Excessive underarm sweating is an embarrassing problem for some people, leading to body odor, stained clothing, anxiety and social isolation. In most cases, underarm sweating is easily controlled with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter antiperspirants. When these products fail or when sweating is severe or interferes with daily life, several other treatment options are available to reduce or stop sweating and associated odor problems.
Check the product you are currently using daily to determine whether it contains an antiperspirant in addition to a deodorant. While deodorants help control the odor associated with underarm sweating, they do not reduce or stop sweating. Antiperspirants stop sweating by temporarily blocking the sweat glands in the underarms.
Try a prescription-strength antiperspirant that contains aluminum chloride if over-the-counter products are ineffective. Apply at night to increase their effectiveness and wash off when you wake up in the morning to reduce side effects such as itching and redness. According to the New Zealand Dermatological Society, it may be possible to reduce how often you must use prescription antiperspirants once your sweating is under control.
Dust cornstarch or talcum powder under your arms. The powder can absorb excess sweat and keep your skin drier. Also consider using underarm liners, which are small pads made to absorb sweat.
Wear clothing made of natural fibers, such as cotton or silk, to improve air circulation and keep your skin dry. When exercising, choose synthetic fabrics that are designed to wick moisture away from your skin and reduce sweating and odor.
Undergo injections of Botox to reduce excessive underarm sweating. According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, these injections work by blocking the secretion of the chemical messenger that signals the body to begin producing sweat. Repeat injections every six to 16 months are typically required to keep sweating under control.
Ask your doctor about surgery to remove the sweat glands under your arms. Several procedures are available, including excision, liposuction and curettage. A more complicated surgical procedure, called endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, is rarely recommended because of a high risk of potentially serious side effects, including compensatory sweating that may be worse than the original problem.