Are you sweating a little or are you just plain sweaty all the time, because there is a difference. Considering your body has between two and five millions sweat glands from head to toe with “the highest density on your hands, feet, forehead and underarms,” says Dr. Nowell Solish, a dermatologist and the founder of Sweat Clinics of Canada in Toronto. “Everyone sweats.” Yet knowing the difference between sweating out the humid summer weather and pitting your way through your white t-shirt in 30 minutes in the shade is key.
How to know if you’re sweating too much
“If you’re sitting in a hockey arena and your underarms are dripping,” says Dr. Solish. “That could be a sign that you are one of the 2.8 per cent of the population who has hyperhidrosis (overactive sweat glands).” Often hereditary, this manageable condition can also be attributed to obesity, gout, hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroids) and even diabetes, so if you think this sounds like you, consult with your physician for confirmation. Above and beyond sweating through cold conditions, other symptoms include persistently clammy hands, uncontrollable face sweat and needing to change your socks throughout the day to keep your feet dry.
What’s the difference between hyperhidrosis and regular sweat?
Sweating from eating spicy foods, playing a few rounds of tennis and feeling nervous during a big meeting with your boss are all normal circumstances that can induce perspiration and are typically not hyperhidrosis. “Different stimuli cause sweat, whether it’s heat or nerves or eating a lot of spice or garlic,” affirms Dr. Solish. “The brain reacts to whatever is happening to you and sends a signal to your glands which produce more sweat to help your body cool down. Physiologically, we sweat so that our bodies don’t overheat.”
How to manage sweat that stinks
Sweating is one thing, but sweating and smelling bad is another. “Sweat and odour is like a river versus a pond,” says Dr. Solish. “If your body feels moist like a pond, you’re gong to have more bacteria growing on your body and you’re going to smell it. If you’re flowing like a river, there’s less opportunity for the bacteria to grow so less odour.”
Antiperspirants like Degree Men Ultraclear Black+ White Antiperspirant (from $4, available at Shoppers Drug Mart stores), will help you to stop sweating; aluminum-free deodorants like Weleda Men 24h Roll-On Deodorant ($6.99, available online at www.weleda.com), will mask the smell; while an antiperspirant-deodorant combination like Dove Mineral Powder & Sandalwood Antiperspirant/Deodorant Stick (from $5, available at Shoppers Drug Mart stores), will do both.
Having Botox injected into areas where you sweat the most will also eliminate your sweating and any odour that comes with it. “The most popular areas to have Botox to control sweat and odour are the forehead, hands, feet and groin,” says Dr. Solish. “It’s literally like turning off a tap, although the hands are the hardest as there are so many sweat glands and you don’t want to do too much otherwise you’ll lose your hand strength.”
How much does Botox cost?
Typically, one vial of Botox costs $400 and in areas like the feet and hands where there are hundreds of sweat glands, two vials are necessary. That said, if your doctor has diagnosed you with hyperhidrosis and you have a drug plan you can significantly decrease that number. And it may be well worth it. “Each treatment lasts approximately six months, keeping you sweat and odour-free,” says Dr. Solish.