Don't Sweat It: Top Tips to Stop Persistent Perspiration

The human body has more than 2.5 million sweat glands and that fact never seems more apparent than in the summer. Whether the sizzling temperatures make you sweat, perspire, glow or melt, "GMA" medical contributor Dr. Marie Savard has advice on how to keep your sweat in check.

Get her tips below.

Why Sweat Is Important

We have 250,000 sweat glands in our feet alone and all of these glands produce sweat to cool us off and control our body temperature.

VIDEO: Dr. Marie Savard offers advice on how to keep your sweat in check.
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Sweat is about more than just external heat. Nerves, of course, can make us sweat, but about 1-3 percent of the population has overactive sweat glands in one or more areas. The condition is called hyperhydrosis and it needs more drastic treatment.

Tips to Keep Dry

Of course, you want to wash frequently, but also look for a deodorant soap to use in the shower. That will kill the bacteria that produce bad odors.

Also, wear breathable fabrics, such as cotton, or high-tech wicking fabrics. You should change your clothes often and avoid tight clothing and shoes.

The less air you get on your skin, the more you'll sweat.

Deodorant vs. Antiperspirant

Deodorants are antibacterial astringents that reduce odor-causing bacteria. Astringents may help in drying somewhat, but antiperspirant is what stops the sweat. And the active ingredient is aluminum.

That's what plugs up the sweat gland. So if you want to compare how strong the brands are, just look at the aluminum content. Aluminum can irritate sensitive skin, so it's a personal decision as to how strong you want your antiperspirant to be.

I like Mitchum, personally, but again, it's a personal decision. The main difference between men's and women's deodorant, besides the smell, is the level of aluminum. The men's version always has more in it.

Standard over-the-counter deodorants have 3-8 percent aluminum, but there are some stronger products available without a prescription, such as Certain-Dri, Bromi Lotion, and SweatBlock, which contain 12 percent or more.

The Best Time to Use Deodorants and Antiperspirants

Deodorant kills bacteria and smells good, so it's OK to use after your morning shower or as often as you want. However, the antiperspirants work best when applied at night.

That's when you sweat the least and the aluminum can get in the sweat glands better to plug them up. Antiperspirants are only intended for once daily use because aluminum is irritating. So, for best results, use your antiperspirant at night, then use a straight deodorant after your shower.

Over-the-Counter Alternatives

Prescription strength treatments are available. For example, Drysol is the strongest available with 20 percent aluminum. With this one, you need to apply to dry skin at night; wash off in morning. You apply nightly for a few nights, then one or two times a week thereafter because it can be irritating to your skin.

Then there's a class of drugs called anticholinergic drugs, such as Robinul. They can help, but carry lots of side effects if taken frequently. They are more for gastric problems but also reduce your sweat output.

This is something you only take if you've been diagnosed with hyperhydrosis.

Botox also may be an option. Some Web sites and experts I talked to say this is the most effective treatment, but it is only approved for use in armpits.

It lasts six to nine months at most, and insurance will often cover it.

Finally, the most extreme option is surgery. There is a procedure where the doctor can cut the spinal nerves to your hands and armpits, and this is not minor surgery. Plus, sweating may recur in up to 50 percent of patients. So the risk may not outweigh the benefits.

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