Does excessive sweating bother you? Keep you from being social? Or make you feel like you can’t be yourself? Hyperhidrosis may be to blame for this unexplained, often spontaneous type of extreme sweating.

Many people struggle with hyperhidrosis throughout childhood and well into adulthood without ever knowing they have it.

In this article we’ll explore the symptoms, causes, and possible treatments for hyperhidrosis.

Why Do We Sweat?

We sweat to regulate our body temperature. It’s the body’s natural and healthy way to cool itself.

When body temperature rises, our nervous system will trigger the sweat glands to release extra heat via sweat on the skin surface. Our body temperature fluctuates frequently due to physical activity, weather, wardrobe, diet and common stressors.

Although sweating can be socially destructive, it’s a necessary bodily function that prevents overheating and heat stroke.

hyperhidrosis types

What is hyperhidrosis?

Hyperhidrosis is excessive and uncontrollable sweating. This is the kind of sweating that’s more than what the body needs to cool itself. The word “hyperhidrosis” means too much (hyper) sweating (hidrosis). People with hyperhidrosis produce four to five times more sweat than normal.

Hyperhidrosis is a physiological problem. Those who suffer from it attest that it also messes up their quality of life– psychologically, emotionally and socially. It is 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. The vast majority of hyperhidrosis sufferers find it embarrassing. 65% experience excessive sweating of the underarms (axillary hyperhidrosis). Fortunately, there are effective ways to treat hyperhidrosis.

What causes hyperhidrosis?

Why do some people sweat excessively, uncontrollably and for absolutly no reason? Most types of hyperhidrosis are caused by an over stimulation of the sweat glands. Sweat triggers also include stress or genetic factors. Unrelated health problem or disease trigger another form of the condition. (see below)

Some life changes, such as pregnancy or menopause, can also cause profuse sweating. Yet, many of us experience excessive sweating without these kinds of changes in our lives.

There are two types of hyperhidrosis…

Hyperhidrosis occurs in two major classifications or types; primary focal hyperhidrosis and secondary general hyperhidrosis.

Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis

This type of hyperhidrosis affects only specific parts of the body where there are high numbers of sweat glands. Primary focal hyperhidrosis usually starts during adolescence, but sometimes earlier. It is usually inherited and is genetic in nature.

There are four main body areas affected by primary hyperhidrosis:

Secondary General Hyperhidrosis

Unlike primary focal hyperhidrosis, secondary hyperhidrosis (also known as generalized hyperhidrosis or diaphoresis) is characterized by excessive sweating all over the body.

General hyperhidrosis can be present from birth or can be caused by an underlying medical condition. Secondary hyperhidrosis can also be a side effect of certain drugs and presciption medications.

If you have one of these medical conditions and experience excessive, full-body sweating, talk to your doctor to see what solutions are available.

Hyperhidrosis Complications

If profuse sweating goes unchecked, it can have a negative impact on social life and even lead to minor skin infections.

Social and Emotional

This is the most obvious of profuse sweating complications. Sweaty armpits can lead to awkward hugs, embarrassing corporate encounters, and unnecessary stress on high school and college students. A serious case of sweaty underarms can ultimately turn a social butterfly into a cave dwelling hermit.

Sweaty palms can sap one’s confidence and work performance. Slippery equipment, golf clubs, keyboards, and game controllers are just a few of the annoying side effects of excessive hand sweating.

A sweaty face can quickly turn an impressive interview into an awkward distraction. The list goes on and on…

The truth is, hyperhidrosis really stinks (literally and figuratively). The really sad part… most individuals don’t know they have it and never take the proper steps to treat or control it.

Skin Infections

Hyperhidrosis can lead to minor skin conditions like athlete’s foot, jock itch, warts and some serious body odor (bromhidrosis).

Other infections that can be triggered by untreated excessive sweating include Dermatophytosis, Pitted Keratolysis, Verruca Plantaris, and Ingrown Toenails.

Underlying Health Conditions

If you think you might have secondary hyperhidrosis, talk to your doctor right away. Secondary hyperhidrosis is often a symptom of other illnesses. Treating the underlying illness often stops the excessive sweating.

