woman sweating after a workout

Help with Excessive Sweating

Excessive sweating can be a cause of discomfort at best & an embarrassment or medical condition at worst. Read on to learn more about excessive sweating & how to prevent sweating.


How To Prevent Excessive Sweating

While we sometimes think of it as a nuisance, sweating is a vital human function. It is our body’s way of cooling itself down and protecting our organs from overheating. 

Excessive sweating when it’s hot or when you’re exercising is totally normal. But sometimes, excessive sweating can happen when your body does not need to regulate its temperature. 


Excessive sweating is common and will affect most people at some point in their life. There may be no obvious reason for excessive sweating, or it may be caused by medication you’re taking or the side effect of a medical condition. 


So why do we sweat? Read on to find out more about what is sweat, excessive sweating and how to reduce sweating. 


woman excessive sweating


Why do we sweat and what is sweat?

Why do we sweat? Sweat is produced by glands in our bodies that respond to triggers from your brain, telling them to cool the body. Our sweat glands will move into action if we’re exercising, it’s hot or we have a fever to keep our body temperature in its normal healthy range (36.5-37C). 
women avoiding excessive sweating

So, how does sweat work? The sweat leaves your skin through pores and evaporates when it hits the air. As it evaporates off your skin, you cool down. Sweat itself doesn't smell; what we know as body odour is produced when bacteria, that live on your skin, mix with the sweat and it’s that reaction that gives off a smell.


Our body’s sweat response can also be triggered by less obvious reasons, for example when we are not overheating. For example, certain emotions (such as anger) and stress can make us sweat more. 


Sometimes there might not be any obvious reason behind excessive sweating


Sweating happens when our sweat glands produce droplets of perspiration that are secreted to the surface of our skin as a response to rising temperatures.


Things that generally cause us to sweat are: hot air temperatures, exercise, having a fever, certain emotions (such as anger) and stress. If you are excessively sweating under normal circumstances, you may be suffering from hyperhidrosis - a condition that sees the sweat glands continue to perspire despite not needing to. 


Excessive sweating, or for some people hyperhidrosis, though is when your body sweats when it does not need to cool down. In certain cases excessive sweating can be a sign of medical problems, but for most it is just a harmless nuisance. Read on to learn more about what might be causing your excessive sweating and how to treat it.


woman using antiperspirant

what is sweat

What is excessive sweating?

Excessive sweating (also called hyperhidrosis) is when your body sweats when it does not need to cool down. It can be exacerbated by certain lifestyle and medical factors. 


Our body has two types of sweat glands called apocrine and eccrine. Apocrine glands usually produce thicker sweat than the eccrine glands and are often the root of bromhidrosis (body odour) that can accompany heavy sweating. These glands are located mainly in the groin, breast and underarm areas.

woman wondering how to prevent excessive sweating

Sweat from our apocrine glands is clear and odourless, but odour can occur when bacteria on our bodies break down this sweat releasing the smell we know as BO.


Sweat from our eccrine glands can occur all over our body and is also usually colourless and odourless - until bacteria begin feeding on it. Eccrine gland sweat can also smell like food we've eaten or alcohol we have drunk.


Excessive sweating can be split into two main types: primary hyperhidrosis and secondary hyperhidrosis.


Primary Hyperhidrosis (AKA Focal Hyperhidrosis) is when you sweat in specific areas, usually the hands, feet, underarms and face without any obvious reason.


Secondary Hyperhidrosis (AKA Generalised Hyperhidrosis) affects the whole body, or may cover a larger area, and is most often caused by medical conditions, medication or excessive heat.


Signs and symptoms of hyperhidrosis may include:

  • Clammy or wet hands and feet
  • Frequent sweating
  • Noticeable sweating that soaks through clothing

woman in sauna excessive sweating

what is sweat

What causes excessive sweating?

There are several reasons why you may be sweating excessively. You may find yourself sweating excessively when you’re feeling emotional or nervous, or it may be a hormonal reaction. These issues can cause nerves in the sweat gland to overreact. When those nerves overreact, you may break out in a sweat - sometimes you may only need to think of a situation that causes anxiety in order to trigger excessive sweating. 

Some studies suggest that genetics can be the cause of excessive sweating from primary hyperhidrosis, as a lot of people suffering from the disorder often have a close family member with the same condition.

Excessing sweating causes from secondary hyperhidrosis can be caused by:

  • Anxiety 
  • Diabetes, 
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol abuse 
  • Heart disease 
  • Other substance abuse or medical conditions

woman applying deodorant to stop excessive sweating

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How to reduce sweating

While people might ask how to reduce sweating and how to prevent sweating, sweat is totally normal - and vital. You will never be able to stop sweating - nor should you want to. There are, however, ways to reduce and control it.


