It’s hard to fathom how frustrating a pair of sweaty palms can be until you experience them. And we’re not talking about the occasional sweaty hands experience…
We’re talking about embarrassing, sweaty handshakes that sabotage first impressions. The clamminess that keeps you from holding your partner’s hand on a date. Or the hand perspiration that soaks keyboards, important paperwork and game controllers.
We don’t have to tell you how bad it is. You already know. That’s why you’re here. You want to know WHY and HOW to stop those sweaty hands and palms.
While this article may not have the perfect sweaty hands cure for you, it’s certainly got a few tips to get you going in the right direction.
7 Tips and Remedies to Stop Sweaty Hands
- 1. Antiperspirant for hands
- 2. Keep alcohol hand wipes handy for a quick fix
- 3. Use baby powder or cornstarch to absorb palm sweat
- 4. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and keep your body cool
- 5. Avoid sweat-inducing foods like caffeine, alcohol, red meat and spicy snacks
- 6. Eat vitamin-rich foods that promote balance and healthy digestion
- 7. Home remedies such as sage tea soaks, rose water, or coconut oil (see below)
Before we break down these tips in detail, let’s explore some of the causes of sweaty, clammy hands…
What Causes Sweaty Palms?
Most people experience sweaty palms during stressful situations, anxious moments, high temperatures, or physical exertion. For example, it’s not uncommon to get clammy hands during a tense movie, playing your favorite video game, climbing, or weightlifting.
These activities and higher stress levels will raise your body temperature. This makes your sweat glands release extra heat via sweat. Unfortunately, your palms don’t get a pass on this cooling process.
Can Anxiety Cause Sweaty Hands?
Anxiety, stress, and nervousness are actually some of the main culprits of sweaty hands. In fact, you’ve probably noticed that your hands start sweating before you have to speak in front of an audience or during a first date. It’s completely normal.
Stress, anxiety, and nervousness are all feelings that trigger a fight-or-flight response in our bodies. These responses release the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine.
While the hormones help you cope with whatever is making you anxious, they raise your body temperature too. Of course, your body sweats to regulate your temperature, so when you’re anxious, your sweat glands are activated.
Are Sweaty Palms Genetic?
If your hands consistently perspire, you might have inherited a few bad genes. Excessively sweaty palms can actually skip generations, so it’s possible that you inherited the problem even if your parents don’t have it.
According to studies, two-thirds of patients with hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) have a family member with the same condition.
Hand sweat is normal, but for some, it happens in Niagara Falls-like proportions and for absolutely no reason at all. This type of sweating is called palmar hyperhidrosis.
What is Palmar Hyperhidrosis?
Palmar Hyperhidrosis is excessive and uncontrollable sweating of the hands or palms.
If this describes your situation, you’re not alone. Palmar Hyperhidrosis affects about one percent of the American population.
While anyone can suffer sweaty hands periodically, if the situation persists it is important to seek a medical assessment from a dermatologist to determine if you have palmar hyperhidrosis.
Symptoms can appear anytime, regardless of your age, but they commonly appear during adolescence, and in some cases persist throughout life.
What Causes Palmar Hyperhidrosis?
Experts don’t know the exact reason for sweaty palms. Some believe that a hyperactive sympathetic nervous system could be the cause.
The sympathetic nervous system manages the fight-or-flight response which releases adrenaline, increases heart rate, constricts blood vessels, and controls sweating. In other words, a hyperactive sympathetic nervous system can result in hyper hand sweating.
Palmer hyperhidrosis can wreck confidence and cause extreme stress. This can impact social interactions as well as professional ones, causing real issues in every aspect of your life.
In fact, many dermatologists believe that palmar hyperhidrosis causes a more significant negative impact on patient’s lives than any other dermatological condition.
How to Stop Sweaty Hands
So, how do you get rid of sweaty hands? We’ve put together a list of helpful tips, popular home remedies and professional treatments below.
