your body of excess toxins. So if you’re sweating a lot in your underarm area, it could be caused by your diet. But you also may produce more armpit sweat when you workout or you’re too hot. A clinical-strength antiperspirant should help you keep the underarm sweat under control.

Keep in mind, if your armpits excessively sweat, it’s also a good idea to wear a strong deodorant — and you should know the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant. When the protein in the sweat mixes with the bacteria on your skin, it produces body odor. So while using a clinical-strength antiperspirant, such as SweatBlock towelettes, is a good idea, you need to use deodorant too.

Why Do I Sweat So Much Down There?

Sweating “down there” is just as normal as armpit sweat. It may be a bit more taboo to talk about, but everyone sweats in their groin area. The reasons you perspire in your groin area are the same reasons your armpits sweat. Your groin area has a high concentration of apocrine glands, so things like exercising, the temperature, your diet, and your hormones regulate the amount of groin-area sweat you produce.

To combat excessive sweating “down there,” you should consider using a clinical-strength antiperspirant, such as our SweatBlock towelettes, to reduce the amount of sweat produced in the area for between four and seven days. Also, consider putting talc-free baby powder or baking soda in the area after you shower to help absorb any excess moisture, and keep the area well groomed. Because apocrine glands secrete proteins, you can get odors “down there” when you sweat a lot.

Excessive amounts of hair trap sweat and odor, so keeping your hair trimmed and the area lean and dry helps a lot.

Why Do My Hands Sweat So Much For No Reason?

The sweat glands on your hands are controlled by your nervous system. That’s why your hands tend to sweat more when you’re nervous, excited, anxious, or stressed. Your emotions trigger these sweat glands to start working. So if you sweat a lot on your hands, you’re probably really prone to nervous sweating. It’s basically a fight-or-flight response.

Unfortunately, that means that you probably get clammy hands at the worst possible times, which can be totally embarrassing. (After all, it doesn’t get much worse than profusely sweating from your hands on a first date or when you’re meeting important people.)

Sweaty hands getting you down? Here’s a few tips and remedies that might help.

Why Do I Sweat More Than I Used To?

If you’re sweating more than you used to, it’s most likely caused by a change in your hormones. For example, teenagers sweat a lot more than kids. But once puberty ends, the excessive sweating usually ends too.

For women, things such as pregnancy, their menstrual cycle, and menopause can all cause excessive sweating. For example, when you’re pregnant, it increases your hormone levels, metabolism, and blood flow. All of these things can increase your internal body temperature, causing you to sweat more. Some women even experience excess sweating after pregnancy, as their body’s hormones readjust. The same type of thing happens when you’re in menopause or have your period.

Basically, more hormones = more sweat. Unfortunately, any medication you’re taking to keep your hormones in check — including birth control — can also cause you to sweat more. 

If your diet has recently changed, it could also be the reason you’re sweating more than you used to. In this case, you might notice that you start sweating after eating — probably almost immediately. Consider adding more fruits and veggies to your diet and avoiding food that’s harder to digest — such as red meat. Alcohol and caffeine can also cause your body to produce more sweat, so try replacing alcoholic and caffeinated beverages with water. Drinking water regularly helps regulate your body temperature, which in turn, reduces the amount of sweat your body produces.

Are Medications Causing Excessive Sweating?

In some cases, the medications you take can cause excessive sweating. For the most part, the medications that cause people to sweat a lot are painkillers, depression medications, hormonal meds, and those for chronic heart failure. So if you’re taking any of these, and you noticed that your excessive sweating problems started after you began taking them, you might want to talk to your doctor to see if there’s an alternative medication that you could take — hopefully one that won’t make you sweat a lot. If you aren’t sure whether or not excessive sweating is a side effect of one of your medications, look for the term “diaphoresis.” This is the rather inconvenient term that basically means your medication may make you sweat like a pig in heat.

Does Diabetes Cause Excess Sweating?

Diabetes can cause you to sweat more than you normally would. If your sugar levels are elevated for too long, it can damage some of your nerves. If the nerves connected to your sweat glands are damaged, it can cause you to sweat more than normal. However, for many people with diabetes, the amount of excessive sweat they produce is more related to their weight. It’s common for people carrying around excess weight to develop diabetes. Unfortunately, carrying around a few extra pounds also means your body has to work more, which results in more sweat.

