Overactive sweat glands can create many awkward situations for those who suffer on a daily or HOURLY basis. This condition can affect the whole body or specific localized areas such as armpits, your face, hands, and even some other more sensitive areas. An estimated 2%-3% of Americans suffer from overactive sweat glands, also called hyperhidrosis. So again, what causes overactive sweat glands?!
In order to understand where hyperhidrosis comes from, we must dive into the physiology of sweat glands. Our bodies have two types of sweat glands. Eccrine glands and apocrine glands. Our bodies use both glands to maintain and regulate or body temperature. Both glands produce sweat and both can be overactive and produce excess sweat.
The eccrine glands cover almost the entire surface of our skin. There are large numbers of eccrine glands located on the soles of our feet, the palms of our hands, the armpits, and face. Which is why we sweat the most in those locations. The eccrine glands start deep under our skin and then open at the surface of the skin. Sweat is produced in these glands to help regulate our body temperature as well as to help remove other substances that our bodies no longer need. This sweat is mostly made of water and is odorless. These glands are triggered when body temperature rises.
Apocrine glands are larger than the eccrine glands and are located within hair follicles. Unlike, eccrine glands, apocrine glands are only located in a few places on the body including armpits, genitals, ears, and anywhere that produces hair. This sweat is usually thicker and yellow. The sweat from apocrine glands typically contains proteins and fatty acids that feed bacteria living on the skin's surface. Our bodies produce sweat here when we have an adrenal reaction. These glands are linked to emotions rather than to our body temperature. When our body is stressed, or adrenaline is pumping these glands start producing sweat to help regulate the body.
What causes these glands to overproduce sweat? It’s thought that excessive sweating is caused when nerves associated with the eccrine or apocrine glands overreact. These glands then start producing sweat even when the body doesn't really need it. For some, hyperhidrosis is caused by emotional and stressful situations, this is when the apocrine glands start overproducing sweat. For others exercising or being in hot environments can trigger overactive sweating in the eccrine glands. Unfortunately, there are also those who are constantly sweating regardless of their emotional state or temperature.
We have learned that some people are more likely to get hyperhidrosis. Primary hyperhidrosis is more common in people who have a family member who sweats excessively. Secondary hyperhidrosis is often caused by medical conditions or as side effects to medicines, supplements, or foods.
What can those with hyperhidrosis do? There is no cure for hyperhidrosis, but our antiperspirant roll-on and lotion products can be used to battle the symptoms and the overactive sweat glands regardless of your problem area's location.