1. Antiperspirant for Hands
Antiperspirant is the easiest way to really stop sweat. It’s accessible, affordable, and likely the most effective remedy on this list. Antiperspirants work by plugging up and shrinking your sweat pores. As a result, you’ll sweat less wherever you apply antiperspirant.
Will any antiperspirant work for excessive hand sweating? Antiperspirant sticks, roll-ons and sprays are great for treating sweaty armpits, but lotions, creams and gels are better suited for hand and feet application.
Antiperspirant lotion is the best sweaty hand treatment that won’t cost you a fortune or require invasive procedures. Gamers, musicians, professionals, athletes, weight lifters, climbers and nervous sweaters love this stuff.
How does it work? Dab a pea-sized amount of hand antiperspirant on your palms, rub it in, and let it dry for 3-5 minutes. The trick is to apply the lotion while your hands are completely dry. If they are wet -or- sweaty, the antiperspirant lotion won’t keep your hands dry. Depending on your sweat severity, hand antiperspirants can reduce sweating for 1-3 hours per application.
You can apply 1-3 times a day to avoid potentially embarrassing situations. (awkward handshakes, slippery handholding, etc…)
2. Keep Alcohol-Based Hand Wipes Handy
If you need a quick fix for clammy hands, grab an alcohol-based hand wipe and rub it on your palms. Alcohol is an astringent that, when applied topically, can help keep your hands temporarily dry with its pore-shrinking abilities. This useful trick comes in handy right before an important interview or social event.
3. Use Baby Powder or Cornstarch to Absorb Sweat
Baby powder absorbs liquids. So every time you start to feel sweat on your hands, simply dust them with a small bit of baby powder. Consider carrying a travel-size bottle with you or keep one at work to use throughout the day. Look for a talc-free powder or you can use baking soda or cornstarch.
4. Drink Plenty of Water to Stay Hydrated and Keep Cool
Drink a generous amount of water throughout the day. Staying hydrated can cool your core temperature and help reduce excessive sweating.
Did you know that we humans often misdiagnose our thirst for hunger? Sometimes we interpret our body’s plea for water as a plea for a cheeseburger (spoiler alert: sweat-trigger!). So drinking more water can also help you avoid foods that trigger unwanted sweat.
5. Diet and Detox
If you’re searching for a sweaty hands cure? Food might be the “best medicine”.
Did you know that your diet can impact your sweating? Certain foods will increase your sweating while other foods can help you sweat less.
A healthy diet leads to balance and a healthier body. A poor diet leads to imbalance — physical, emotional, and mental. Imbalance can lead to chronic illness, weight gain, anxiety, and you guessed it: excessive sweating.
Less bad stuff + more good stuff = a happier, healthier, and less-sweaty you.
So examine your diet. You might be able to get rid of those sweaty hands with a few simple tweaks. Start with avoiding caffeine, alcoholic beverages, and spicy, fatty, fried, and processed foods. All of these can raise your body temperature and increase heart rate. When your body temperature rises, you perspire more to release the extra heat.
Next, replace the bad stuff with good food options like whole grains and almonds. Vitamins B and D can also be very useful in promoting balance. Here are a few of our favorite vitamin-rich food sources:
- Low-fat or skim milk
- Calcium-rich foods
- Olive oil
You should also add fruits and vegetables that have a high water content to your diet. Like regularly drinking water, they help keep your body hydrated, which regulates your body temperature. Some options include:
6. Home Remedies for Sweaty Palms
With home remedies, we always like to ask why and how? Why dump oatmeal on your head when you have acne? How will placing a banana in your armpit stop uncontrollable flatulence? So we’re not only going to give you the what, we’ll also throw in the how and the why.
Sage is known as Mother Nature’s antiperspirant. It contains a natural astringent called tannic acid. The tannic acid has the ability to constrict and shrink your skin and pores. This shrinking helps reduce sweat just like an antiperspirant.How to use it:
- 1. Add 4-5 sage tea bags to a quart of boiling water.
