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How to Stop Sweaty Hands: Is It Possible?

2 men in suits shaking hands

by Dennis Madden

No doubt you've been nervous and had sweaty hands and palms at one point or another. Sometimes you expect it and deal with it. What if it happens too often or the sweat is more than a mild dampness? Learning how to stop sweaty hands can help get your confidence back. You may be surprised to learn that in severe cases, sweaty palms are actually a medical condition. It's a form of excessive sweating called palmar hyperhidrosis, according to Cedars-Sinai.

What Causes Sweaty Palms?

Under times of stress, whether the danger is real (chased by a lion) or perceived (like public speaking, no physical harm) the sympathetic nervous system, which you may know as the fight-or-flight system, responds by getting you ready for action, says Harvard Health Publications. Your heart rate increases while your circulatory system dilates to provide more blood for your soon-to-be working muscles. Your breathing quickens in preparation for titanic efforts and adrenaline surges giving you that electric feeling in your legs. You start to sweat in order to keep your body cool and running efficiently. Hopefully, you are beginning to see the connection between this fight-or-flight response and sweaty hands. Hyperhidrosis is a sensitivity and overcompensation of the sweat glands to your sympathetic nervous system. Even when you don't feel physically threatened, that nervous energy during an important meeting, first date or public presentation can trigger the same reaction as fleeing the clutches of a hungry predator.

Long-Term Solutions

If this seems to be a problem for you there are a few treatment options. The course you choose depends on the severity or your symptoms. Everyone gets sweaty palms every once in a while but if it happens frequently or enough that it literally drips off your palms, you'll want to see a doctor for serious and long-term options. Medications can be prescribed that desensitize the sweat glands.

Go for That Handshake!

Whether you seek long-term treatment is up to you and your physician. In the meantime, you can take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Millions of people live with some form of excessive sweating and there are support groups and ongoing research to help you learn how to stop sweaty hands. While only a temporary solution, you could keep a handkerchief or tissues on you to dry your hands immediately before an important meeting or before you take your date's hand. You could drop in a restroom for a quick hand wash as well.

Sweaty palms don't just impact social situations. If you're doing some sort of physical activity or labor that requires dry hands, consider using powder to absorb some moisture. Since sweating is related to stress and the nervous system, anything you can do to increase confidence and reduce stress couldn't hurt!

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.