If you think you might have primary hyperhidrosis, talk to a dermatologist. Don’t suffer in silence. There are treatments and products that can help. Let’s look at some…

Hyperhidrosis Treatments

There are many treatments that have proven effective in reducing the effects of profuse sweating, including antiperspirants, medications, and other advanced procedures.

Prescription Strength and Clinical Strength Antiperspirants

Many doctors prescribe and recommend a strong antiperspirant to treat hyperhidrosis. Clinical strength antiperspirants are effective as a result of their high concentration of aluminum chloride.

Aluminum chloride is the active ingredient in antiperspirant that does the actual sweat blocking. Antiperspirants can be used nearly anywhere on the body to control profuse sweating.

Some clinical strength antiperspirants can control excessive sweating for up to 4 days or more with just one application.

Prescription Hyperhidrosis Creams

Prescription creams and topicals containing glycopyrrolate (also known as glycopyrronium bromide) are useful in treating craniofacial hyperhidrosis or sweating of the face and head. Glycopyrrolate is a compound used to treat ulcers and excessive drooling.

Hyperhidrosis Medications

Some medications taken by mouth block the chemicals that allow certain nerves to communicate with each other. By cutting off nerve communication some people have experienced reduced sweating.

These fall into two main categories: anticholinergics and beta blockers. But, there can be some unwanted side effects by taking these hyperhidrosis pills that include dry mouth, blurred vision and bladder problems. These include medications such as oxybutynin, glycopyrrolate, benztropine and propantheline.

Antidepressants

Some medications prescribed for depression can also decrease sweat gland output. These medicines may also help to decrease the anxiety that promotes extreme sweating.

Botox for Hyperhidrosis

Treatment with botulinum toxin (Botox) is a long-term solution that temporarily blocks the nerves that cause sweating.

If you and your doctor opt for botulinum toxin injections, your skin will first be anesthetized. Each affected area of your body will receive several injections to ensure that all the nerves have been treated.

The desired effects can last 6 to 12 months before the treatment must be repeated. While effective, this treatment is painful and some people experience temporary muscle pain in the treated areas.

Iontophoresis

An easy way of understanding this procedure is to think of it as an injection without a needle. It is non-invasive and, uses a small electric current to drive medications through the skin. Iontophoresis is often used to treat palmoplantar hyperhidrosis.

Hyperhidrosis Surgery and Other Advanced Treatments

If topical or medications taken by mouth don’t relieve excessive sweating, there are several other possible treatments. These may eliminate or at least greatly improve excessive perspiration. These include hyperhidrosis surgery or other invasive and expensive approaches. All of these must be prescribed by a doctor and administered in a doctor’s office of hospital.

Microwave Therapy

This treatment uses a device that delivers microwave energy to the targeted sweat glands. The procedure requires two 20 to 30 minute sessions, 90 days apart. Microwave therapy is expensive and may not be widely available. Unwanted side effects include a sensation change in the skin and possible discomfort.

miraDry

miraDry is a newer axillary hyperhidrosis treatment that also uses microwave energy to destroy targeted sweat glands. A doctor administers local anesthesia and then uses a hand-held device to suck sweat glands closer to the skin surface. The device then heats and destroys the underarm sweat glands while cooling the top layers of skin. miraDry has proven effective but will leave a considerable dent in your wallet.

Sweat Gland Removal

If profuse sweating is affecting only the armpits, removing the sweat glands may offer a permanent solution. Suction curettage is a minimally invasive procedure. A dermatologist will insert a suction tool into two small incisions. He/she then removes the sweat glands. This is a popular treatment for excessive sweating when other remedies fail to produce positive results.

Nerve Surgery (sympathectomy)

This is a procedure in which a surgeon cuts, burns or clamps spinal nerves that control sweating in the hands (palmar hyperhidrosis). Sometimes this treatment causes excessive compensatory sweating in other parts of the body.

Lifestyle Hacks to Help Reduce Effects of Hyperhidrosis

For many who suffer from heavy sweating, there are simple ways to reduce sweating. Lifestyle and other non-prescription remedies may also be good places to start searching for relief. These are basic, common sense ideas but they’re worth noting.

