Hands up if you're worried about sweat

Hands up if you're worried about sweat

If you feel your body sweat or odour impacts your social life, or avoid raising your arms or shaking hands in public, you're not alone. Many of us fear wet underarms or palms, and for some it even stops them participating in outdoor events or wearing body-hugging outfits.

It can be hard to know if this is normal, and everyone is experiencing it, or whether it is just you. Maybe you are suffering more than others?Here are some ways to tell whether you're sweating the right amount, or if excessive sweat is something to worry about.

WHY DO WE SWEAT?

As smelly and unpleasant as it may be, sweat is a natural and healthy part of life that helps to cool the body and maintain a normal temperature. Sometimes your body temperature rises because you're nervous, or you have a fever, or it may be hot outside, or you're exercising. Whatever the reason may be, your body detects it and your sweat glands kick in to produce more sweat and reduce the internal body temperature.

WHAT'S THE PROBLEM?

It isn't a problem, until it's excessive and becomes an issue in your social life, your relationships and perhaps even your emotional health. Sweating too much can be unhealthy since it dehydrates you, makes body odour a serious problem and can lead to other hygiene issues.

Extra sweating can make you appear nervous and apprehensive all the time, making it hard to find a date, land a job, or create other forms of interpersonal interactions. This means feelings of loneliness, depression, and low self esteem are likely to come. When others look at you like you're smelly and disgusting, even if you shower twice daily, it's likely to hurt.

HOW MUCH SWEAT IS TOO MUCH?

The amount of sweat considered normal is quite variable and depends on the demands of the body. Some people may sweat little while others could perspire up to several litres a day, based on what they're doing. It's not easy to quantify, but most people know if and when they are sweating too much. One clue is sweating excessively from one area of your body only, but again it's possible to have excessive sweating all over your body.

HOW CAN IT BE TREATED?

I'm going to assume that you already tried deodorant, and it hasn't been enough. If that's the case, then Botox would be a good option. Basically, Botox paralyses the muscles in the injected area and significantly reduces the contraction of that muscle. It blocks the nerve endings of the sympathetic nervous system that stimulates the sweat glands, and temporarily controls excessive sweating. Your sweat doesn't go anywhere or get backed up because the sweat simply is not produced in the areas treated with Botox.

You should see results in the injected area within 48 hours and if you're lucky odour may also disappear. The results last for an average of six months.

Iontophoresis also works pretty well. In this procedure, water is used to conduct a mild electrical current through the skin's surface, so the current and the minerals in the water work together to thicken the epidermis. This blocks the flow of sweat to the skin's surface.

A series of easy 10-15 minute treatments are required for the first three to five days after which treatment times can reduce to weekly, fortnightly, monthly or even fewer sessions.

Another technology that can now be useful to reduce sweat is Ulthera. It works by targeting the overactive glands in the underarm using ultrasound energy. This energy is directed into the layer of skin where the sweat glands reside, selectively destroying them and reducing their numbers, which in turn can provide a reduction in excessive sweating. The procedure takes about an hour and you're likely to see results immediately.

All of these have to be used to treat area by area. Armpits, hands, feet and the groin area are among the most active regions of perspiration due to relatively high concentration of sweat glands.

ARE THERE ANY FOODS THAT MAY HELP?

Sure there are. A change in diet can solve almost any body problem. Here are some foods that are prominent sweat inducing culprits.

Avoid garlic because your body throws the garlic waste out your skin and breath. Like garlic, the pungency of onions has a heating effect that increases your circulation, raises body temperature and causes sweating. Also avoid caffeine and alcohol as these dehydrate your body, that's why you find yourself going to the bathroom so much. Your body flushes out all of its fluids, your body temperature begins to climb causing the acceleration of fluids to be flushed from your sweat pores as well. Instead drink more water to stay hydrated, so your body temperature is naturally maintained, and consume more fruit and vegetables, olive oil, calcium and vitamin B-rich diets.

ARE THERE ANY QUICK BODY ODOUR FIXES?

You could apply white vinegar before you spray some deodorant made with essential mineral oil. This should help to destroy the foul-smelling bacteria and also camouflage the smell. Applying a paste of lemon and baking soda to your armpit or any other body part may also help. You could also try adding lavender oil to your bath tub.

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