How to Sweat Less When You’re Trying to Stay Cool

There is a time and place for sweat. During your workout routine? Expected and sometimes satisfying.

(That doesn’t mean you got a good workout, though.)

Whether you’re going to a job interview or just trying to run some errands, sweat is totally undesirable.

If you feel like you sweat too much in non-fitness situations, know that your concern is valid.

Another unpleasant fact about sweat is that how we sweat affects how others perceive us.

But you are not stuck feeling sweat in all situations.

If you’re wondering how to sweat less, you can keep cool beyond refusing to go anywhere with air conditioning.

1. Talk to your doctor first

The elderly woman of the house is sweating

Because some health conditions can cause your sweat glands to work overtime, talk to your doctor if you seem to sweat excessively.

Any condition that causes fever or involves your thyroid gland (your body’s thermostat), as well as menopause, “can be associated with temperature regulation and sweating,” explains Dr. Adam Mamelak, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Austin, Texas. .

“While treating the sweating may provide temporary symptomatic relief, addressing the underlying cause is usually the best strategy for managing excessive sweating,” Mamelak says.

And, he adds, there’s also hyperhidrosis — “excess sweating not related to an underlying medical disorder.”

Stress can cause sweating, so mention this to your doctor as well.

2. Check your medication

Pill bottle in cabinet, close-up

Several prescription and OTC medications can increase sweating.

Check the labels of medications you are taking to see if sweating is a possible side effect. If so, talk to your doctor – they need to know this information.

They can also discuss possible treatment options if any. If not, don’t worry. There are ways to control sweating.

3. Dial back the caffeine

The man is drinking coffee at home

We know this isn’t welcome news, but too much caffeine can make you more sensitive to sweating.

Although caffeine at low doses “primarily acts on our central nervous system, alerting us,” Dr. Mamelak explains that “at high doses, caffeine can increase our thermogenesis in the body, making us sweat.”

4. Apply your antiperspirant at night

If your overactive underarm sweat is mild, changing the time you apply antiperspirant may be the key to how to reduce sweating.

Because antiperspirant works best when it’s unobstructed.

If you’re already sweating, it’s more challenging for an antiperspirant to keep you dry.

Antiperspirant plugs use aluminum chloride to block sweat glands, preventing sweat from building up on your skin, Dr. Mamelak explains.

“If applied at night when you’re not active and moving around, the antiperspirant has more time to work and seal the sweat ducts, rather than working against sweat and perspiration,” he says.

5. And use it wherever you need it

In addition to sweaty underarms, it is not uncommon to have sweaty feet and hands.

“There’s no reason why you can’t apply antiperspirant to your palms, feet, and other areas,” says Dr. Mamelak.

So if you know your hands and feet tend to sweat, put it on – and maybe do it at night.

Check the label of your antiperspirant before applying it to sensitive areas like your groin.

6. Drink cold drinks

“Sweating occurs when the body’s temperature rises above the level set by the body’s thermostat,” explains Dr. Mamelak.

Sweating is one way the body sheds excess heat to lower its internal temperature, but there are other ways to do it.

Keeping a cold drink handy can act as an external cooling source – and keep you hydrated.

7. Apply cold or cold compress

Cool compresses work for the same reason: they help your body return to a preferred temperature.

And since you’re administering it externally with the compress, your body doesn’t have to sweat.

Keep small ice packs in the fridge when you need them if you know they help.

Try applying it to your neck, wrists or back to cool yourself down.

8. Choose your clothes wisely

You probably have sweat-wicking fabric when you work out. Just as you have specific clothing for your sweat session, you can optimize your clothing to offset or hide your sweat.

“Loose clothing allows air to circulate closer to the skin and cools the body,” says Dr. Mamelak.

She also suggests taking fashion cues from desert dwellers.

Choose “white and light-colored clothing that reflects more heat than dark colors.”

And if your lifestyle allows it, embrace the athleisure trend. Wear performance clothes that wick sweat and help keep you cool.

Dress in layers so you can keep cool without being too restrictive!

9. Avoid trigger foods

Certain foods can increase sweating – not great news for those who already sweat a lot.

“Hot and spicy foods, including peppers, onions, garlic, can cause sweating,” says Dr. Mamelak.

But if you’ve cut them out and still can’t stop sweating, there are other potential culprits.

Alcohol can also affect the body’s internal thermometer, he adds. Try cutting again and see if your sweat glands calm down too.

10. Try a strong antiperspirant

Woman applying deodorant

In case you’re wondering, yes, there is a big difference between what you buy at the drugstore and what a doctor can prescribe.

Dr. Mamelak explains that prescription antiperspirants can contain high levels of aluminum chloride.

“This higher concentration is more effective at blocking the sweat glands,” he explains.

If you think you need one, Dr. Mameluk recommends talking to a dermatologist.

11. Consider other treatments

Your doctor may try a prescription antiperspirant first, but know that there are other options if it doesn’t work as expected.

Dr. Mameluk explains that your dermatologist may suggest other, more permanent options.

Botox is an alternative because it works by blocking nerve signals. In your forehead, Dr. Mamelak explains, it stops the signals that tell your muscles to contract.

Since “the same nerve signals stimulate the sweat glands to produce sweat,” he adds, “Botox can be used to block the nerve signals in the armpits, face, hands and feet from stimulating the sweat glands to produce sweat.”

12. Slow down and take your time

If you walk or bike instead of driving, you’re going to sweat the occasion.

You have a few options to avoid showing up anywhere as a hot, sweaty mess. First, you can give yourself more time to commute, so you can slow down and sweat less.

Or, if you use your commute as your workout, pack extra clothes, antiperspirant, and wet wipes when you arrive.

Pro tip: Don’t let the fear of sweat interfere with your daily activities. When you choose the stairs instead of the elevator, for example, give yourself some time to cool off at the top!

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