If you sweat uncontrollably in job interviews, on first dates or other uncomfortable situations, you understand the frustration of nervous sweating firsthand. The anxiety kicks in, and your shirt instantly takes on a new color from sweat. Even when you don’t feel nervous, you might sweat. Many times, some secret nervous sweating triggers are to blame.
Nervous sweating triggers might include:
- Worry or fear of being judged
- Fear of sweating itself
Read on to learn more about nervous sweating, plus nervous sweating tips to help you manage your daily life.
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.
With nervous sweats, an external stimulus (like a first date or large audience) makes you anxious. 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 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. Some people sweat more on their head and face in response to nervousness.
Let’s face it: Any unexpected sweating in public sucks, especially when you don’t know how to control it.
Nervous sweating symptoms include:
- 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
Understanding Anxiety Sweat Triggers
Can anxiety cause nervous sweating? The idea of giving a presentation probably doesn’t make you anxious. Instead, the fear of embarrassing yourself, failing or sounding stupid stirs up anxious feelings. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
When dealing with anxiety, you become less aware of the cause, and your reaction becomes the problem (face flushing, drenched clothing, etc.) The worry and sweating steamroll into a vicious circle that's hard to break.
Unexpected sweating might force you to change shirts repeatedly or prevent you from getting a job or promotion. But before you learn to deal with nervous sweating, it’s important to understand some common sources of anxiety:
- 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. 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.
- Anticipation: 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.
- Embarrassment: Feeling embarrassed is very common and can be caused by 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.
- Medications: Ironically, some medications designed to help you have some not-so-helpful side effects. Some medications trigger anxiety and promote nervous 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, consult your doctor to discuss alternatives.
- Stimulants: Stimulants like caffeine activate the central nervous system, triggering your sweat glands. The heat from hot beverages like coffee also exacerbates the issue by fooling your body into thinking your temperature is high. If you can’t imagine giving up coffee or energy drinks, consider cutting back or trying these hacks to caffeine activate the central nervous system.
Nervous sweating is inconvenient and uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to control your life.
Tips to Cope With Nervous Sweating
Of course, you can’t avoid anxious feelings completely. Nervous sweating is often a subconscious process you have little control over.
If you’re always asking, “How do I stop nervous sweating?” 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:
- Calm Down: When you feel nervous, reminding yourself that you’re safe and not in any real danger can calm your nerves and reduce sweating. Practice some relaxation techniques to subdue sweat. For example, visualizing success and performing at your best can keep your fear at bay.
- Stay Clean and Use Antiperspirant: Daily showers and regular antiperspirant usage works wonders for staying fresh. In addition to underarm antiperspirant, you can also use antiperspirant lotion on your hands and feet.
- Use Alcohol Wipes or Body Powder: If you’re prone to clammy hands or sweating on your head or face, you can carry alcohol wipes and use throughout the day as needed. If you wear makeup, use a wipe before applying for the day. Alternatively, you can use body powder or baby powder to soak up moisture.
- Exercise: Working out may incite perspiration, but surprisingly, exercise also keeps nervous sweats at bay. Exercise is known to be a stress and anxiety reducer. Plus, getting in better physical shape can increase your confidence, which will ease your stress and anxiety. Stress less, sweat less.
- Drink Water: How’s your hydration? Your body temperature doesn’t rise as quickly when you’re hydrated. Drinking water keeps your body cool, reducing the need to sweat.
- Assess Your Diet: Be mindful of what you eat before that big presentation or interview, as certain foods and beverages can spike your internal temperature. To ease your nerves, try these 10 foods that reduce sweating.
- Consider Your Clothing: Always choose breathable, sweat-blocking materials, especially in warm weather. Slipping on a sweat proof undershirt like a Thompson Tee offers added confidence in uncomfortable situations.
HOW TO TREAT NERVOUS SWEATING
In addition to making some lifestyle adjustments, there are also medical remedies available for nervous sweating. Depending on the severity of your sweating, you may want to consider one of the following:
- Prescription-Strength Antiperspirants: If over-the-counter (OTC) antiperspirants don’t provide the relief you need, you may benefit from clinical strength antiperspirant. Prescription-strength antiperspirants can be 25 to 30 percent stronger than OTC formulas.
- Sweating Medications: While there are no nervous sweating medications on the market right now, you may have luck with anticholinergic medications. These drugs block certain neurotransmitters in your body that can reduce sweating. They are available in pill or cream form and intended for short-term use.
- Botox: Chemical injections of botox block sweat gland activity and may provide short-term relief. Botox is useful for treating armpit, hand and forehead sweating. Botox and other medical procedures should be a last resort if no other solutions work for you.
Consult your doctor to see if any of these solutions will address your needs.
CONTROL NERVOUS SWEATING WITH A THOMPSON TEE
Don’t let nervous sweating prevent you from feeling confident. Our tips will help you stay cool, calm and collected in any situation.
To ensure you have protection even in the most nerve-wracking situations, wear a sweat proof Thompson Tee for the ultimate defense.
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 sweat stains and odor from ruining your clothing and your confidence.
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