- 2. Let the tea steep until it’s cool enough to touch.
- 3. Once cooled, soak your hands in the sage solution for 30 minutes.
Feeling Brave? Some “experts” claim that drinking sage tea can also reduce excessive sweat. Word of advice: don’t drink the tea you used to soak your hands. This also works well for sweaty feet.
ORGANIC ROSE WATER
Rose water can be purchased from any store that sells makeup and skincare products because it’s typically used as a skin toner. It works by closing the pores in your skin, which reduces the amount of sweat produced.
To use rose water on your sweaty hands, dip a cotton ball in it then, rub the cotton ball over your palms and let it dry. Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar can also be applied to your hands this way, but if you use either of them, you should rinse your hands off once they dry. As an alternative, you can also use witch hazel.
After your daily shower, take a small bit of coconut oil and rub it between your palms until they are fully coated. Coconut oil is a natural antiperspirant and it has several other skin-related benefits so it will help keep your hands soft to the touch too.
It might seem odd to you to see exercising on a list of home remedies for sweaty hands. After all, when you exercise, you sweat. The thing is, exercise also helps reduce the amount of stress your body is going through. Because of this, your body’s core temperature sits lower on a regular basis, which reduces the amount of sweat your body produces overall.
It’s a good idea to fit in about 30 minutes or so of exercise five days per week. If you don’t want to hit the gym, consider taking a walk or riding a bike through your neighborhood each evening. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime or you could have a hard time falling asleep.
Advanced Treatments for Palmar Hyperhidrosis
If palmar hyperhidrosis is what’s causing your sweaty hands, your doctor may recommend some of these treatments. However, using a clinical-strength antiperspirant is typically recommended before prescription treatments and surgery.
If antiperspirant doesn’t solve the problem completely, your doctor might recommend trying prescription medicines. These typically come in the form of topical lotions and creams. Some doctors may also suggest an anticholinergic medication. These come in pill form and work by blocking the neurotransmitter in your brain that controls your eccrine glands.
When used to treat excessive sweating in small areas — such as the palms of your hands — botox has been known to effectively reduce between 82 and 87 percent of sweating. However, when used to treat sweaty hands, you have to get injections every six months and it can cause temporary pain and weakness in your hands. Because of this, it’s best to discuss all of your options with your doctor before trying botox injections.
There is also a treatment available for palmar hyperhidrosis called iontophoresis. This treatment has been known to reduce the amount of sweat produced in one’s hands by up to 81 percent, but the treatment can be a bit painful so it’s typically used as a last resort.
The treatment uses a medical device to pass a mild electrical current through water and the skin’s surface. No one is 100 percent sure how this works to prevent sweaty hands, but it’s thought that the electrical current and the minerals in the water thicken the outer layer of your skin, which in turn, blocks the sweat from getting to the surface.
You can have this treatment completed in your doctor’s office. Or if you prefer to complete the treatments at home, your doctor can write you a prescription that lets you purchase the medical device.
In some areas, the tap water is too “soft” for the treatment to work. Basically, this means that the water doesn’t have enough minerals and electrolytes. If this is the case in your area, you can add a teaspoon of baking soda to your treatment tray.
Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS) Surgery
This surgery is by far the most invasive of all hyperhidrosis treatments. The list of side effects is long and undesirable: irreversible compensatory sweating, extreme hypotension, arrhythmia, and heat intolerance.
This surgery is permanent. If cutting nerves and awful side effects sound appealing to you, this treatment might be up your alley. We stand with most doctors and recommend you steer clear.
You don’t have to let your sweaty hands control your life. It’s a common problem that can be treated. So instead of stressing yourself out over your condition, try a few home remedies and antiperspirants to see if they help. If you can’t find a solution on your own, talk to your doctor to determine what type of treatment is right for you.