If you sweat uncontrollably in job interviews, on first dates or other uncomfortable situations, you understand the frustration of nervous sweating firsthand. When anxiety kicks in, your palms get damp and your shirt or blouse instantly takes on a new color from excess sweat.
But in truth, these events themselves don’t make you nervous. Instead, the fear of embarrassing yourself, failing or sounding stupid stirs up anxious feelings. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Today we’ll talk about what causes nervous sweating and explain some common anxiety sweating triggers.
What Is Nervous Sweating?
Why do we sweat when we’re nervous? Stress, anxiety and embarrassment release hormones that make you sweat. Nervous sweating is a common sweating disorder and a byproduct of anxiety.
An external stimulus (like a first date or large audience) makes you anxious with nervous sweats. Anxiety fires up your sympathetic nervous system in preparation to react (the fight-or-flight response), which raises your heart rate and your body temperature. Sweating is a stress response that helps cool your body down so you don’t overheat.
Nervousness can signal certain areas of your body to sweat, too. For instance, if you feel stress before a big meeting, the palms of your hands, soles of your feet or underarms might start to sweat. In addition, some people sweat more on their heads and faces in response to nervousness.
Nervous Sweating Symptoms
Let’s face it: Any spontaneous sweating in public sucks, especially when you don’t know how to control it. Here are four symptoms of nervous sweating:
- Uncontrollable hot or cold sweats
- Hot or cold flashes
- Sweat due to anxiety or no apparent reason
- Sweating in one area, such as your armpits or hands, or across your entire body
6 Common Nervous Sweating Triggers
When dealing with anxiety, you become less aware of the cause, and your reaction becomes the problem (face flushing, drenched clothing, etc.). Unexpected sweating might force you to change shirts repeatedly or prevent you from getting a job or promotion. The worry and sweating steamroll into a vicious circle that’s hard to break.
Many times, one of the following nervous sweating triggers is to blame.
1. Worry or Fear of Being Judged
Do you often experience nervous sweating at work or school? Worry about your job performance, an upcoming exam or public speaking boils down to fear of being poorly evaluated or judged. Often, you don’t recognize these feelings as fear.
Instead, you want to make a favorable impression (everyone likes to be liked, right?). But when meeting new people, especially in a high-pressure scenario, it’s common to fear the person might not like you.
Waiting for a life-changing phone call or test results can lead to nervous sweats. Fear and excitement release adrenaline and cortisol (hormones that make you sweat) into the body. Anticipation is just fear of the unknown. Consciously recognizing when you don’t have control over a situation can keep your sweating in check.
Feeling embarrassed is common and can be a result of many situations. Does the thought of failing at something (especially in front of others) fill you with dread? Does making a simple mistake cause you to feel like a fool, blush and sweat?
Remember, nobody is perfect. Rather than allow embarrassment to disempower you, practice making light of the situation if possible. Chances are, you’re the only one making a big deal of it. Learn to recover gracefully from a mistake or perceived failure.
4. Social Anxiety
Hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, can be a secondary symptom of social anxiety disorder. So does social anxiety cause nervous sweating, or does nervous sweating cause social anxiety? It could go both ways. Studies show that 25% to 32% of patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD) also had hyperhidrosis symptoms.
If you have social anxiety, panic attacks or nervous sweating that interferes with your mental health, please see a medical professional for help and additional information.
Stimulants like caffeine activate the central nervous system, triggering your sweat glands. The heat from hot beverages like coffee can also exacerbate the issue by fooling your body into thinking your temperature is high.
If you can’t imagine giving up coffee or energy drinks, consider scaling back on consumption for a while to see if your sweat levels change.
Ironically, some medications designed to help you have some not-so-helpful side effects. For example, some medicines trigger anxiety and promote anxiety sweating. Common medications that can cause sweating include diabetes drugs, antidepressants, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and blood pressure medicines.
If you suspect a medication is rattling your nerves, do not suddenly stop taking it before seeking a medical advice diagnosis. Instead, consult your doctor to discuss alternatives.
Tips to Cope With Nervous Sweating
Of course, you can’t avoid anxious feelings or reduce sweating completely. Nervous sweating is often a subconscious process you have little control over.
If you’re always asking, “How do I stop nervous sweats?” you should know that there may not be a way to stop it completely. However, there are some tips and natural remedies that can help you cope with nervous sweating:
- Know your sweat triggers
- Try taking deep breaths
- Wear a sweat proof undershirt
- Stay hydrated
- Apply regular or clinical-strength antiperspirant at night
- Choose the right dress shirt.
Learn more in our article 6 Ways to Stop Nervous Sweats.
Control Nervous Sweating With Thompson Tee
Nervous sweating is inconvenient and uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to control your life.
To ensure you have protection even in the most nerve-wracking situations, wear a sweat proof undershirt for the ultimate defense.
The Thompson Tee is the only patented sweat proof undershirt on the market. Built with resilient Hydro-Shield technology, the Thompson Tee is guaranteed to block 100% of armpit sweat stains and odor from ruining your clothing and your confidence in any situation.