Bathe / Shower Daily

Regular bathing will help keep skin-borne bacteria in check. When finished, dry thoroughly with a clean towel especially between toes and under the arms. If you don’t have access to a shower, try using cleansing shower wipes.

Go Barefoot to Help Sweaty Feet

If going without shoes and socks isn’t possible, at least slip out of the shoes now and then throughout the day. Give your feet a chance to air out.

Choose Shoes and Socks Made of Natural Materials

Shoes made of leather or natural fabrics can help prevent sweaty feet by allowing your feet to breathe. During periods of high activity or exercise, moisture wicking socks are a good choice.

Wear Light Fabrics and Loose Fitting Clothing

It’s a good idea to wear natural fabrics like cotton, wool or silk. These fabrics allow your skin to breath. When exercising, wear moisture-wicking clothing. Dress in layers to avoid overheating.

Sweat Proof Undershirts

While a sweat proof undershirt won’t stop you from perspiring, it can absorb sweat throughout the day. This creates the perception of dry underarms and can keep embarrassing sweat marks and sweat stains at bay.

Hyperhidrosis Remedies and Natural Treatments

There are many who may prefer a hyperhirosis natural treatment. These include the use of herbs, diet, vitamins, supplements, and relaxation techniques.

Yoga

Practicing yoga can relax the body and reduce stress.

Acupuncture

There are a number of case studies indicating that acupuncture may be effective for some sufferers of primary hyperhidrosis. The duration of the improvement has yet to be determined.

Hypnosis

Hypnosis by a hypnosis practitioner or self-hypnosis have been suggested as alternative treatments. According to first-hand reports, positive results are dubious.

Fitness and hygiene

Regular exercise and avoiding obesity can be key factors in managing excess sweating. Also reduce or eliminate the use of skin lotions and makeup or find natural substitutes.

Diet

Some dieticians recommend a diet of 80% plant-based foods to help control sweating. Along with plant-based (preferably organic) foods, they recommend eliminating MSG, GMOs and all trans fats. If meat is included, eat only small amounts of unprocessed, grass-fed meats. Vitamins B and D can help too.

Herbal Remedies

Advocates of herbal solutions have identified several herbal remedies that reportedly help manage hyperhidrosis. These include Witch Hazel, Sage, Valerian Root, St. John’s Wort, Burdock and Astragalus among others. Many are astringents that shrink skin pores when applied topically. Others exert a positive effect on the endocrine system when taken internally.

Hyperhidrosis Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re one of the estimated 15 million who suffer from hyperhidrosis, you probably have questions. Here are some of the most asked questions regarding excessive sweating and hyperhidrosis.

Do I have hyperhidrosis?

If you experience episodes of excessive sweating that occur at least once a week and for no clear reason you probably have hyperhidrosis. These include night sweats.

What is the best treatment for hyperhidrosis?

Everyone is different and each person will react differently to sweating treatments. Depending on the seriousness of your hyperhidrosis symptoms, you’ll want to review the available treatments and decide which is best for you. Don’t hesitate to consult your doctor.

Is hyperhidrosis curable?

Is there a cure for hyperhidrosis. As hyperhidrosis can be caused by a number of things. There really isn’t a one-size-fits all cure. However, many of the treatments described above are effective and can reduce or eliminate symptoms. They can get you feeling good again and functioning more effectively. Life can be better.

hyperhidrosis

Do you ever feel like you’re the sweatiest person in the room? Is excessive facial or forehead sweat getting in the way of life? (dictating your wardrobe, your social activities, and even where you sit in a bar or restaurant)

The embarrassment and humiliation are enough to drive one to a life of isolation.

You’ve probably asked yourself, “Why do I sweat so much?

Anxiety, stress, medications, diet, and climate are all possible causes of profuse face sweating.

For some of us, the cause is more mysterious and the sweat is even more extreme.

This type of excessive sweating is called hyperhidrosis. In fact, there are several types of hyperhidrosis.

In this article we’re going to focus on craniofacial hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating of the face.

Hyperhidrosis affects an estimated 15 million people in the United States. Roughly 10% of them suffer from excessive forehead and facial sweating. Like you, they want to stop their excessive sweating.

