How to prevent sweating

Sweating is essential for the body – but excessive sweating can leave you feeling uncomfortable. Here’s how to prevent excessive sweating and the odours that come along with it.

Why do we sweat?

Sweating or perspiring is the body’s natural response to excessive temperatures, exercise, intense emotion and certain illnesses.
Woman with dry under arms

What is sweat? 

Sweat can be made up of different things depending on where it is coming from, but mostly it is made out of water.

The eccrine glands are the most common kind of sweat gland and are found all over the body. The sweat released from the eccrine gland is mostly composed of water, however will get mixed with other materials found on the skin such as salt, protein, urea and ammonia.

The sweat that comes from the armpits and groin are larger and are called apocrine glands. They are usually located next to hair follicles and create sweat that typically smells worse. The sweat itself from these glands doesn't actually smell, however bacteria created next to the apocrine glands break down the sweat creating fatty acids which gives the odour that we would associate with body odour.

when do we sweat?

There are multiple reasons why are our body will release sweat.


As part of the bodies fight or flight response our body will sweat more when we are in ‘high stress’ situations, this response can be before a job interview or a first date. Read our top tips for reducing stress.


 Changes in hormone levels can cause us to sweat, for example during menopause. This is because hormones are responsible for regulating body temperature. 

Natural air conditioning

 Sweating is our body’s natural way of cooling itself down. It works in 2 ways, firstly when your skin is wet it makes you feel cooler especially when a breeze goes past it. Secondly, your sweat will absorb heat energy and then evaporate off your skin taking the heat energy away with it. 


When we drink sometimes our heart rate can speed up and blood vessels can dilate, this makes the brain think it's exercising which triggers a reaction to try and cool down; by sweating.


Eating certain things can cause you to sweat more than others, for example a certain component in spicy foods sends a signal to the brain which makes it think body temperature is increasing. Another example is meat, sometimes the body uses a lot of energy to metabolise meat and so body temperature can go up, which can cause sweating.

how to reduce sweating

Lifestyle choices play a big part in our skin and how much we sweat. Special skincare, shaving and special antiperspirants can all help.
What you wear: certain fabrics let your body breath better, keeping temperatures down and allowing for ventilation. Breathable fabrics such as cotton, nylon, polyester and linen will keep your body cool. Sometimes you can’t prevent sweating, so if you have a big event, stick to colours that won’t highlight any sweat marks, ditch the light blues and greys and stick to darker colours and blacks.

Diet: Some foods make you sweat more, certain meat, spicy foods, deep fried and fatty foods, fast food, junk food and caffeine can all make your body release more sweat. On the flip side, certain foods are much better at helping reduce sweating; fruit and veg in particular and foods that promote healthy digestion – as if your digestion is off, your body will produce more sweat. Stick to foods such as cucumber, celery, spinach etc to aid healthy digestion. Water helps cool down your core temperature causing you to sweat less as you won't need to release excess heat, so make sure to consume your 2 litres a day!


What is anti-perspirant?

Anti-perspirants are designed to block sweat where typical deodorants only cover odour - find out more about comparing anti-perspirants and deodorants. For a strong anti-perspirant leaving you with a super dry under arm why not try the NIVEA Dry Confidence 48 hr anti-perspirant? And if aluminium free anti-perspirant is your thing why not try the NIVEA Fresh Clean 0% Aluminium 48 hr protect spray. 

So, how does anti-perspirants work? They use certain products most commonly aluminium salts, to block sweat by turning the sweat into a gel and then blocking your sweat glands, stopping sweat from coming out.

how to apply anti-perspirant (correctly)

It may seem obvious but there are right and wrong ways of applying antiperspirant to reduce sweating
  1. Make sure you apply your antiperspirant to dry skin, this is because even the smallest amount of water can get in the way of the aluminium from blocking your glands.
  2. Apply at night: most people apply antiperspirant in the morning, however the best way to get the most out of your antiperspirant is to apply it at night. This is because you sweat less at night and this gives it a chance to really seep in, blocking the glands from releasing more sweat.
  3. Wait for your antiperspirant to dry before dressing, if you pull on your t-shirt right after applying antiperspirant it can actually just rub straight off!
  4. Shave! The closer the contact the anti-perspirant has to the skin the better chance it has at blocking those sweat glands.

Other products to help

While personal hygiene doesn’t stop sweating, a good shower can wash away any sweat, leaving you feeling refreshed and more comfortable in your own skin.

Washing regularly with cleansing shower gels such as NIVEA Rich Moisture Sensitive Shower Cream help to clear the sweat glands and prevent build up in the pores.

One of the main don’ts for skin prone to sweating is oily skincare products. Leave oil-based products and moisturisers for people with dry, sensitive skin. Light moisturisers such as NIVEA Express Hydration Lotion are specially formulated to replenish the skin’s natural moisture level – leaving you with soft, smooth skin.
Instead, stock up on strong antiperspirants containing aluminium salts. These can be used on the hands, underarms, back and other problem areas.