Sweaty armpits are sometimes the result of a natural function that helps regulate the body temperature during exercise or warm weather. Sweat evaporates and reduces excess heat from the body. However, excessive sweating especially in the armpits can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. It may occur when one is emotionally charged, nervous or anxious, even when the weather is fine.
Another possible problem with sweaty armpits is that it can be accompanied by unpleasant body odor. Although sweat in itself is without odor, bacteria on your skin can react with the sweat and produce a characteristic body odor. Managing sweaty armpits is therefore important for hygiene and maintaining a comfortable social life. Here are some ways to prevent or manage this problem.
How to Stop Sweaty Armpits
1. Apply an Antiperspirant Daily
- An antiperspirant is a product that usually contains aluminum chloride and helps stop perspiration. It differs from a deodorant, which only helps to control body odor. Antiperspirants may be sold over-the-counter as roll-ons, gels, soft solids or sprays.
- To stop sweaty armpits it is best to use antiperspirant daily. There are many products available in supermarkets and pharmacies, and it is advisable to get one that suits your needs.
- Choose one that is especially formulated for men if you are a man, or one that is for feminine use if you are a woman. New formulations are usually stronger and their effects may last for several hours. Products that contain aluminum chloride are recommended, since this active ingredient can block the production of sweat temporarily.
2. Consider Prescription Antiperspirants
- If your sweaty armpits do not improve despite the use of common antiperspirants, you may need a prescription-strength antiperspirant, which contains higher concentrations (30 to 45%) of the active ingredient.
- Some people need this type of antiperspirant because continuous sweating breaks down the layer of antiperspirant applied to the skin. A higher concentration of aluminum chloride can temporarily plug the ducts of sweat glands to slow down the formation of sweat.
3. Use Antiperspirants at the Right Time
- Most people apply antiperspirants right after taking a bath or shower. Some people experience skin irritation such as itching or stinging after applying the product. To make the product work better and make its effects last longer, it is recommended that you change your routine and timing of application.
- Avoid using antiperspirant after a hot shower or after shaving the armpit, because these will enhance the skin reaction with the particles in the product. Instead, apply your antiperspirant on cool, dry skin before going to bed. The reason for this is that you sweat less when you are at rest and therefore the antiperspirant will not get washed away and will have a chance to work better. The effect is further enhanced if you apply another layer the following morning.
Video for product to stop excessive sweating：
4. Wear Breathable Fabric
- Reduce sweating by wearing clothes made of the right fabric – those that allow the skin to “breathe”. Natural fabrics like cotton, linen or hemp have looser weaves which make them more breathable fabrics that allow air to circulate around the body. These fabrics can also absorb moisture such as sweat, which prevents bacteria from multiplying and producing body odor.
- Some synthetic or manmade fibers like lyocell, bamboo, and modal come from plant cellulose and pulps and they work like natural fabrics. Microfiber fabrics can also draw away moisture from your skin to the outside, thus preventing sweaty armpits.
- Avoid using clothes made of synthetic fabrics like nylon, polyester, or rayon, which have tighter weaves that trap heat and moisture. These prevent moisture from evaporating easily and create a greenhouse effect in your underarms, causing sweaty armpits.
5. Have the Right Food and Drinks
- Foods and Drinks to Avoid. Avoid food and beverages that can cause excessive sweating such as alcoholic beverages, caffeinated drinks, onions, and garlic. Hot beverages can raise the body temperature and cause the body to break out into a sweat. Pepper and other spicy foods contain a compound called capsaicin, which triggers sweating to occur.
- Alternatives to Resort to. Instead of having a cup of hot, strong coffee, switch to cold or iced decaf beverage for a refreshing drink. You can also opt to drink cold water to keep you hydrated and to maintain a normal body temperature. Another way to stop underarm perspiration and body odor is to rub half a lime in the armpit before bedtime, until it is coated with juice. Let it dry.
6. Manage Your Emotions and Stress
Stressful situations like speaking in public or going on a date can trigger emotions like anxiety, causing the sweat glands to be more active. This bodily response is normal but for some people it can cause uncontrollable sweating, rapid heartbeats, and drying of the mouth.
To manage your emotions and stress, adapt a healthy lifestyle with enough exercise. Positive thinking and stress reduction techniques may help prevent sweaty underarms, and these include:
Watch 3 proven ways to stop armpit sweating for more home remedies:
7. Consider Medical Solutions
Excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis may indicate a medical problem. If ordinary means do not work, one may consider getting medical help. Treatment options include:
- Iontophoresis. This non-invasive procedure delivers low currents of electricity like mild electrical shocks to the armpits, while immersed in water. These last a few minutes and shut off the sweat glands temporarily.
- Oral anticholinergic medications block the action of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, which stimulates the sweat glands. Effects begin after a couple of weeks. Side effects include drying of the mouth, blurry vision and constipation.
- Botulinum Toxin or Botox may be injected in the armpits to block nerves, which stimulate sweating. This treatment can last for about six months.
- Tranquilizers or Antidepressants may be prescribed to control symptoms related to excessive stress, which results in heavy sweating.
- Surgery is considered only for severe cases when conservative treatments fail. It involves removing the sweat glands by liposuction.
When to See a Doctor
If your sweaty armpits are not just the result of stress or exercise, and ordinary treatments do not seem to work, you may need to call a doctor. You may be suffering from hyperhidrosis, which is characterized by excessive sweating in the underarms, palms, and soles. Heavy sweating may also be caused by an underlying medical condition such as hyperthyroidism, heart disease, tuberculosis, hypoglycemia, menopause, leukemia, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and anxiety disorder. If you are taking medications for some diseases like tricyclic antidepressants or beta-blockers, you may also experience excessive sweating.