Raise your hand if you’re always the only person leaving that workout class completely drenched in sweat. Or maybe it’s the opposite; everyone else is sweating bullets while you walk away with just a little forehead shimmer. No matter the case, it’s not just your imagination. There’s a scientific explanation behind why some people sweat more than others and what your sweat says about your health.
Why some people sweat more than others
Your body has between two to four million sweat glands, and their purpose is to maintain a normal body temperature—and cool you down when it’s above average—by producing sweat. As Jeremy White, MD, a double board-certified plastic surgeon in Miami, explains, “We sweat to release heat from our body, but not everyone sweats profusely, and each person can have a different threshold before they sweat. Men tend to sweat more than women and part of what influences how much we sweat is also already written in our DNA. Fat keeps heat in the body, so people who are overweight tend to sweat more than leaner people.” Did you know there’s even a surprising explanation of why you sweat so much at night?
Your fitness regime could also be the culprit behind your proclivity to sweat. Dr. White explains that fit people tend to bust a sweat sooner when they exercise because “an athlete’s body has adapted to remove heat more efficiently.” Someone who remains fairly sedentary, on the other hand, may heat up faster and lose more sweat when they exercise. Since fat tends to trap heat and raise the body’s core temperature, overweight people typically sweat more, too. And your actual body odor reveals a lot about your health.
How to stop sweating so much
Want to stop those perspiration problems for good? Nicholas Pantaleo, MD, a family and internal medicine specialist with Westmed Medical Group in Yonkers, New York, offers some easy options. “Several behavioral habits can be used to help reduce sweating. Keeping the body cool by staying hydrated, as well as wearing light and breathable fabric clothes, can help decrease sweating. Avoiding food triggers like caffeine and spicy foods can also help. Topically, antiperspirants can be applied to prevent sweating. Deodorants, which may be combined with antiperspirants, mask the odor when a person produces sweat.”
Dr. White suggests, “Botox injections into the armpits are a great way to reduce sweat levels. We apply a numbing cream to the area so that it doesn’t hurt, and my patients come back every 6-12 months for a repeat session. Not only does it reduce sweat and last longer in the armpits than in other areas, but it also helps to reduce body odor as well.” (These are the Botox facts you need to know.)
Prefer to keep Botox injections for wrinkles? Not to worry. “The other option,” says Dr. White, “is Miradry. This technology uses thermal energy to heat and destroy some sweat glands in the underarm area. It takes multiple sessions for it to work, but can lead to a significant (82%) sweat reduction in the area. Don’t worry, you still have plenty more sweat glands to release heat from your body, so a reduction in activity from this area is not detrimental to your health!” (Miradry is FDA approved for this use.)
Now that you’re sweating less, here are the answers to your embarrassing questions about underarms.