Hyperhidrosis: Tips for managing

Many people who sweat excessively do not realize that they have a treatable medical condition. The following tips can help you gain control.

    1. See a dermatologist for a diagnosis. A dermatologist is one of the few doctors who receives training in the diagnosis and treatment of hyperhidrosis. A dermatologist can tell you what type of hyperhidrosis you have and recommend appropriate treatment.
    2. Prepare for your appointment with a dermatologist. You’ll get the most benefit from your appointment if you can answer the following questions:
      • Do any of your blood relatives have excessive sweating?
      • Do you sweat a lot while sleeping?
      • When did you first notice the excessive sweating?
      • Do you avoid certain activities or social situations because of your sweating?
      • How often do you sweat excessively?
      • Does anything seem to trigger your sweating?
    3. Get the best results from an antiperspirant by following these tips:
      • Make sure you are using an antiperspirant rather than a deodorant. Antiperspirants can reduce sweating. Deodorants mask or stop body odor, but allow you to sweat.
      • Apply antiperspirant to dry skin before going to bedYour dermatologist may give you more tips for using antiperspirant that can help your individual situation. For example, your dermatologist may give you a prescription for an antiperspirant. You might apply the antiperspirant for 3 to 5 days in a row before going to sleep. Then you might use it once or twice a week.
    4. Keep a sweat journal. For many people who sweat excessively, certain situations trigger their sweating. Learning whether you have triggers is important. This knowledge can tell you when you need more help controlling the sweating. You also may find that you can avoid some triggers.Common triggers include heat, feeling anxious, and certain foods. Foods and beverages that are common triggers contain:
      • Monosodium glutamate (MSG).
      • Caffeine (chocolate, coffee, tea).
      • Hot sauce.
      • Spices such as curry or cumin.
      • Alcohol.
    5. Sweaty feet? Follow these self-care tips: When feet stay wet or clammy, you increase your risk for foot odors and skin infections like athlete’s foot. Dermatologists recommend:
      • Wear sandals when you can.
      • Wear shoes made of a natural material like leather. This allows air to circulate.
      • Slip off your shoes when you can.
      • Avoid wearing the same shoes 2 days in a row. You want the shoes to dry completely before you wear them again.
      • Wear socks that wick moisture away from your skin. Cotton socks do not wick moisture away. If socks can wick moisture away, it will say so on the packaging.
      • Change socks daily or more often if the socks are wet.
      • Wash socks before you wear them again.
      • Apply antiperspirant to your feet before you go to bed, and wash it off when you wake up. Do this for 3 to 4 nights in a row. Then apply it once a week.

Related resources:

International Hyperhidrosis Society


Hornberger J, Grimes K, Naumann M, et al. “Recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of primary focal hyperhidrosis.” J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004;51:274-86.

Miller J, Hurley H. “Diseases of the eccrine and apocrine sweat glands.” In: Bolgna J, Jorizzo J, Rapini R, et al. editors. Dermatology. 2nd ed. Spain, Elsevier Limited. 2008. p. 531-8.

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