Election Anxiety? Stress Sweat Stinks: Here’s What to Do About It

The International Hyperhidrosis Society explains how to beat B.O. at the polls

The U.S. presidential election, the pandemic, and more. There is a lot to be stressed about these days and, unfortunately, that can mean more body odor, too.

Since November is Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating) Awareness Month, the International Hyperhidrosis Society is raising awareness about how to combat not only excessive sweating but also sweat odor – a problem that impacts nearly everyone.

The sweat the body produces under stress is smellier than the sweat produced when one is working outside or exercising.

The human body has two different kinds of sweat glands, eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine glands produce the watery sweat needed to keep cool in hot weather and during exercise. This type of sweat begins after a slight warm-up period and tends to be odorless because it is composed mostly of water. Eccrine sweat glands are located all over the body, but especially on the soles of the feet, the palms, the forehead, the cheeks, and in the armpits.

Apocrine sweat glands are found mostly in the underarm area, genital area, and on the feet. Apocrine glands produce a thick, viscous fluid and respond immediately to stress – no warm-up period required – to produce sweat that is full of proteins and lipids. The bacteria that naturally inhabit the surface of the skin love to feed and grow where there are proteins and lipids. And where there is bacterial growth, there’s odor.

To help deal with stress sweat and resulting smelliness:

  • Wash regularly with an antibacterial soap.
  • Use an antiperspirant with a deodorant at least once per day, preferably at night before bed. Consider stronger antiperspirants such as “clinical strength” options.
  • Remove hair from areas where odor is an issue. This helps reduce bacterial growth on the hair shaft and, therefore, helps to also reduce odor.
  • Keep odiferous body areas dry. Antiperspirants and hair removal help with this; so can frequent clothing changes.
  • Sometimes adjustments in diet are useful.

If odor continues to be a problem, talk to a knowledgeable healthcare provider. Treatment options that tackle unwanted sweating can fight body odor, too. Strong antiperspirants with deodorants, iontophoresis, botulinum toxin injections and an in-office procedure using a device called miraDry are good examples. Newer treatments like Qbrexza could also help.

Of course, lowering stress can also be a game-changer. Consider calming apps for smart phones, setting aside just one time period per day (preferably NOT before bed) to catch up on the news rather than consuming social media, etc., all day long, enjoying stress-relieving exercise (especially outdoors), keeping a journal, and prioritizing quality sleep.

November is Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month. Learn more and find comprehensive diagnosis, treatment, and coverage/reimbursement information through the International Hyperhidrosis Society at SweatHelp.org. Get involved on Facebook @SweatingStopsHere, Twitter @WeKnowSweat, and Instagram @WeKnowSweat.

The International Hyperhidrosis Society acknowledges the generosity of individual donors and Dermira Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly and Company) whose support has helped make its 2020 Hyperhidrosis Awareness Month initiatives possible.

About the International Hyperhidrosis Society

The International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHhS) was founded in 2003 by a team of dedicated advocates working alongside physicians respected worldwide for achievements in hyperhidrosis research and treatment. Today, IHhS remains the only independent, non-profit, global organization striving to improve quality of life among those affected by excessive sweating (as well as helping those with other sweat disorders.) IHhS’s mission focuses on reducing the symptoms, anxiety, and social stigma associated with sweating problems. Its programs aim to improve hyperhidrosis and sweat awareness, education, research, and advocacy. Visit us often to learn more, to stay up to date with related news via the IHhS blog, to search a sweating-focused healthcare provider registry, and access related podcasts and videos. Connect on Facebook @SweatingStopsHere, Twitter @WeKnowSweat, and Instagram @WeKnowSweat. People can also find the International Hyperhidrosis Society on YouTube and wherever they enjoy podcasts.

About Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition that affects approximately 4.8% of the population. It manifests as extreme, uncontrollable sweating beyond what’s considered “normal” or necessary as a reaction to heat, exercise or stress. 

Source: International Hyperhidrosis Society