Why does my face sweat so much?
Jodi says she has an embarrassing problem. Whenever she is tense or anxious, sweat runs off her face like the “liv ing water”.
“No joke,” she said. Her “face run water like pipe turn on!” Her armpits and hands are OK, though.
Jodi is not alone. This disorder is fairly common. Many of the symptoms associated with anxiety are distressing (sweating, palpitations, shortness of breath, shaking, diarrhoea, and others). Sweating is one of the more common symptoms and is quite frustrating in that it’s a very obvious symptom which shares with all and sundry your distressed state of mind.
Approximately three per cent of the general population suffers with too much head sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis. There is treatment for this condition.
First, some of this sweating is normal. When you’re hot, embarrassed, afraid, angry or nervous, you sweat.
It’s when this occurs excessively that we have a problem.
Primary hyperhidrosis occurs in the head, on the limbs, and is associated with excessive sweating. It’s thought to occur due to malfunction of the nervous system involved in sweating; and it’s thought that this is actually genetic.
Secondary hyperhidrosis occurs as a side effect of another medical problem or medication being used. Some medications used to treat psychiatric problems, as well as some antibiotics and supplements, can lead to this problem.
Substance or medication abuse is known to cause this problem. Changes in hormonal levels associated with menopause and hyperthyroidism can also cause face and head sweats.
People in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease will frequently also experience head sweating!
If excessive sweating is of new onset, you should visit your doctor for a check-up to determine if there is a traceable cause.
Once you or your doctor accept that this problem is of long standing and not related to a new illness or any medications or herbs being used, note when you experience this problem.
Do stressful situations cause it? Or does it occur after drinking wine or eating certain spicy foods?
- Use of herbs – Consuming increased amounts of asparagus, witch hazel and sage can help to decrease your sweating generally. These herbs can be obtained as supplements.
- Increasing vitamin intake – Supplement your diet with increased amounts of vitamin B. Eating more fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and lean protein will also supply this vitamin more abundantly.
- Avoid spicy foods, like curry and hot peppers and garlic, and increase your fluid intake when you do consume them.
- Avoid coffee and all cola drinks.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Avoid stress filled situations – Learn to cope with stress through meditation, exercise and prayer.
- Jog – While jogging induces sweat during the process, it is a great reducer of stress.
- Maintain a healthy weight – Obese people have a higher core body heat and sweat more normally.
- Clothing – Dress in light clothing which breathe.
- Menopause – If peri-menopausal or menopausal (female), take natural and herbal plant phytoestrogens, such as evening primrose or Black cohosh. Dong quai root, kava and ginseng also help, if ingested.
- Visit your doctor – Remember to get a check-up to make sure no current medications being used are contributing to the problem and no medical disorder has developed.
Any treatment used generally to decrease sweating generally, all over the body will also decrease facial sweating.
- Over-the-counter antiperspirants as well as doctor’s prescription-strength antiperspirants containing aluminium chloride, can also be applied lightly to the face. Read the instructions on how to apply it to avoid skin irritation.
- Botox injections to the face, administered by an experienced dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
A big part of coping with this ‘sweaty face’ problem is practising a healthy lifestyle.
Eat and drink right, rest, avoid alcohol, coffee and spicy foods, exercise and practise relaxations techniques to de-stress. Also, add the right herbs and vitamins to your diet.
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