Are you sweating too much?

Dr Fawad Hussain
Consultant Dermatologist
17 October 2017

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This article is more than three years old. It reflects the best available evidence at the time of publication.

Have you ever left the house looking fresh and presentable, only to arrive at work soaked in sweat after your commute? We’ve all had moments like this, where sweat gets the best of us in the warmer months of the year.

But for a number of people – some studies suggest more than one in every 50 – sweat can be a problem in any season. This is because they have a condition called hyperhidrosis. Hyperhidrosis causes excessive sweating, even when the body doesn’t need cooling down.

When sweating becomes a problem

Did you know that you have about three million sweat glands in your body? They’re mainly clustered around your forehead, hands, feet and armpits. When you become too hot, they perform the important job of keeping you cool. A certain amount of sweating is healthy.

When you have hyperhidrosis though, you can sweat a lot at any time. From meals out with friends to important meetings at work, this can make life unpredictable and embarrassing. People with hyperhidrosis often find themselves changing clothes regularly. You’ll know you have a problem if sweating regularly interferes with your everyday life in this way.

Treating excess sweating

Your GP can give you advice about managing excessive sweating and confirm whether you have hyperhidrosis. They may refer you to a dermatologist (a doctor who specialises in skin problems). Here are a few things that your dermatologist might suggest if you do have hyperhidrosis.

Special deodorants

These can be bought over the counter and could make a difference. Look out for products that include the ingredient aluminium chloride. Driclor® and Anhyfrol Forte® are common brands.

Botox injections

Did you raise an eyebrow when you saw botox listed here? Most people know it as a cosmetic treatment that keeps wrinkles at bay. But it’s also approved by NICE (the organisation that guides doctors) as a safe way to treat excessive underarm sweating. It works very well in most cases. The treatment lasts between four and seven months. Once it starts to wear off, you need to have it again if you want to keep the effect going.


If other options haven’t worked, and depending on your exact problem, your dermatologist may suggest having surgery to remove sweat glands, or to ‘turn off’ the nerves that make you sweat. This would really be a last resort though.

Working out the cause of sweating

Speak to your GP to find out exactly what’s happening. It may be hyperhidrosis – but the sweating could also be caused by anxiety, or even a serious physical health problem that hasn’t been picked up on yet.

It’s thought that hyperhidrosis is under-reported. This could be because people think they just sweat a lot, without realising that they have a condition that can be treated. So if you find that sweat is affecting your everyday life, make sure you get it checked out. 

Even healthy people become unhealthy sometimes. Health insurance can help you get prompt access to the treatment and support you need to help you get back on the road to recovery. Learn more with our useful guide to understanding health insurance

Dr Fawad Hussain
Dr Fawad Hussain
Consultant Dermatologist

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