EXCESSIVE sweating will have seemingly plagued many of us during the recent heatwave, but for some people it happens more severely and can strike at any moment.
Known as hyperhidrosis, it is a common condition – affecting two million in the UK – which results in a person perspiring more than normal.
According to the NHS, it may affect your whole body, or just certain areas – particularly arms, palms of your hands, soles of your feet, face and chest, and groin – with the rest of the body sweating normally.
Dr Bruno Amendola, cosmetic doctor at The Private Clinic of Harley Street (www.theprivateclinic.co.uk), said: “Unfortunately it is still not known why some people suffer with sweating more than others. It appears to be that specific glands in these areas are overactive.
“We do know however that three in a hundred people in the UK suffer from hyperhidrosis, adding up to hundreds of thousands of people across the country.”
It can happen at any age, and at any moment – just like regular sweating.
Dr Amendola said: “Puberty can be a trigger for hyperhidrosis as three million of our sweat glands become active during this time, however younger children and older people can also develop the condition.
“Sweating plays an important health role as it helps maintain the body’s temperature and allows us to cool down when we over heat. When we get hot and sweat, the moisture evaporates from the surface of the skin to cool us down.
“Not only do we sweat when we are hot or when we physically exert ourselves, but we also sweat as a result of our emotions – such as when we’re nervous or anxious.”
While excessive sweating doesn’t usually pose a serious threat to your health, it can have a negative impact in other ways.
Dr Amendola said: “When we sweat excessively through these areas it can have a serious impact on our social lives.”
Indeed, the NHS warn that it can trigger feelings of depression and anxiety.
Fortunately there are a number of ways to reduce potential embarrassment and inconvenience.
Dr Noor Almaani, consultant dermatologist at The Private Clinic of Harley Street, said: “Try to reduce your caffeine intake and spices as these foods can activate neurotransmitters, called acetylcholine which can stimulate your sweat glands.
“ Additionally, try wearing loose, stain resistant and breathable clothes – and if your feet are especially sweaty try silver-lined socks and absorbent insoles.
“Beware thats some medications can lead to increased sweating such as steroids, antidepressants, nicotinamide (Vitamin B3) and opioids so consult your GP.
“A prescription-strength antiperspirant such as those containing aluminium chloride like Driclor can also help if applied when sweating is minimal.
“However, if antiperspirants don’t work you can ask your doctor about medical treatments such as Botox injections which can banish excessive sweating for up to a year.”