Asking your crush out for the first time. Failing a test. Prom night. Between navigating puberty and the pitfalls of high school, you experience many sweaty, nervous, cringe-worthy moments as a teen. I know — because I've been there.
While it’s perfectly normal to sweat, you may notice you sweat a lot — more than anyone else around you.
Your teenage years are difficult enough without having to sweat through them, too. I spent more than 20 years trying to hide the fact that I was sweating profusely under my shirt. As a teen, it wasn't easy, but I've now learned how to live freely with excessive sweating, which I'll share with you.
The Lowdown on Teen Sweating
Notice that you’ve been sweating more lately? You can blame puberty for that one. There are two types of sweat glands, eccrine and apocrine glands. Everyone is born with active eccrine glands. The apocrine glands found in your armpits develop during puberty — they’re also the sweat glands that produce body odor when it reacts with bacteria on your skin.
When your body starts to change, roughly three million sweat glands become more active, particularly in the armpits, groin, palms and the soles of your feet.
Excessive sweating can start much earlier and later than thirteen.
What Is Excessive Sweating?
There are many natural reasons for sweating a lot. It’s is a normal body function essential to regulating our body temperature.
For example, you could sweat while:
- Eating spicy foods
- In warm temperatures
- Drinking caffeine or hot drinks
- Are angry, anxious or nervous
- Taking medications or ill
Everyone experiences nervous sweating and clammy palms, especially during those teenage years. Because the sympathetic nervous system controls sweat, your fight-or-flight response activates during these situations.
But for some teens, chronic sweating happens outside of high-stress environments.
Nervous sweating is different. Read about it here.
Hyperhidrosis in Teens
Some teens experience excessive sweating that goes beyond normal standards. Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition where the nerves that trigger your sweat glands are hyperactive. You sweat all the time, even if you’re not hot — up to five times the amount necessary to regulate your body temperature.
Hyperhidrosis is common. It affects 7.8 million people in the U.S., most often in the armpits (known as axillary hyperhidrosis).
While it's not physically harmful, excessive teen sweating takes a serious toll on young people — beyond sweat stains and ruined clothing.
Teen Sweating Symptoms: How to Know If You’re Sweating Too Much
If you suffer from hyperhidrosis as a teen, you might experience symptoms like:
- Constantly wiping sweat away
- Changing clothes several times a day
- Poor concentration in school
- Avoiding hugs and shaking hands due to sweat
Excessive, uncontrollable sweating is embarrassing and uncomfortable. If it’s negatively affecting your quality of life, it’s time to take action.
Teen Sweating Treatments
Many teen sweating articles offer tips like “shower several times a day,” or “try to relax.”
When sweat is literally pouring from you, this advice just isn't helpful.
While meant well, most advice on sweat is misleading, ineffective and doesn’t address the problem of heavy teen sweating or hyperhidrosis. Who has the time to shower several times a day? I know I don't.
Here are a few ways to treat teen sweating (that have helped me regain control over my life):
Use Antiperspirants Over Deodorant
To start, it’s important to know the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant.
While they’re used synonymously all the time, antiperspirant and deodorant do two different things.
Deodorant masks sweat odor. It doesn’t prevent sweating or protect against wetness. Antiperspirants clog your sweat glands to stop you from sweating.
Aluminum chloride, the active ingredient in antiperspirant, dissolves on the skin. It forms a gel that blocks your sweat gland and reduces the amount of sweat that released. If you’re sweating constantly, try a deodorant-antiperspirant combo to start.
Deodorant makes your pits smell fresh, and antiperspirants block the wetness. Look for a clinical-strength option in the drugstore — the ones with the highest percentage of aluminum chloride will be the most effective at blocking sweat.
Try a Prescription-Strength Antiperspirant
If the over-the-counter clinical options at the drugstore don’t work, you can go see your doctor. Prescription strength-antiperspirant is a step above over-the-counter options. Make sure to follow the application directions carefully. Many require you to apply it at night before bed. It may take a few weeks to see results or produce uncomfortable side effects like rashes.
Explore Natural Remedies for Teen Sweating
There are several natural products and tricks that can help ease heavy sweating. Vinegar, lemon, wheatgrass, tea tree oil and green tea are natural ways to stop sweating.
See our full list of natural ways to stop sweating here.
Wear a Sweat Proof Undershirt
It’s not just about the deodorant. A good undershirt stops moisture from seeping through your clothes. While it doesn’t cure hyperhidrosis, it does stop embarrassing pit stains, making you much more comfortable to tackle any situation.
But not all undershirts are created equal. A good sweat proof undershirt made of natural fibers can trap sweat and stop sweat marks from creeping through your clothes. I spent over a decade perfecting Thompson Tee — the only patented sweat proof undershirt guaranteed to block even the heaviest armpit sweat.
Explore Medical Options — But Don't Rush In
Let’s establish one thing first — there is no definitive cure to hyperhidrosis. However, there are several medical options available to manage hyperhidrosis, like oral medications, iontophoresis, Botox, Miradry, lasers and surgery. Depending on the treatment, they are significantly more expensive, require regular upkeep and not 100 percent guaranteed.
There is no cure for hyperhidrosis. In most cases, the side effects of invasive procedures outweigh the benefits. Especially irreversible surgical options — you can read about Thompson Tee co-founder Randy Choi's experience with ETS surgery here.
See a complete list of axillary hyperhidrosis treatments.
The Side Effects of Teen Sweating
Heavy sweating isn’t just a minor inconvenience or a few extra loads of laundry. Excessive teen sweating is a medical problem that, if mismanaged, can have a devastating impact on your daily life.
Teen sweating can have social and psychological side effects, from depression, self-isolation, ridicule and low self-confidence. It’s important to know that hyperhidrosis is a treatable medical diagnosis that doesn’t have to overrun your life.
If excessive sweating negatively affects you, talk with your parents, and set up an appointment to speak with a doctor. They can discuss all treatment options and help you decide which one is right for you.
Any additional tips to manage teen sweating? We'd love to hear about them!