Once you know the reason for your excessive sweating, it’s a lot easier to find techniques, remedies and treatments that help you stop sweating so much.

Is embarrassing sweat getting in the way of life? We get it, that’s why we developed a handful of sweat-stopping products that can reduce unwanted sweat and restore confidence. Check them out here.

Originally published Nov 11, 2017 – Updated September 18, 2018

So, you think you sweat more than normal? A lot of people worry about whether they perspire a “normal” amount. We get it.

Excessive sweat is embarrassing and can throw a wrench into any social situation. Sweating is good and certainly has its benefits (like preventing heat stroke). But it also comes with a host of humiliating side effects (sweaty pits, sweaty handshakes, sweaty feet, sweaty face, etc…)

Wondering why you might be sweating more than normal? You’re in luck, we’ve compiled a list of the most common sweat triggers and how to avoid them.

8 Things That Can Trigger Unwanted Sweat:

  • 1. Stress
  • 2. Crazy Hormones
  • 3. Your Choice of Food
  • 4. Not Eating Enough Food
  • 5. Your Mood (Excited, Happy, Scared)
  • 6. Social Anxiety
  • 7. Being Physically Fit or Overweight
  • 8. Medications

A lot of different things can cause excessive sweating. But there’s always a reason. Sure, you might have a medical condition, such as primary hyperhidrosis, a sweating disorder that makes you perspire more than the average person. But that’s not as likely as you might think. Hyperhidrosis affects less than 5% of the population. There’s a good chance you just have a random sweat trigger you didn’t know about.

1. You’re Really Stressed Out

What do you do if you randomly start sweating for no apparent reason? Freak out? Yeah, a lot of people do. Well, did you know that freaking out about sweating is probably just making you sweat more?

That’s right. Stress is a HUGE sweat trigger.

If you notice that you’re sweating at a random time, quickly do a mental stress check.

  • Is something upsetting you?
  • Have you been brooding about something for most of the day?
  • Are you worried about something?

If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions, your stress may be to blame for your random bout of nervous sweating.

2. Your Hormones Are In Overdrive

Pregnancy and menopause can really mess with a woman’s hormones. In fact, this hormonal rioting can cause mood swings, odd cravings and … overactive sweat glands.

Have you ever heard a pregnant woman complain about night sweats or hot flashes? Yeah, those mini sweat sessions happen because your hormones are out of whack.

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to prevent this kind of hormonal sweating (aside from delivering your baby or magically skipping menopause).

Fortunately, both pregnancy and menopause are temporary life phases. When they leave, your hormones will chill out and sweating can return to normal.

Pregnancy and menopause aren’t the only things that screw with your hormones. Puberty and overactive thyroid issues can also lead to belligerent hormones and excessive sweating — especially underarm sweating.

3. You’re Eating Foods That Promote Sweating

The food you eat — and what you drink — could be causing you to sweat excessively. This usually happens when you eat food that’s hard to digest because your body has to work a bit harder, which increases your heart rate and sends signals to your sweat glands telling them to get to work.

Which Foods Cause Severe Sweating?

Red meat can be really hard for your body to digest, so if you’re worried about perspiring a lot during (or right after) a meal, you might want to stay away from burgers and steaks. Instead, choose chicken or fish. And of course, vegetables are always a great option. You should also avoid eating fatty fast foods, white bread, and chocolate. These foods lack the enzymes needed for smooth digestion, which means your body works harder to process them.

This probably doesn’t come as a big shock, but if you’re concerned about profuse sweating you should also avoid spicy, hot food. Yeah, those chili fries you love that are topped with jalapeno peppers are a MAJOR sweat trigger. Spicy foods contain capsaicin — a chemical that tricks your body into thinking your core temperature is rising, causing your sweat glands to kick into action, which causes you to perspire.

If you’ve been cursed with body odor that smells a bit fishy, you might have a condition called trimethylaminuria. It’s a genetic condition that makes it difficult for your body to break down trimethylamine — a chemical compound produced when you digest certain foods such as legumes, eggs, and fish. If this is the case, you should eliminate those foods from your diet and talk to your doctor.