While there isn’t a sure-fire cure for hyperhidrosis, there are tips and treatments that can provide relief from forehead and facial sweating.

9 Ways to Stop Face & Forehead Sweating:

  1. Handkerchiefs, Bandanas and Cooling towels
  2. Diet Hacks – Less carbs, sugar and caffeine. More vegetables, vitamins and H20.
  3. Reduce Stress + Anxiety
  4. Stop Focusing on the Sweat
  5. Clinical Strength Antiperspirants
  6. Prescription Strength Antiperspirants
  7. Botox Injections
  8. Iontophoresis
  9. Medications for Craniofacial Hyperhidrosis

How to Treat Sweaty Forehead and Facial Sweat

Let’s take a closer look at each one of these tips and treatments designed to stop sweaty forehead. Some are simple and inexpensive. Some aren’t so simple and will set you back a hefty chunk of change. The seriousness of your condition and what you may have already tried will determine which one(s) you choose.

1) Handkerchiefs, Bandanas or Cooling Towels

If you’re looking for a quick, cheap fix. These sweaty face hacks can provide some minor relief. Carry a clean handkerchief in your back pocket to wipe away excess sweat throughout the day. You can also wear a bandana to soak up extra sweat. While not a viable solution for everyone, it can help. If you live in a hot climate, a cooling towel can be very helpful in bringing down your body temperature and reducing sweat.

2) Diet Hacks to Tame Facial Sweating

Here’s the deal… you’re health is often times a reflection of your diet. If you have a poor diet, things aren’t going to work as well. Before you start taking crazy medications or undergoing life-altering surgeries, take a shot at optimizing your diet for less sweat.

What can you do? Here’s a few tweaks you can make to give yourself a fighting change at beating face/forehead sweat.

More Water: If you’re not getting enough water, your body is going to have a hard time cooling down.Less Caffeine: Caffeine promotes the release of adrenaline and puts your body into beast mode “fight or flight”. Your heart rate goes up, blood pressure rises, and for a few hours you feel unstoppable. All the super powers that come from your favorite energy drink or morning coffee have side effects. Yep… with that gain comes some pain – more sweat.

Less Alcohol: Alcohol can increase heart rate and dilate the blood vessels. This can increase body temperature and cause more sweating than normal.

Less Carbs and Junk Food: Many hyperhidrosis sufferers claim that low carb diets and Keto diets can be very effective at treating face sweating and hyperhidrosis.

More Vegetables: Vegetables do a host of things to make your body work smoother. Aside from promoting balance, veggies can aid in smooth digestion which helps reduce sweating.

More Vitamins: Vitamins, like Vitamin B, help your body carry out critical metabolic functions and inter-nerve communication that keeps things running smoothly. A smooth running body works less and sweats less.

You’ll also want to avoid spicy foods and hot foods. Spicy foods trick your body into thinking temperatures are rising and you end up sweating more. Hot foods, like coffee or soup, increase core body temperature and promote sweating.

Excessive sweating is also a common side effect of being overweight. By implementing some of the above diet hacks with some regular exercise, you can lose weight and boost your confidence. (both can drastically decrease embarrassing forehead sweat.)

3) Reduce Stress & Anxiety

A lot of people who suffer from excessive facial sweating also suffer from anxiety. In fact, anxiety and emotional stress are one of the most common sweat triggers. It makes sense that reducing the stress in your life can also eliminate the anxiety sweating that comes with it.

4) Stop Focusing on the Sweat

One of the biggest triggers for sweat is thinking about sweat. If you suffer from profuse face sweating, you know what I mean. You walk into a room, you start to think “please don’t sweat, please don’t sweat.”, your body kicks into fear/survival mode, you start sweating, you wonder “do they notice my sweat? I hope they can’t see it”, more sweat follows… and the vicious cycle continues. Eliminate your fear of sweating and it’s perceived consequences and you can eliminate much of resulting anxiety sweat.

5) Clinical Strength Antiperspirant

These antiperspirants contain higher concentrations of the active ingredients that stop profuse sweating. One of those ingredients, aluminum chloride, works by plugging sweat glands. Sweatblock is one of these. Sweatblock is stronger than the antiperspirants you’ll find down the personal care aisle as it contains 14% aluminum chloride. For many people, these enhanced-concentration antiperspirants are the best solution. They are considered the first line of attack to control excessive facial sweating. Because you can apply them with a towelette, they can be used anywhere on the body, including the forehead and face. They are also available in cream or ointment form. Applications are often repeated every four to seven days as needed.

