Skip Navigation

How to Reduce Sweating: Can You Stay Cool Under Pressure?

Man showing charts to his team

by Dennis Madden

It's easy to understand why physical activity makes you sweat. Muscle contractions produce a lot of heat and to keep things from shutting down, sweat cools you as it evaporates off the surface of your skin. What about stress sweating, though? Why is it that you can be sweating buckets when you're standing still in front of a crowd? If you find yourself in this situation and you want to learn how to reduce sweating, read on.

Why Stress Makes You Sweat

The feeling you associate with stress, that rapid heart rate, altered breathing and sweat, is your fight-or-flight instinct kicking in, says Merck Manual. This reflex was hard-wired in since the era where stress was triggered by life-or-death scenarios. Our ancestors had to deal with different stressors than us 21st-century guys, like potentially going hungry or being dragged away by predators. And stressful situations back then demanded tremendous feats of physical strength in order to survive them, thus the fight-or-flight response was born.

As silly as it may sound, modern sources of stress like closing a deal or impressing your date can still seem as dramatic as a wooly mammoth attack to your body. Although the stress of delivering the perfect sales pitch is very real, sprinting away is rarely the solution, but your nervous system doesn't know that. It just knows that stress means time to light it up! You can't simply turn off the most primal instinct that has been a part of human survival for thousands of generations. All you can do is manage it as best you can.

How to Reduce Sweating

Most people sweat when they're stressed. First, consider what kind of underarm product you're using. If it's only deodorant then consider switching to an antiperspirant. If you're using one and it doesn't seem to be getting the job done, try an enhanced strength product before checking with your doctor to see if your sweating is a medical concern.

Next focus on things you can control. Choosing clothes made from breathable fabrics like cotton, wool or linen is a good place to start. If you need to wear a suit, try a deconstructed jacket without a liner. It will breathe much better and keep you cooler than a traditional jacket or blazer.

Back in the day, it was said that a gentleman shouldn't wear a T-shirt under his dress shirt to prove that he doesn't sweat. There's a place for tradition, but your professional life isn't one of them. Wear a T-shirt under your suit. Just make sure it's a breathable material and don't do anything silly like wear a color that shows through your white dress shirt.

As you gain more experience in your career and life in general, you'll learn not to sweat the small stuff. Stress reduction practices like yoga, meditation or deep breathing may calm your nerves, allowing you to keep your cool.

This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Speed Stick products. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.