4. You Need to Eat More

Are you hangry? If so, your blood sugar is probably a bit low. And one of the symptoms of low blood sugar is excessive sweat or cold sweats. In particular, the sweat glands along your hairline are affected by low blood sugar. So if you’re feeling a bit moody and sweaty, you really might need to grab a Snickers bar like the commercial says. Other symptoms of low blood sugar include:

  • Dizziness
  • Shakiness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Blurred vision
  • Slight nausea

5. Your Mood (Extremely happy or scared out of your mind)

Did you know that when you’re happy or scared you sweat? This also happens when you’re doing something that you’re really passionate about (and no we aren’t just talking about sex).

You might have noticed that when you engage in activity that you’re passionate about, your body is all of the sudden covered in a thin layer of glistening sweat. That’s because all of these emotions — happiness, fear, and love — are associated with a slight increase in your body temperature. And of course, when your body temperature rises, your sweat glands go to work.

6. You Have Social Anxiety

If you get nervous before events that require you to socialize with others, you’ve probably noticed that your sweaty spurts also happen about the same time. That’s totally normal if you have social anxiety.

It’s common for people with social anxiety to constantly battle excessive hand sweating. But you can use relaxing techniques to help get you through overly stressful situations or talk to your doctor. There’s a good chance your doctor may be able to prescribe an anti-anxiety medication to help you control nervous bouts of sweating. Another great way to combat nervous sweat is by using a clinical strength antiperspirant like SweatBlock. If you’ve got excessive hand sweating or super sweaty feet, you can try a hand or foot antiperspirant to reduce unwanted sweating. We recommend this one.

7. You’re Really Fit or Overweight

Your physical fitness levels can determine the amount of sweat your body produces. For example, if you’re slightly plump around the middle, your body works harder carrying the excess weight. This causes your heart rate to increase and you to perspire. But people who are really, really fit often sweat a lot too. This is typically caused by sweating a lot when exercising. See, if you exercise regularly, your body gets really good at sweating so it does it more often. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should stop working out. Instead, use a clinical-strength antiperspirant, such as SweatBlock, to control the amount of sweat your body produces.

8. Your Medications Are Causing You to Sweat (Diaphoresis)

Diaphoresis is the medical term used to describe excessive sweating caused by certain medications. Some of the more common culprits include SSRIs, heart medications, and painkillers. But they aren’t the only medications that can make you sweat. So if you’re taking a new prescription and it’s causing heavy sweating randomly, you might want to have a chat with your doctor.

What to Do If Sweat Becomes Excessive

It’s important to remember that perspiration is a normal process. In fact, it’s even good for you to sweat. But if you sweat excessively, you should consider using a clinical-strength antiperspirant or talk to your doctor about treatment options.

How Does Sweating Help the Body?

You have approximately 2.5 million sweat glands on your body (some people have up to 4 million). So what you probably don’t realize is that you’re actually sweating all the time. You just don’t normally notice the sweat because it evaporates quickly. If your body produces sweat faster than it evaporates, it’s noticeable. That’s when excessive sweating can become embarrassing.

But sweating is actually good for you — at least in normal amounts. We sweat to regulate our body temperature. So if you didn’t sweat at all, your body would overheat — and no one wants to have heat stroke. If you think you sweat more than “normal,” you might be right. In this case, you might want to consult your doctor to determine whether you have hyperhidrosis or you have sweat triggers that you don’t know about. Even if you don’t have hyperhidrosis, your doctor will be able to help you determine the best way to keep your sweating in check.

How to Stop Sweating

Remember, you don’t want to stop sweating completely. But you may want to stop sweating in specific areas of your body. For example, if you sweat when you’re nervous, you probably have clammy hands. That can be embarrassing when you meet someone new or you’re on a date and you want to hold hands. If that’s the case, you should be looking for ways to stop sweating on your hands.

Who Treats Excessive Sweating?

