I think the question “why do my armpits sweat so much?” is a great question and I am happy that you asked it. It tells me that you are having a real problem and you are looking for a solution.
Did you know that I asked that same question for many years? I rarely ever asked this question to anybody else, but to myself thousands of times.
I always felt ashamed that my armpits sweat so much and always left huge, I mean huge, sweat marks behind. It took me years in finding out what clothes and in which colors I could wear to make the terrible sweat marks less visible.
And yet, I do not live in a humid or very hot climate. Ok, it gets really hot during summer time, but not humid. But most of the people living here do not sweat so much. At least that was my perception for many years.
I waited for that day to find somebody with sweat marks. And you know what? Shhhh…. although I never saw them again, I remember some faces and some people that had large sweat marks. What a relief that was for me. But that did not solve my problem.
You see how sweaty armpits can become an obsession? Everything seems to go around it. Whenever someone invited me, usually the first thought was: Who is going to be there and see my sweating and what am I going to wear?
That was plain crazy.
I did my research to stop this problem, but it seemed as if nothing helped. I even bought an e-book that claimed to stop armpit sweating, but none of the methods that were explained worked.
Let me reformulate what I just said. It is not that these methods were not effective, they were some great ways to reduce sweating naturally, but with someone suffering from hyperhidrosis, it was not enough.
What Do We Sweat For?
Have you heard the term primary hyperhidrosis? It is used to describe a condition where you sweat uncontrollably for a known reason or a non-known reason.
if you sweat moderately every time you get warm, then sweating is a completely normal body function.
You see, our whole body is filled with sweat glands (except in our ears, under our finger-and toenails) that sit right under our skin and are ready to get into action.
Yes, sweating has a specific function: Maintain our body temperature. Our body comes equipped with the most effective cooling system ever found: Sweating.
Whenever our body’s temperature goes up the normal 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, our brain quickly sends signals to our sweat glands to start producing sweat as the body is getting warmer.
Sweat glands kick in and do their job by pushing out sweat, which evaporates when coming out of our pores and takes a little heat along. That is the way our body maintains its body temperature.
Therefore, sweating excessively in your armpits, in the first instance, is great! It does exactly what it was thought for.
But… Our Body Has 2 Types of Sweat Glands
The eccrine sweat glands are located over your whole body, except where your apocrine glands are found. I will describe that in just a moment.
The eccrine glands lie just underneath the skin and the watery liquid that comes out is mainly made up of water with few salts and minerals.
These glands come into action as soon as your body is generating more heat, due to external factors such as weather, exercising, working, etc. or internal factor such as dehydration, fever, cardiovascular diseases, among others.
And then we have the apocrine glands which are found in your armpits, groin, palms, feet, and forehead exclusively. These glands are located a little deeper than the eccrine sweat glands.
These glands produce a thicker yellowish liquid that is made up of water primarily but also carries proteins, fats, minerals, and salts along.
The apocrine glands are not linked to the part in your brain that controls body temperature. They are linked to our hormones, adrenalin to be more specific.
These glands kick in as soon as you are stimulated because of stress, fear, anxiety, sex, danger, among others. And they kind of cool down these stimulations.
Interesting fact though is that in some people, these sweat glands have no “off-button”. Science has not found why in some people the apocrine sweat glands are overly active. One thing is clear, it is not necessarily due to a hormonal imbalance. It “just” happens for no known reason.
At second glance, if you sweat excessively all the time, even though you are not working or in a warm room, sweating becomes a not-so-great thing anymore as it seemed in the first place.
2 Types of Hyperhidrosis
If you sweat uncontrollably in your armpits, then you a potential candidate of one of the following types of hyperhidrosis:
1) You have primary hyperhidrosis. Commonly individuals start to develop primary hyperhidrosis during their early teenage years or even in early adulthood. It never develops in the later stages of life.
The only thing that you know about it that suddenly you start to sweat a lot, but you feel as healthy as before.
