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Quick Question: Why Do My Armpits Sweat Too Much?

Here's *everything* you need to know, according to a dermatologist.
armpit sweat
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Sweating can be annoying, but it's actually good for you. It's a "normal mechanism of the body to regulate heat and temperature," Dr. Raissa Francisco-Pasion, a board-certified consultant dermatologist of SKIN Dermatology and Laser Center and You+ Intelligent Aesthetics, tells Cosmopolitan Philippines. Basically, it keeps your body from ~overheating~. 

However, some people tend to sweat a lot more than usual, most especially in the underarm area. While this isn't a serious problem, it can be v v uncomfortable. "For some, it even interferes with their daily activities and quality of life," says Dr. Raissa.

Ahead, the dermatologist talks more about excessive underarm sweating, including what you can do to reduce it. Keep on scrolling to know more! 

Why do some people sweat more than others? 

"The condition of excessive sweating is called hyperhidrosis," explains Dr. Raissa. "The cause of hyperhidrosis can be either primary or secondary. Primary hyperhidrosis is localized excessive sweating on the underarms, palms, soles, and scalp and it involves otherwise healthy individuals. Secondary hyperhidrosis is generalized excessive sweating and is due to an underlying medical condition (such as an overactive thyroid, diabetes, obesity, or menopause) or intake of certain medications." 

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"Although the exact prevalence in Filipinos has yet to be determined, studies in the US show that it occurs in three to five percent of the general population," she notes. "Most people with hyperhidrosis will not have an underlying illness, but excessive sweating can cause anxiety, embarrassment, and distress to people experiencing it." If your excessive sweating is really bothering you, it's best to see a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis. 

How do you treat excessive armpit sweating? 

Fortunately, there are different ways you can keep your pits from sweating so much. According to Dr. Raissa, these are some of the most effective ones: 

  • Antiperspirant is the first treatment that a dermatologist will recommend. This can an over-the-counter or prescription-based product. It's also the most affordable option out there! 
  • Iontophoresis, where a device emits a low electrical current through the water, can be used for hyperhidrosis of the palms and soles. Repeated treatments are necessary.
  • Botulinum toxin (a.k.a botox) can be injected into areas of the body with excessive sweating. This temporarily blocks a chemical in the body that stimulates sweat glands to reduce sweating. (READ MORE: Curious About Botox? Here's Everything You Need To Know)
  • Surgical options include surgical removal of the sweat glands or sympathectomy, an operation where a surgeon cuts certain nerves that stimulate sweat glands.
  • Treatments that are available in the U.S. but not in the Philippines are prescription medicines (anticholinergics) that can decrease sweating and a device called Miradry that utilizes microwave technology to destroy sweat glands permanently. 
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Are underarm botox injections safe? 

Yes. "When performed by a trained physician, underarm botulinum toxin treatments are safe," the dermatologist assures. "This is a US FDA-approved treatment option for hyperhidrosis." 

According to her, "botulinum toxin injections can decrease sweating for around six monthsor sometimes longer." If you're curious to know what the possible side effects would be, she says that people usually experience "bruising and swelling after the injections, but these only last a few days."

ICYMI, actress Nadine Lustre previously opened up about getting a botox injection to treat her sweaty underarms, and the entire procedure only took around five minutes. (You can read more about her experience here.) 

But aside from these treatments, you can also make these simple changes in your lifestyle to manage armpit sweating: 

  • Apply your antiperspirant before heading to bed. Your body temperature drops at night, which means your sweat glands are less active. This allows your antiperspirant to sink into your skin and block those sweat ducts before you start your day. 
  • Shave or wax your pits. Removing your underarm hair makes your antiperspirants more effective. This also helps keep body odor at bay!
  • Opt for loose-fitting, breathable clothing. Natural fabrics like cotton let your skin breathe and they're quick-drying, too. 
  • Last but not the least, stay ~hydrated~.
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