If clinical-strength antiperspirants and other home remedies don’t keep you from sweating profusely, you should consult your doctor to see if you have hyperhidrosis. Your primary care doctor can discuss treatment options that can reduce sweating, such as prescription creams and medication, with you, but if the problem is severe, you might be referred to a dermatologist. A dermatologist is a doctor who treats skin conditions specifically. So he or she may discuss more elaborate treatment options, such as Botox, with you.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that everyone sweats. Because everyone is different, there really isn’t a “normal” amount of sweat your body should produce. But if excessive sweating becomes a problem, makes you feel self-conscious, or keeps you from attending normal social events, you should talk to your doctor or see a dermatologist.

Sweating is natural. It serves an important purpose. But sometimes sweating can be bad or indicate that bad things are happening. Here are nine sweaty questions. The answers are important to anyone concerned about sweat.

  • Do I have primary hyperhidrosis?
  • Do I have secondary hyperhidrosis?
  • What about night sweats?
  • What causes my sweat to smell bad?
  • Why do I sweat when I eat?
  • Is my medicine making me sweat a lot?
  • Is it bad to sweat when I’m nervous and stressed?
  • Is sweat bad for my hair and scalp?
  • Is sweat bad for my skin?

Good Sweat vs. Bad Sweat

As a normal bodily function, sweating is natural and helps to regulate body temperature. When body temperature rises due to exercise or a hot environment, your nervous system signals the sweat glands and they secrete sweat to the skin’s surface. There, the moisture evaporates and cools the body. That’s good.

Unfortunately, sweating can also occur when we’re nervous or stressed. That’s normal too. But nervous sweat is bad sweat. And it’s annoying and embarrassing.

Not all sweating is normal. Abnormal or excessive sweating, when not needed to regulate body temperature, signals that something is wrong. Let’s take a closer look at some of those “bad sweat” situations.

Is it bad to sweat a lot?

You were born with somewhere between two and four million sweat glands located all over your body. Everyone is different and the number you have will influence, in part, how much you sweat.

Women have more sweat glands than men. Men’s sweat glands are normally more active and produce more sweat. No surprise there. You may have discovered this yourself the last time you rode in a crowded subway car or bus with a bunch of burly guys. Why can’t more men use deodorant?

There are also two different types of sweat glands, apocrine glands and eccrine. Eccrine glands are all over your body. Apocrine glands are located on the scalp, armpits and genital area. There’s no such thing as a bad sweat gland.

As your body temperature rises, your automatic nervous system triggers these glands to release salty liquid, mostly water, to the skin’s surface for evaporative cooling. Sweating cannot be consciously controlled. That’s the problem. And, as we all know, anxiety, fear, anger and embarrassment can signal the sweat glands to work overtime. The result is bad sweat.

Let’s take a closer look at the situations when sweating is bad.

Do I have primary hyperhidrosis?

Profuse sweating or excessive sweating is hyperhidrosis. The word “hyperhidrosis” means too much (hyper) sweating (hidrosis). If you suffer from hyperhidrosis you produce four to five times more sweat than normal. That’s bad sweat, but you probably already knew that.

Primary hyperhidrosis (also known as focal hyperhidrosis) is a physiological problem. Those who suffer from it will confess that it also messes up their quality of life – psychologically, emotionally and socially. It’s a silent handicap. Almost half of those with hyperhidrosis suffer in silence for years before seeking help.

Hyperhidrosis affects nearly 15 million people in the United States. It affects men and women equally. 65% experience excessive sweating of the underarms (axillary hyperhidrosis). Other areas of the body often affected by hyperhidrosis are the hands (palmar hyperhidrosis), the feet (plantar hyperhidrosis), and face/forehead (craniofacial hyperhidrosis). Cold, clammy handshakes, sweaty feet and sweat cascading in torrents from the forehead are all equally unpleasant and emotionally distressing.

Now the good news. While there is no known cure, there are several effective treatments for primary hyperhidrosis. The simplest, least expensive and often the most effective is applying a clinical strength antiperspirant like Sweatblock. Because it’s applied using a towelette, it can be used anywhere on the body. Normally one application will last four to seven days. Antiperspirants block secretion of the targeted sweat glands.