6) Prescription Strength Antiperspirants

If you’re under a doctor’s care for your sweaty forehead, he/she may prescribe an antiperspirant with a higher concentration of the active sweat preventing ingredient. These are only available by prescription and contain up to 30% aluminum chloride hexahydrate. These antiperspirants are applied on the affected area with special applicator pads or a towelette. Be careful, these prescription strength antiperspirants can cause serious skin irritations so it’s important to follow the guidelines for use and application exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Both clinical strength and prescription strength hyperhidrosis antiperspirants are formulated primarily for underarm use but they have also proven effective for treating face and forehead sweating.

7) Botox Injections (Botulinum Toxin)

Treatment with botulinum toxin (Botox) is a long-term solution for face and forehead sweating. It temporarily blocks the chemical that switches on the nerves that cause excessive sweating. If you and your doctor opt for these injections, your skin will first be anesthetized. Each affected area of your head and/or face will receive enough injections to ensure that all the nerves have been treated. The injections are shallow and penetrate just below the surface of the skin. Botox injections performed on the face and forehead are delicate procedures so you’ll want to find a skillful and experienced practitioner. The procedure is normally not lengthy and can be done in the doctor’s office. The desired effects will last 4 to 12 months, after which the treatments must be repeated. Botox injections have been shown to reduce forehead and facial sweating up to 87%. While safe and effective, this treatment is painful. Some people experience temporary muscle pain in the treated areas. Botox injections have also proven effective in treating gustatory sweating, also known as Frey’s Syndrome. This condition leads to profuse sweating after eating even mild foods and can even occur when only thinking about eating.

8) Iontophoresis for Facial Hyperhidrosis

Iontophoresis is a treatment that has been used to treat excessive sweating since the 1940s. It’s usually applied to the hands or feet but recent improvements in its application have made the treatment more effective for craniofacial hyperhidrosis too. An easy way of understanding this procedure is to think of it as an injection without a needle. It is non-invasive and uses a low-level electric current to drive medications through the skin’s surface with the use of special pads. The process is usually repeated two or three times a week until the desired results are realized. At this point, recipients are switched to a maintenance schedule of once per week. Iontophoresis devices can be purchased allowing patients to self-medicate at home. The equipment is pricey and probably not covered by your insurance.

9) Nerve Blocking Medications for Hyperhidrosis

These medicines are called anticholinergics and are taken by mouth. Glycopyrrolate is the most commonly used. Its use as a treatment for facial sweating is considered “off-label,” meaning that while it is effective in controlling forehead and face sweating, it was formulated to treat other medical conditions. Anticholinergics work by blocking chemical messengers from reaching the receptors in the sweat glands. There are other similar receptors located in various parts of the body. Because these medicines cannot target only facial or forehead sweat glands, sweating is reduced throughout the entire body. Reduced sweating everywhere may cause overheating in some situations, so be cautious. Also, side effects such as dry mouth, constipation, blurry vision, difficulty urinating and even heart palpitations can occur. Researchers have recently found a potential dementia link in older patients (65+) using anticholinergics.

Sweaty Face and Forehead Home Remedies

There’s no shortage of do-it-yourself home remedy tips that claim to successfully treat profuse face and forehead sweating. Most are astringents used to constrict your eccrine glands and reduce sweating. They can, according to the claims, also balance pH levels. Among the most popular are drinking apple cider vinegar, sage tea or chamomile tea. Adding some honey to these teas seems to help the medicine go down. Tea tree oil is also an astringent that can be applied to the skin. Essential oils are another way to attack forehead sweat. Suggested essential oil remedies include cypress, lavender, lemon, lime, niaouli, peppermint, petitgrain and pine.

