Why do my armpits sweat so much?!
Hey there. You're probably here for one of three reasons;
1. Your excessive armpit sweating is driving you crazy and you want answers.
2. Your "friend" has really sweaty armpits and you're only asking for them ;)
3. You're preparing a compelling TED talk on how to harvest excess underarm sweat and turn it into a delicious beverage. (Certainly not the weirdest TED topic)
No matter where you fit in, this article should give you a pretty good place to start.
And... if you read until the end, we'll share one of the most effective methods for stopping excessive underarm sweat - without needles, prescriptions or expensive medical procedures.
Let's start with one of the most common questions around this topic...
Why do my armpits sweat so much EVEN with deodorant?
Degree, Dove, Old Spice... you've tried them all. But even with the latest and greatest deodorants, the sweat still flows. Your armpits are wet and shirts soaked. Why?
Contrary to popular belief, deodorant doesn't stop sweat. Deodorant will only mask body odor and prevent sweat-loving bacteria from stinking up your pits.
So, if you're sweating with deodorant, it's because deodorant isn't designed to stop the sweat.
Antiperspirant, on the other hand, is.
Make sure you're using a strong antiperspirant or an antiperspirant deodorant combo if your goal is to sweat less.
If you sweat excessively with antiperspirants, keep reading.
How do you know if your armpits are sweating too much?
If you ask the sweat experts, they'll tell you that any amount of sweat over 100 mg every 5 minutes is excessive.1
Now, before you grab a stopwatch and measuring cup, let's talk about a few other realistic methods of determining your sweat severity.
According to Lyall Gorenstein, Surgical Director at the Columbia University Hyperhidrosis Center, sweat becomes excessive when it causes "social or personal embarrassment, withdrawal and/or avoidance behavior."2
Other signs of excessive underarm sweating:
- You avoid wearing light-colored shirts and delicate fabrics because you're afraid of sweat stains.
- You wear your jacket even when you aren't cold to hide your sweat.
- Your armpits sweat even when you aren't hot or anxious.
- You spend time worrying about your armpit sweat and planning around it.
- You shower regularly, and you still struggle with body odor and sweat.
- You always have extra shirts handy – just in case.
- You don't like to be hugged or touched by other people because of your armpit sweat.
- You've chosen a different career, ended a relationship, or skipped important events because of your underarm sweating.
So, if any of this sounds familiar, you may have a condition called axillary hyperhidrosis.
Axillary Hyperhidrosis = Excessive Armpit Sweating
Medical terminology alert! Hyperhidrosis is medical jargon for excessive sweating. Roughly 4.8% or 15.3 million Americans have hyperhidrosis.3
Axillary hyperhidrosis is the medical name for excessive sweating of the armpits. 51% of people with hyperhidrosis have axillary hyperhidrosis.
But why does this kind of profuse armpit sweating happen?
8 Common Sweaty Armpit Causes
Here are eight of the most common sweaty armpit causes...
Do you sweat excessively all over your body or just your armpits? If you just sweat excessively from one or two locations, you likely have focal hyperhidrosis, and there isn't usually a known cause.4
You just sweat more than the average person. (Don't worry. There are still treatment options. Keep reading).
In generalized hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating all over the body), there's typically an identifiable cause5. Occasionally, in focal hyperhidrosis, there is, too. (The rest of the causes on this list are some of the most common ones.)
Heat and humidity can make you sweat more than usual. If your climate is particularly humid, then your excessive sweating could be a result of the environment.
Emergency medicine doctor from Methodist Hospital, Marny Benjamin explains:
"…on a humid day, sweat has a harder time evaporating into the air. That's where the hot, sticky feeling comes from. Sweat rests on our skin, unable to evaporate into the air.
As a result, our bodies continue to sweat and sweat—but feel no relief. Ultimately, high humidity throws the body into overdrive to cool itself."6
3. Stress & Anxiety
The apocrine glands, the sweat glands located in the armpits and groin, respond more to emotional stimuli, like anxiety and fear, than they do to temperature.7 So, your armpits naturally sweat more when you're anxious, afraid, or stressed.
Excessive armpit sweating could be a result of being too stressed or anxious. Your stressful job, tumultuous relationship, or daily routine could be to blame.