Other treatments include topical creams, nerve-blocking medications, Botox injections, and invasive surgeries and procedures. These are reserved for extreme cases when simpler remedies are not effective. Some have serious side effects. Injections, microwave treatments and surgeries are all expensive and may not be covered by health insurance.

Do I have secondary hyperhidrosis?

The second type of hyperhidrosis is secondary hyperhidrosis, also known as generalized hyperhidrosis. Sufferers from this type of profuse sweating experience bad sweating all over the body as opposed to excessive sweating in a specific area.

Secondary hyperhidrosis is caused by another, usually unrelated, medical condition or side effect of a medication. Once the underlying problem is discovered and treated, the sweating stops. Conditions or diseases that can cause secondary hyperhidrosis include diabetes, gout, heart failure, cancer and obesity.

If you are experiencing excessive sweating over large areas of your body and also have one of these conditions, you likely have secondary hyperhidrosis.

What about night sweats?

What are night sweats? It’s not uncommon for us to experience night sweats when we’re sick or during hot summer nights. Changing body temperature during the night is a normal part of the sleep cycle and can cause temporary sweating. Removing a blanket or shedding those flannel pajamas can cure this kind of night sweats.

But severe and chronic night sweats, the kind when you wake-up with wet sheets and your body drenched with sweat, are not part of normal sleep. This is another sign of secondary hyperhidrosis and probably caused by an unrelated condition. Or, it could be a sign of a side effect caused by a prescription drug? Here are some of the probable suspects.

Some of the common drugs that have been associated with night sweats are:

  • Antidepressants such as Protriptyline and Nortriptyline
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs, the nonsteroidal type
  • Blood pressure medicines
  • Medicines that treat dry mouth like Pilocarpine
  • Some cancer treatments
  • Oral diabetes medicines and prescription insulin

Some dietary supplements such as zinc and iron have been known to be the culprits behind night sweats too.

Medical conditions that can cause night sweats include:

  • Menopause and pregnancy. The hormonal changes that assault women as they experience menopause can cause hot flashes and heavy sweating at night. Carrying the additional weight of a developing baby can make night sweats an unwanted side effect of pregnancy.
  • Infections. Abnormal night sweats can be caused by infections such as tuberculosis, HIV and bacterial infections.
  • Cancer. People who have undiagnosed cancer often complain of symptoms including fever and excessive sweating. The most common type of cancer known to produce these problems is lymphoma, a cancer of the blood.
  • Hyperthyroidism. An overactive thyroid gland can case nocturnal sweating.
  • Hormone disorders. There are other hormonal disorders (other than menopause) that can cause night sweats. These include carcinoid syndrome and pheochromocytoma.
  • Neurologic conditions. Stroke and neuropathy are among the neurologic conditions that can cause nocturnal sweating.
  • Alcoholism. Alcohol consumption increases your heart rate and expands the blood vessels in the skin, which can trigger unwanted sweating. Night sweating is a common symptom of alcohol withdrawal.

Again, the key to overcoming nocturnal bad sweat is to identify what’s really going on.

What causes my sweat to smell bad?

We’ve all been victims. Some of us have been perpetrators. In some way, we’ve all experienced bad body odor. At times the stench is overwhelming and we ask ourselves, “Why does my sweat smell so bad?” Well, all sweat doesn’t. But when combined with just the right ingredients and conditions, bad sweat becomes a powerful deterrent to positive social interaction. Whew!

Here are some of the most common causes and contributing factors to bad body odor.

Human nature. As mentioned previously, the naturally occurring apocrine glands in the skin are clustered in the groin, armpits, genitals and to a lesser extent, the rest of the skin. These sweat glands are chiefly responsible for body odor because the sweat they produce contains high levels of protein. Once sweat reaches the surface, bacteria begin breaking down these proteins. And, that’s what causes sweat to smell so bad. If you suffer from hyperhidrosis, the abundance of excess sweat makes matters that much worse.

What causes smelly feet? Now there’s a universal experience. Have you ever asked, “Why do my feet sweat so bad?” Unless you live in the tropics, you probably wear shoes and socks. Encasing our feet in fabric and leather (or canvass) makes it difficult for sweat to evaporate. So, the ever-present bacteria have much more to work with. It’s a veritable bacteria buffet. This jungle-like environment also raises the possibility of fungi which can also give off more bad smelling stuff.

