If you have problems with extreme sweating, you're not alone. As Dr. Pixie McKenna from British medical show Embarrassing Bodies explains, 1-5% of people have it—and even if you don't, you should probably know these 9 things about sweat anyway.1. Extreme sweating is called hyperhidrosis
It's phenomenally common. 1-5% of the population have hyperhidrosis which is where you sweat excessively. It can come on in your teens or in your twenties, but it generally tends to stay with you pretty much most of your adult life. It's a big problem. Physically it's annoying and you end up having to do lots of washing, you choose what you wear [specifically] etc etc, but also I think psychologically, you're immediately on the back foot.2. Normally we should produce 1 liter of sweat a day
Sweat is basically our way of regulating our temperature. We all have to sweat. Anybody that says they don't sweat, they do. Sweat is sodium chloride—it's sweat and water, essentially. We normally produce about a litre a day—in extreme circumstances you might produce 5 liters if you were in the desert or something like that.3. Sweat doesn't smell
There's a misconception that sweat smells—it doesn't. It only smells when it dries onto things, and then bacteria come and join the party. So if it's under your arm and it dries in, germs come and that's when it smells. The same if it's dried into your clothes—no amount of spraying things onto the sweat will get rid of the smell, you have to actually get rid of the sweat.
People who have hyperhidrosis just seem to have an issue with their thermostat. Their thermostat is misinterpreting signals, so your sympathetic nervous system—which is the one that drives lots of stressful situations—is misinterpreting, misreading and misfiring, [in turn] producing excessive amounts of sweat when really another human might produce much less
5. Sweating could be a sign of an underlying health problem
Aside from having hyperhidrosis for no apparent reason, there are a group of people who will sweat uncontrollably because they have an underlying medical condition. They have a thyroid problem, they might have diabetes, Parkinsons disease makes them sweat more than the average person.
Oversweating could be a symptom of something else. Then there are particular sweating issues – like night sweats, which we see in patients who have anxiety or take certain medication, we see in patients who have lymphoma or malaria. That's a different type of sweating.7. There's a huge difference between antiperspirants and deodorants
People tend to use deodorants, but all that's going to do is neutralize the smell, that's not going to stop you from sweating. That's a basic message the public just doesn't seem to understand. The key ingredient [in antiperspirants is] the aluminium chloride which is key because it puts a little plug in the sweat glands and that stops you from sweating.