After I did my research years ago, I found that I suffer from hyperhidrosis. Healthwise, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a condition like primary hyperhidrosis. There are no long-term effects other than the ones that I mentioned: Your confidence and self-image is greatly affected. And that is enough to look for a solution.
If you suffer from primary hyperhidrosis you can usually tell because it does not follow a pattern. You can be in the hot sun on some days and will not sweat a drop, and then you can watch a movie in a cold room and still sweat as if you were a leaking container and vice-versa.
2) You have secondary hyperhidrosis. There is another form of excessive sweating which is not only uncomfortable but needs immediate medical attention in some cases.
Secondary hyperhidrosis is when you sweat excessively but for a reason. It can happen to anybody at any age. It comes suddenly and it will go away once you find the cause and you get a cure for it.
If you have only recently started to sweat excessively and you are over 25 years old or you know of somebody that is not even a teenager yet, watch sweating closely. It could mean diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pregnancy, fever, cancer, tumors, hyperthyroidism, obesity, etc.
However, most of the time, sweating will not be the first sign of these diseases, but it will be a symptom along the way.
Also, secondary sweating usually has a pattern. For example, you sweat only on the right side of the body, or just in your armpits, or at certain times of the day, or under certain circumstances, whereas primary hyperhidrosis does not follow a pattern.
Is There Something I Can Do About My Sweating?
Definitely, there are things you can do that will give you relief.
However, first figure out why you sweat excessively. Is it just because the weather is becoming warmer and you work outside or because you do not have air conditioning? Or is it that you are sweating uncontrollably in your armpits for a long time already and there is no reason for it? Or is there an underlying health issue that you are aware of or maybe even unaware of?
For each of the above-described types of hyperhidrosis, there is something you can do. Let’s find out what exactly. I’ll describe three different scenarios.
You are doing your exercise routine and you sweat a lot in your armpits. But once your body cools down, your sweating ceases and will not come back until your body gets warm again due to thick layers of clothing, working, doing chores, running errands, warm and humid climates, or others.
If that is the case, you can do one of the following:
1) Wear appropriate clothes. Believe it or not, what you wear can influence your sweating a lot. If you wear breathable fabrics that let your skin breathe and keep it naturally cool, you will reduce your sweating.
If you do not suffer from hyperhidrosis, look at the clothes that you wear and see how they can make you sweat a lot in your armpits.
Ideally, look for natural fabrics, either animal or plant-based. Cotton, coir, flax, silk, and many others are great options because they are breathable.
But if you look for synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon, modal, and many others, you will see that they won’t let your skin breathe, hence generating more heat which in turn causes you to sweat more.
2) Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water keeps your body hydrated. If you don’t drink enough, your blood becomes thicker, so your heart and all vital organs have to work really hard to get the blood supply to all the vessels. That alone generates more heat because your body organs have to work harder.
Therefore, by drinking enough water, you reduce your sweating.
3) Change your diet. Did you know that there are foods and drinks that trigger sweating? There is a small substance that is found in different foods, specifically spicy foods, called capsaicin, that tricks your body into believing that it is getting warmer. That automatically turns on the sweat glands.
Also, caffeinated drinks, alcoholic beverages trigger sweat glands.
Consider checking out what you eat and drink and make some changes. If that reduces your sweating, it is well worth it.
4) Use an antiperspirant. Putting on an antiperspirant reduces sweating effectively for individuals that don’t suffer from hyperhidrosis. Applying an antiperspirant two hours before your workout routine, will definitely make a difference in your sweating.
Check out this list of best antiperspirants for men and women.
You are doing a job interview and you don’t know what to dress because you know that even before you get there, you will be completely sweaty. For long have you waited and prepared for this big moment, but then you cannot wait until it is over because you realize that you will have ugly sweat marks in your armpits and your hands will be sweaty.
You prepared well for this interview because your future depends on the money this job gives you and you absolutely would like that position. However, this ugly sweating interferes and takes away the ambitions you have.