Surgery for Facial and Forehead Sweating

Surgery to remedy excessive sweaty forehead and face is not recommended – except as a last resort. The surgery most often used is endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS). It’s a permanent solution intended for people with hyperhidrosis of the hands but is sometimes used for extreme cases of craniofacial sweating. The procedure clips nerves from the spinal column that trigger sweat glands in the forehead and face. Serious and unintended consequences can result including excessive compensatory sweating in other parts of the body.

Why Does My Face Sweat So Much?

You already know that sweating is nature’s way of regulating body temperature. Sweating is natural and beneficial… except when it’s not. Normal sweating occurs when we’re overheated or when we’re stressed or nervous. When we sweat much more than is needed to control body heat or when we sweat excessively when we’re nervous, it’s considered primary hyperhidrosis.

Another cause of excessive sweating is diaphoresis. It differs from hyperhidrosis in that it is caused by an unrelated medical condition. Menopause, pregnancy, diabetes, thyroid disorders and heart attack are common causes. Diaphoresis usually affects the entire body and not specific locations.

Your face and forehead are covered with a high concentration of eccrine glands. Sympathetic nerves trigger eccrine sweat glands to secrete water directly to the surface of the skin where it cools the body by evaporation. With craniofacial hyperhidrosis, the eccrine glands go crazy.

Excessive sweating of the face and forehead is a physiological condition. It’s thought to be an inherited, genetic trait that affects the sympathetic nervous system. It can also be triggered by stress and anxiety as well as body temperature. But unlike normal sweating, it’s profuse. So profuse and excessive that it’s embarrassing, distressing and it can be debilitating if it negatively affects your quality of life. Those beads of sweat dripping from your forehead and covering your face like a sheet of heavy rain are more than annoying. They can make you want to take your cold sweaty forehead and retreat into hiding.

Here are six common complications that can occur from excessive forehead and facial sweating:

Skin Infections

Sufferers from a sweaty forehead and face are more prone to skin infections. Frequently moist skin can promote the growth of bacteria that cause common skin infections. These are particularly prevalent around hair follicles.

Maceration

Maceration is the scientific term for the mushy, wet appearance the skin can take on with profuse and chronic forehead and face sweating.

Stinging Eyes

There’s nothing quite like the sting that hits like a tsunami when waves of forehead sweat wash over your blinking eyes. Wiping your sweaty brow may not keep up with the deluge. If you’re swimming, working outside in warm weather or trying to drive, stinging sweat in the eyes can be a serious problem.

Acne and Pimples

Excessive sweating by itself does not cause acne or pimples. But, when sweat combines with over-productive oil glands, the glands can become clogged resulting in pimples, or even worse, acne.

Heat rash

Heat rash occurs when sweat droplets are trapped in blocked pores and cannot get to the surface of the skin to evaporate. The inflammation that results causes a rash. The common symptoms are red bumps popping up on the skin and a prickly or itchy sensation. Getting rid of heat rash is simple in theory, but not easy for people with overly sweaty foreheads – keep the head and face dry.

Social/emotional

The social and emotional fall-out from your cold sweaty forehead problem can be the worst complication of all. If you’re like most people who suffer from hyperhidrosis, you worry. You worry about how you look. You worry about feeling embarrassed in social situations. You worry about your sweaty forehead when eating out with friends. You worry at work. You live in fear of speaking in front of coworkers or clients. You worry about your relationships with significant others. Is there any social interaction you don’t worry about?

All these worries stemming from your overactive sweat glands could lead to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). GAD is rarely the cause of hyperhidrosis but can become a secondary symptom. It messes up your life. You may lose interest in things you love and even lapse into hopelessness.

If you experience any of these symptoms of secondary anxiety caused by hyperhidrosis, it’s vital that you seek treatment as soon as you possibly can.

Summing up

If you’re reading this article it’s likely because you suffer from facial hyperhidrosis or you’re close to somebody who does. It’s a real thing, a serious condition. The cause is probably hereditary and there is no known cure, but there are numerous treatments that can reduce or eliminate the symptoms. Life can be livelier. Life can be easier and free from sweaty embarrassment.

The treatments vary in complexity and cost. Whether it’s a clinical strength antiperspirant like Sweatblock or a nerve-blocking oral medicine, something is bound to work. Your runaway perspiring can be controlled. There is no reason to suffer in silence or for a moment longer.