Foods. If you share an office space with someone who eats a lot of exotic or spicy foods, you know the meaning of bad sweat. You can smell today what they ate yesterday. Foods like onions, garlic, curry and other pungent spices are exuded through the pores in the skin and can make sweat smell even more, shall we say… fragrant? And it can take days for the unwanted odors to subside.

Do you like fries with that? If so that could be making things worse too. Oils used in fried foods and baked goods can easily go rancid. That causes poor digestion and can add to the bad smelling sweat problem.

Your sweet-tooth. Bacteria are as addicted to sugar as we are. Eating and drinking lots of sugary treats can cause an overgrowth of yeast. Yeast turns sugar into alcohol and alcohol can make you smell like a bouquet of stinkweed. Add flatulence from eating too much sugar into the mix and that makes for a potent weapon.

Fishy smelling sweat. Some people have difficulty metabolizing large amounts of choline. The result is fishy smelling body odor that can be a real turn-off. Foods containing large amounts of choline are liver, salmon, eggs, grass-fed beef, turkey, navy beans and chickpeas.

Another fishy body odor problem is called Fish Odor Syndrome. It’s rare and its only symptom is an offensive body odor that smells like rotting fish. It’s caused by excessive secretion of trimethylaminuria into the sweat, urine and breath of those who suffer from this medical condition. Diet restrictions, acid lotions and soaps, antibiotics and other medicines are the treatments.

That great-looking new shirt or blouse. No one likes working out in polyester. Natural fabrics like cotton, linen and even wool wick sweat away from your skin and allow it to evaporate. On the other hand, manmade fibers like polyester, nylon and rayon look great, but they repel moisture allowing it to pool where you don’t want it to. The buildup of unwanted sweat promotes and amplifies the bad body odor process and stains your clothing. Bad sweat loves artificial fibers.

Why do I sweat when I eat?

Spicy foods. Tell me if this sounds familiar. You’re eating a bowl of 5-alarm chili or maybe a jalapeño pepper-laced Mexican dish. You suddenly break out in a hot profuse sweat around your temples and forehead. This is gustatory sweating and it’s totally normal when eating hot, spicy foods.

Gustatory hyperhidrosis. But, there are some people who sweat excessively when eating any food, even ice cream. Some sweat profusely just thinking about food. It’s called gustatory hyperhidrosis or Frey’s Syndrome. It’s extremely embarrassing. Those who suffer from this malady may shun social functions involving food to avoid emotional trauma.

Many cases of gustatory sweating occur as a result of surgery or damage to a parotid gland. Most of us have a pair of parotid glands with one located on each side of the face just below and in front of our ears. These are the largest salivary glands. When we eat or when we prepare to eat, these glands spring into action.

If one of these glands is damaged due to surgery, disease or infection, nearby nerves can be affected. As these nerves regenerate they can become mixed up and confused. When this happens, a person can begin sweating instead of salivating. This is Frey’s Syndrome and it usually affects just one side of the face.

Abnormal sweating when eating can also occur for no known reason or can be a result of secondary hyperhidrosis. Diabetes, chronic headaches, shingles, herpes and Parkinson’s have all been known to cause gustatory sweating.

There are treatments that can help. Clinical strength antiperspirants like Sweatblock can provide significant relief. Botox injections can provide relief for a couple of months. Botox has not been approved by the FDA for treatment of Frey’s Syndrome so its use is considered “off label.”

Is my medicine making me sweat a lot?

Excessive sweating as a side effect of taking prescription medicines is not uncommon. Several hundred prescription drugs have been identified that can cause unwanted sweating.