If you are sweating excessively there are a few things you can do to reduce the amount you sweat. Here’s how to stop sweating so much. 

woman preventing excessive sweating

how to prevent sweating


Controlling our emotions can be tricky at the best of times. Fear, embarrassment and anger can trigger outbreaks of excessive sweating. Trying to understand the reasons behind these emotions and tackle the root cause may help to reduce how much you sweat. 

woman doing yoga to prevent excessive sweating

how to prevent sweating


Stress can also cause excessive sweating. Learning how to cope with and reduce stress can help to reduce excessive sweating. Breathing or mindfulness exercises can help you manage stress and could, in turn, reduce how much sweat.

food can cause excessive sweating

how to prevent sweating


Gustatory sweating, is a response to eating certain foods (the ‘meat sweats’ are a common post-BBQ complaint). Spicy foods, alcohol and caffeinated drinks such as coffee and energy drinks can also spark a sweat.

clothing to prevent excessive sweating

how to prevent sweating

Tight Clothing

Wearing tight clothing, particularly during the summer months, can not only amplify signs of excessive sweating, it can prevent the skin from breathing properly and exacerbating the problem.


Avoid man made fabrics such as nylon and stick to more natural materials with a looser fit to allow skin to breathe and minimise signs of excessive sweating.


footwear that can cause excessive sweating

how to prevent sweating


If you suffer from excessively sweaty feet, then reconsider your footwear. Again, natural materials like leather are better than sweat-triggering man made fibres. Also, avoid tight fitting footwear to allow your feet to breathe and in hot weather, opt for open shoes. 

How to prevent excessive sweating

How to stop sweating so much

How to stop sweating so much? If you are tired of constant excessive sweating or find yourself sweating more heavily than you think you should, your first step is to ensure you are using a proper antiperspirant and not just a deodorant. 
woman applying deodorant to prevent excessive sweating

Antiperspirant or deodorant are not two words for the same things - the two have different functions. 

Deodorants don’t stop you from sweating, but they do help reduce body odour using fragrance or antibacterial compounds to mask BO. 

Antiperspirants, on the other hand, inhibit how much you sweat by blocking the sweat glands. Aluminium salts in antiperspirants form a temporary “plug” within the sweat duct to reduce the amount of sweat seeping to the skin’s surface. 

If you suffer from excessive sweating, antiperspirants or antiperspirant- deodorants are your best bet. This is because they not only block your underarm sweat ducts, but help to reduce body odour - by inhibiting the bacteria that feed on your sweat.


Opt for a strong antiperspirant containing aluminium. Try NIVEA Ultimate Protect Anti-Perspirant Deodorant Spray which has been specially created to give extra protection against sweat and body odour - made with zinc complex to fight smelly sweat components.


Also try our NIVEA Dry Confidence Anti-Perspirant Deodorant Spray which offers 48H of effective antiperspirant protection - giving you the confidence to attack every day. It contains a dual active formula, with 2 antiperspirant actives, tested in real life situations for a long lasting dry feeling. 

antiperspirant to stop excessive sweating

In addition to using an antiperspirant or deodorant, as well as tackling any potential sweat triggers, there are other lifestyle changes that can make you feel more comfortable. 

shower gel to prevent excessive sweating

How to prevent excessive sweating

Wash regularly

Shower or bathe at least once a day, or, if you feel uncomfortable, twice a day, concentrating on those parts of your body susceptible to excessive sweating. 


Use a deep cleansing shower gel such as NIVEA Clay Fresh Shower Ginger & Basil that contains natural origin kaolin clay to deeply clean skin. Also try our NIVEA Caring Rose & Almond Oil Shower Cream for a thorough and pampered cleanse. Indulge in the delicate scent of rose while the almond oil nurtures your skin.

clothing to avoid excessive sweating

How to prevent excessive sweating

Wash your clothes regularly

If you tend to excessively sweat, you might want to wash your clothes after every wear to prevent stale sweat smelling clothes. Adding a cup of vinegar to your laundry can also help to remove smells that can cling to clothes. Turning them inside out will help to remove the sweat from the fabric.

food to prevent excessive sweating

How to prevent excessive sweating

Watch what you eat

What we eat can directly affect how we smell. Strong foods such as onion and garlic can resurface the next day in our sweat. Also avoid foods containing sulfur (such as pulses, legumes and meats such as turkey) and spices.