Sweating might be sexy when you’re between the sheets, but nervous sweating is anything but. Yes, nervous sweating can be an embarrassing and annoying problem, especially if you’re on a first date or trying to pick someone up. At first, you’re cool and charming, and the next minute you’ve got swimming pools in your underarms. Not a good look.
Humans sweat one liter per day. This seems like an excessive amount, but most of it evaporates as soon as it leaves your body. If you find you are sweating more than this every day you may be dealing with stress sweat. Actually, nervous sweating is a form of social anxiety usually associated with hyperhidrosis. Just another little quirk those with social stresses have to deal with.
Here’s how to stop excessive sweating and save your laundry from pit stains!
Why do people sweat?
Thermoregulation is the processes where your brain calls up your sweat glands and tells them it’s time to start raining out your body. This is done to keep your body cool and, well, regulated! People sweat for plenty of reasons including exercise, stress, food, sickness, heat, and you guessed it: nerves.
Male sweat glands are more active than female ones, which is why men generally sweat more than women. Not that there aren’t times when women take the gold medal for perspiration. Here’s looking at you, hormonal changes! [Read: Gynophobia – The fear of women and ways to overcome it]
Who’s the culprit?
If you’re looking for someone to blame, look no further than your own body. That’s right, it turned against you!
There are two types of sweat glands. First, there are the eccrine glands. These are responsible for the sweaty heads, faces, hands, and feet. Second are the apocrine glands. These are responsible for underarm and groin sweat, as well as stress-related perspiring.
Why nervous sweating is annoying
Not only is nervous sweating embarrassing, it’s also pretty annoying. Those who suffer from excessive perspiration know what it’s like to carry deodorant and an extra shirt in their cars. Not fun. Here are just some of the reasons nervous sweating is annoying.
#1 It stinks. Sweat, by nature, doesn’t actually have a scent. But when the bacteria on your skin starts to salsa with your sweat, they begin to multiply and cause body odor. This is not a good time. [Read: Social anxiety to social butterfly – how to be less awkward]
#2 It leaves stains. Those who use white solid antiperspirants will probably notice the buildup of tiny snowmen underneath your arms during the day. Attractive, right? Not only are these white balls annoying, they also stain your clothes.
#3 Heat rash sucks. Candida yeast naturally found on your skin can actually cause a rash when there is a buildup of sweat on your body. This will usually occur between the thighs and around your armpits. Heat rash can also occur if you are allergic to your deodorant or if you aggravate your skin with tight, synthetic fabrics.
When your wet skin comes into rubbing contact with another part of your body over and over, you will probably find yourself with a rash of red, painful bumps. These can take days to go away and cause extreme discomfort.
Why people suffer from excessive, nerrvous sweating
Sweating is a natural function of your body. This is going to happen when you are over-exerted, nervous, or even drunk. However, nervous sweating is usually caused by one of four triggers. One of these are probably why you’re getting sweat stains. [Read: The socially awkward person’s guide to flirting]
#1 Social anxiety and stress. Stress can trigger your large apocrine glands. When you get sweaty during social interactions, you will probably also notice your heart begin to race and your adrenaline heighten.
Anxiety triggers how the body reacts to certain situations. Since your adrenaline has kicked in and your breathing has quickened, your sweat glands will soon follow suit.
#2 Hyper-stimulation. When under extreme stress, the body starts to have a stress reaction. This stress response tricks the body into thinking it’s in danger, and the body begins to react accordingly. This usually results in sweaty palms, hot and cold sweats, and involuntary sweating at any time for seemingly no reason at all.
#3 Worrying about sweating. Yeah, this one sucks. The more you worry about social nervous sweating, the more likely you are to psyche your body into following through. You can combat this with deep breathing exercises. [Read: How not to be nervous – 18 calm ways to eliminate nerves instantly]
Breathe in through your nose and hold your breath for several seconds before exhaling slowly through the mouth. Your exhale should take about 6 seconds. Self-acceptance is also important. So you may as well acknowledge that yes, you’re going to sweat in public, but it’s going to go away – why worry?
How to stop nervous sweating
Now that you know the ‘who’s and what’s’ of the world of sweating, it’s time to learn how to cope with it. Here are 7 simple tips and tricks for dealing with nervous sweating.
#1 Wear deodorant. Deodorant vs. antiperspirant. It goes without saying that if you suffer from chronic sweating, you should be wearing some kind of underarm protection. Here is the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant.
Deodorant: A deodorant is usually a scented substance applied to the underarms that will help prevent the bacterial breakdown that causes body odor. This is not meant to prevent sweating, it is meant to prevent the odor associated with sweating.
Antiperspirant: An antiperspirant is also a scented gel or solid applied to the underarms. However, this type of deodorant by works by blocking your sweat glands. Antiperspirants are usually more powerful than a regular deodorant, but one could argue that sweat is *supposed* to leave the body, not stay trapped inside.
Antiperspirants also use chemicals like aluminum, which aren’t the healthiest for your body. If you use antiperspirants, try not to pack it on one layer after another. If you feel you need a touch-up, wash your armpits off with soap and water firs,t and then reapply. This will help prevent unnecessary pore blockage.
Whichever method you choose, make sure you’re wearing underarm protection every day and take a travel sized bar with you for on-the-go emergencies.
PS: You can become resistant to your deodorants. It’s recommended that you switch your deodorant every 6 months to keep your body guessing!
#2 Watch what you eat. Have you ever heard of “coffee sweats”? Caffeine can cause adrenaline levels to spike and trigger your eccrine glands. Put simply, caffeine increases sweating. Spicy foods, alcohol, and nicotine should also be avoided, as they can trigger sweating. What better time to quit smoking?
#3 Take up exercise. Is it counterproductive to take up a habit that causes your body to sweat in order to prevent excess sweating? Absolutely not! Exercising is a healthy way to reduce anxiety and stimulate happy-go-lucky endorphins. Exercise can also tire out your body. The less energy you have, the less your body will be able to produce heat and sweat. [Read: Sweaty sex – 12 animalistic reasons why it’s so dripping hot]
#4 Stay hydrated throughout the day. Sweating, especially in excess, can actually dehydrate your body. Make sure you are drinking at least 8 glasses, or 30-50 ounces of water each day to maintain a healthy self.
#5 Stay calm. Easier said than done, obviously. To avoid whirling into a sweaty panic, try visualizing yourself as calm and collected. Other ideas include listening to calming music, reading a book, or doing breathing exercises. The more you think about yourself being relaxed, the less your nervous system will spin out on overdrive. [Read: Stop being socially awkward – 13 steps that’ll change you for good]
#6 Get a good night’s rest. Sleep plays an integral role in the overall health of your body. Get a good night’s rest of at least eight hours and give your body time to recover from the day.
#7 Wear clothes that allow your skin to breathe. If you have a social engagement, try and plan your outfit ahead of time. If you know you’re going to be at an event, dress accordingly. Stick to clothes that won’t create excess body heat. Clothes that allow your body to breathe will be better for your body and your confidence.
[Read: 10 Motivational tips-n-tricks for introverts and shy people]
Not only is nervous sweating embarrassing, it can also be incredibly frustrating to live with. Whether you perspire due to anxiety, social phobia, or because you’re wary about an upcoming date, it’s comforting to know that you can overcome nervous sweating.
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Waverly Smith is a freelance writer who has been getting paid for spreading her sarcastic take on love, life, and sex since 2010. She is many things that peo...
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