Sometimes, hyperhidrosis is caused by an underlying anxiety disorder. If you have an anxiety disorder, you likely have other symptoms like headaches, trembling, stuttering, lightheadedness, a hot face feeling, clammy hands, and nervousness.8
Certain foods can trigger sweating. These foods include spicy foods, meat, caffeine, fatty processed foods, and alcohol. If your excessive armpit sweating always happens after eating certain foods, then that trigger food might be the issue.
Read more about how foods can impact sweating here.
Alternatively, if you notice that you sweat every time you eat, no matter what you're eating, you could have a condition called Frey's Syndrome. (If you feel this fits your sweating situation, consult with your doctor about possible treatments.)
It seems like genes are to blame for most things, right? Excessive sweating is no different. 30-50% of people diagnosed with hyperhidrosis have a family member who also suffers from excessive sweating.
If anyone else in your family frequently sweats through their shirts, your sweaty armpits might just be genetic.
The apocrine glands begin working during puberty when your hormones kick in, so it's no surprise that hormones play a role in the production of underarm sweat.9
Hormonal changes like puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can all cause temporary upticks in sweat. However, if your underarm sweating isn't temporary, an underlying hormone imbalance, like a thyroid issue, could be the cause.10
7. Medical Conditions
Some medical conditions can cause excess armpit sweat. These include diabetes, heart disease, infections, low blood sugar, cancers, thyroid problems, nervous system disorders, spinal cord injuries, and more.
If you have underlying medical conditions, make sure that sweat isn't a symptom.
Also, don't ignore warning signs. If you think you might have an undiagnosed medical condition, be sure to make an appointment with your physician.
8. Medication Side Effects
Like medical conditions, medications sometimes have unexpected side effects. One website that lists pharmaceutical side effects had "sweating" listed as a side effect on 328 different medications.11
If you take any prescriptions, check the side effects to make sure they aren't causing your excessive armpit sweating.
How do you stop excessive armpit sweating?
The million dollar question, right?
The good news... you're not the only person asking this question. Millions of people, just like you, have asked the same questions.
As a result, scientists and doctors have spent years searching for ways to stop excessive armpit sweat.
Some of the most effective sweating treatments include:
- Dietary and Lifestyle Changes
- Strong Antiperspirants
- Botox Injections
- MiraDry Treatments
- And more
If your sweating isn't excessive, but you're looking for holistic or natural treatments, check out this HUGE list of ways to stop sweating naturally.
If your sweating is profuse and uncontrollable, check out this comprehensive list of hyperhidrosis treatments with their pros and cons.
As promised, here's an almost sure-fire way to end that unwanted armpit sweating
Seriously, it works for about 70% of the people that try it.
And it doesn't involve expensive equipment, needles or harmful medications.
Here it is: SweatBlock Antiperspirant Wipes. These clinical strength sweat wipes are extremely effective in stopping excessive underarm sweating.
Just dab a SweatBlock wipe to a clean, dry underarm right before bedtime. In the morning, shower, wash off, and do your thing.
Most people get 6-7 days of dryness with each SweatBlock application.
Give SweatBlock a try. You've got nothing to lose but embarrassing sweat and anxiety. Plus, if you don't love it, it's free.
- 1. International Journal of Dermatology https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25599582/
- 2. Allure https://www.allure.com/story/hyperhidrosis-excessive-sweating-treatments-causes
- 3. Archives of Dermatological Research https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27744497/
- 4. Cleveland Clinic https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17113-hyperhidrosis
- 5. Canadian Medical Association Journal https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC543948/#
- 6. HealthPartners https://www.healthpartners.com/blog/humidity-can-make-you-sick/
- 7. Science Direct https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/sweat-gland
- 8. Healthline https://www.healthline.com/health/diagnosing-hyperhidrosis/depression-and-anxiety#4
- 9. NCBI https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482278/
- 10. MedExpress https://www.medexpress.com/about/newsroom/2019-press-releases-media-coverage/medexpress-reasons-you-might-be-sweating-a-lot.html
- 11. SideEffects http://sideeffects.embl.de/se/C0038990/