In the end, you opt for a dark shirt or blouse, and you even think of wearing a sweater even though is in the warm summer months.
Do you follow me? Isn’t that outright awful to live that? Primary hyperhidrosis can get in your way and take away the joys of parties, celebrations, and others.
Let me tell you that this is exactly what I lived for years until I found the solution. So, what can you do?
1) Wear sweat proof undershirts. It is not many years when sweat proof undershirts did not exist. Now, you can find different brands on the market. They have the hydro-shield technology, which is a patented pad that soaks up the sweat and will not let it come through to your clothes.
I have found these undershirts as the number one option to continue sweating, but protect your clothes from the sweat in your armpits. They do a fantastic job. Since I suffer from hyperhidrosis, as mentioned, I wear these every single day and I second layer of clothes stays completely dry the whole day.
2) Use a clinical strength antiperspirant. Another thing that has helped me greatly is the use of clinical strength antiperspirants. These contain aluminum chloride which, when applied to your armpits, forms a gel-like substance that blocks the sweat glands completely. This will last up to 10 days, depending on the application, on the product, and how your body accepts the antiperspirant.
There is much debate about whether you should or should not use antiperspirants because of health reasons. If you doubt about it as well, read all about aluminum chloride.
If you prefer not to wear a sweat proof undershirt because you live in a hot climate, this is the best option for you. You need to put a clinical strength antiperspirants on only maybe once a week.
Beware of skin irritation, which you could experience, although I find it does not happen if you apply the product as mentioned.
Click here to read about my favorite clinical strength antiperspirants.
You have never had problems with sweating and suddenly you see how sweating increases. It might be that you wake up in the middle of the night and you are completely drenched in sweat, although the room is cool. The strange thing is that you did not have a nightmare, which often cause night sweats.
That is a clear indicator that there is an underlying health issue, which needs to be addressed promptly.
Although this scenario could include many different situations that make you sweat, Not only night sweats are signs of problems. Shortness of breath accompanied by sweating, for example, could also be an indicator that something is wrong in your body.
And there are a few things that you want to make sure:
1) If you know for sure what is causing this sweating like you have not experienced it before, make sure it is nothing to worry about. For example, pregnancies can increase sweating very much and are a normal response from your body because of temperature rise.
2) Seek medical advice promptly if you have no idea what is going on. For example, cardiovascular diseases very often cause excessive sweating. I’ve seen that with family members that have suffered from cardiovascular disease are sweating excessively and it seems the worse their problem is, the worse sweating gets.
3) If you are obese, you must have experienced excessive sweating as well. It is crucial for you to lose weight not only to stop sweating but also to be healthy. I’ve experienced that sweating does reduce when weight is lost. I was around 100 pounds overweight for many years and sweated excessively. Although my sweating problem started before I was overweight, I know that my weight did its part.
Now, that I’ve lost around 40 pounds, I notice that my sweating has slightly reduced, but I still suffer from hyperhidrosis.
Many people that sweat excessively when obese, stop sweating completely once they get down to their ideal body weight. That is why sweating due to obesity is under secondary hyperhidrosis.
The point is that you seek medical advice and don’t leave secondary hyperhidrosis unattended.
Why Do My Armpits Sweat So Much? Conclusion
Armpit sweating has multiple causes, as described in this article. It can cause so much distress in one’s life, especially if sweating is profuse.
The good thing is that effective solutions have been developed in recent years that can take care of this problem.
From conventional antiperspirants to clinical strength antiperspirants, sweat proof undershirts, changes in your diet, drinking more liquids, changing the fabrics that you wear, seeing a doctor, among others, there a solution for every case of sweating.
Are you dealing with heavy sweating armpits? Did you hear about these solutions before? Have you made use of them or have they helped?
I would love to hear how you have dealt with this problem. Please leave a comment below. And don’t forget to share with family and friends by clicking the social media buttons below.
As always, here to help.