An Asian woman with arms partially raised

Sweating is an essential bodily function. However, it's possible to sweat too much, and this can be uncomfortable for some people. Released from sweat glands under the skin, sweat is the body’s natural cooling mechanism, helping release heat to regulate body temperature. How much you sweat depends on different factors: age, size, muscle mass, health status, and fitness level. But how does sweat work, and more importantly, if you sweat too much, what can you do to cope?

Understanding Sweat Glands

Did you know that there are three types of sweat glands in your body?

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, humans have three types of sweat glands: eccrine, apocrine, and apoeccrine. Eccrine sweat glands are the most numerous and are distributed almost all over the body. Humans have 2 to 4 million of these, and the highest concentration is on the palms and soles. They are known to respond to thermal and emotional stimuli, which explains why our palms start sweating when we’re nervous!

Apocrine sweat glands are located primarily in the axilla, breasts, face, scalp, and perineum. They are also regarded as scent glands, responsible for producing pheromones. Apoeccrine sweat glands share properties with both eccrine and apocrine glands and are concentrated only in the axillary region — also known as the armpit. Excessive sweating can happen in any of these areas. However, axillary sweating can be more concerning as severe cases can affect social and work situations and lead to distress.

How to Deal with Overactive Sweat Glands

Don’t sweat it! There are things you can do to help control your perspiration.

If your sweating is out of control or if you sweat even in the absence of triggers such as physical activity, extreme heat, nervousness, etc., it might be a condition called hyperhidrosis. If sweat drips from your hand and feet and soaks through your clothing all the time, see a doctor immediately for treatment. In the meantime, here are some hacks for dealing with embarrassing excessive sweating!

Choose breathable fabrics in dark, neutral colors.

Sweat marks aren’t as noticeable in darker colors, such as black and navy. It might seem like wearing white will help you feel cooler, but it can also lead to prominent sweat marks and the inevitable yellow stains on the underarm area. Steer clear of grays because they reveal more sweat. Printed fabrics can help camouflage sweat.

Use a garment guard to soak up underarm sweat.

Stick garment guards on the underarms of your shirt or top, and it’ll keep sweat from soaking through. In the absence of a garment guard, you can also use a pantyliner — yes, a pantyliner — which pretty much does the same thing.

Use an antiperspirant!

Antiperspirants work by blocking sweat ducts, minimizing the amount of sweat that gets to the skin’s surface. By inhibiting perspiration, they also prevent body odor. Try Rexona Women Natural Brightening Fresh Sakura Roll-On Antiperspirant Deodorant, which brightens underarm skin and, more importantly, protects against sweat and odor for up to 48 hours. 

You can also use a spray-type deodorant for a dryer application, such as Dove Aerosol Original Nourishing and Smooth Deodorant Spray. It has ¼ moisturizing cream that softens underarm skin and protects from sweat and odor for up to 24 hours.

Shower regularly.

Bear in mind that your sweat glands aren’t limited to your underarms. Other “hot zones” include your neck, feet, and groin. Help keep your body cool by showering every day. If you prefer a pre-bedtime bath, opt for antibacterial soap that will wash away all the grime your skin and hair have accumulated throughout the day. Lifebuoy Antibacterial Body Wash Total 10 has ActivSilver, a strong ingredient that eliminates germs at their root. This creamy lather cleans deep into your pores, leaving you feeling clean and cool. You really don’t want to transfer all that dirt to your sheets, after all. 

If shower time is in your morning routine, use a shampoo that will keep you feeling cool and fresh. Sunsilk Naturals Watermelon Freshness Shampoo is lightweight with watermelon to make your scalp feel refreshed and your mood raring to seize the day. 

Always carry a cardigan or blazer.

If all else fails, layer with a lightweight cardigan or blazer to cover the sweat marks. It might help that you stop worrying if you’re soaking through your shirt to minimize stress-induced sweating. 

If your sweat glands are in constant overdrive, keep your sweat in check with the tips above, and make sure to visit your doctor if your excessive sweating is starting to interfere with your quality of life.