These include:

  • Analgesic pain medicines. The most common analgesics known to cause excessive sweating are Celebrex, Vicodin, prescription Aleve, Midol, Vioxx, Ultram, OxyContin, Methadone and fentanyl-based drugs. There are many, many more.
  • Cardiovascular drugs. Certain cardiovascular drugs can cause sweating in some patients. The list is far too long to note here, but some of the more prevalent are Bumex, Cardura, Zestril and Altace. Several NIFEdipine and verapamil drugs also make the list.
  • Antidepressants. Many commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs note excessive sweating as a side effect. These come in two major categories– Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
  • SSRI drugs that can cause excessive sweating, by brand name, are Celexa, Luvox, Lexapro, Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil. The SNRI antidepressants are Cymbalta and Effexor. Norpramin, a neuropsychiatric drug, can cause sweating in a high number of patients taking it.
  • Hormonal drugs. Secondary hyperhidrosis is sometimes caused by hormonal imbalances. Certain drugs given to patients to balance hormonal levels may also lead to profuse sweating. These include epinephrine-based medications, thyroid medicines, some birth control pills, testosterone drugs and vasopressins.

Is it bad to sweat when I’m nervous and stressed?

There is nothing more common than nervous sweating. It’s a natural fight or flight response. It happens to all of us whether we suffer from hyperhidrosis or not.

It happens when we go on first date or when we speak in front of a group. It happens when we’re summoned to a meeting with the boss. It can happen when we’re late and stuck in traffic. There are a thousand other situations that lead to bad sweat caused by nervous anxiety.

We’re all in the same boat. We all want to stop nervous and anxious sweating. Whether you suffer from hyperhidrosis or you’re a normal sweater, there are things you can do to curb that nervous sweat.

Tips to reduce anxious sweating.

  • Relax. Let your hands and arms breath. Unclench your fists. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths. Avoid things that stress you out if possible.
  • Meditate. Use meditation to calm your mind and overcome irrational fears. If you can trick your mind into not “fighting or flying” when you’re in potentially stressful situation, you can reduce a lot of nervous sweat.
  • Watch your weight. Body weight plays an important role in your sweating response. People who struggle with their weight have a higher core temperature.
  • Exercise. Physical exercise is an effective anti-anxiety trick. It releases endorphins which act to calm your mood and make you less prone to nervous feelings. Exercise causes sweat, so don’t exercise just prior to something you’re doing that you want to be free of sweat.
  • Wear breathable clothing. Natural fabrics like cotton and wool will allow your body to “breathe” and help dissipate sweat. Artificial fabrics like polyester, nylon and rayon will make you feel hotter. They repel sweat and make evaporation difficult. Choose your wardrobe wisely.
  • Clinical Strength Antiperspirant. A strong antiperspirant like Sweatblock can help reduce excessive sweat due to anxiety and stress. Antiperspirants are some of the safest and most effective ways to combat sweat. Other excessive sweating treatments can be more costly, invasive, and bring a whole host of nasty side effects.

Is sweat bad for my hair and scalp?

Lots of sweat can be bad for your scalp and hair. It can lead to hair loss.
There are studies that indicate that when lactic acid in sweat mixes with keratin in the hair, it can lead to damaged hair and hair loss. Even worse, if there is an accumulation of bacteria on the scalp, excessive head sweating can lead to fungal infections. Yuk. Wash your hair often.

Is sweat bad for my skin?

Bad sweat can be bad for your skin. People who suffer from excessive sweating, especially on the face and forehead, can be more prone to skin infections. Chronically moist skin promotes the growth of bacteria that cause skin infections.

  • Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that occurs when foot sweating is excessive. It usually starts between the toes.
  • Jock itch (tinea cruris) is a cousin to athlete’s foot and is a fungal infection. It thrives in moist environments. Sweating doesn’t help.
  • Maceration is the scientific terms for the wet, mushy appearance your skin can have when it’s perpetually moist. The general skin breakdown can promote other unwanted skin conditions.

The bottom line

Let’s circle back to the question at hand:

Can sweating be bad for you? Not usually, but when it becomes excessive, abnormal, or socially destructive – YES, it’s bad.

Excessive sweating causes a multitude of problems. Untreated hyperhidrosis causes stress, embarrassment, social seclusion, and anxiety. These are just the emotional and social problems associated with bad sweat.

Abnormal sweating can also be a companion to other diseases or disorders. It might be a sign that you’re eating or drinking things you shouldn’t. It could be a side effect of medication. Whatever the cause, there is hope.

There are treatments that can reduce or eliminate bad sweat. Find one that works for you.