Antiperspirants are usually the first line of defence against sweating. But if you’re concerned about your health, you know that most antiperspirants contain toxins. Fortunately, there are many natural remedies for sweating that work just as good (if not better) than conventional deodorants.
Some people also sweat more than the average person. This condition, called hyperhidrosis (or excessive sweating) is a medical condition that affects around 3% of the general population. While it doesn’t seem like such a big deal if you’ve never experienced it, hyperhidrosis can be quite embarrassing – especially when sweat starts dripping off your nose and chin, when the person next to you is totally comfortable.
Aside from embarrassment, excessive sweating can be incredibly disruptive. Night sweats can be so severe that you wake up with a drenched pillow and sheets. Simple tasks can also be made difficult by the large amount of sweat your hands produce.
While conventional medicine states that the cause of hyperhidrosis is an underlying medical condition, if doctors cannot find an underlying medical condition (like Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, menopause, etc.), then the cause is “unknown.”
As a result of “unknown” causes, the medical community goes to the next best thing – treating the symptoms.
Current treatments for hyperhidrosis are as follows:
– Antiperspirants (I will outline the dangers of these below).
– Iontophoresis (low dose of electricity delivered to the body through a body of water).
– Botox (botulinum toxin injections are said to inhibit sweating).
– Pharmaceuticals (oral medications are extremely dangerous, as they inhibit sweating so well that the patient can overheat).
– Surgery (severing nerves to the affected areas, as well as removing sweat glands – a highly dangerous procedure, given our sweat glands function to regulate body temperature and release toxins if the liver and kidneys are overloaded).
While doctors claim causes “unknown,” the truth is, there is always a cause. From a holistic perspective, there are a couple direct causes of excessive chronic sweating. Like with every disease and/or illness, there are always many causes, but it usually comes down to toxicity and lack of nutrition. If your endocrine isn’t functioning very well, you’re going to have a sweat issue.
For the purposes of this article, I am going to stop here on hyperhidrosis, but I just wanted to make it known that while doctors turn to incredibly invasive procedures to cure an “unknown” cause, there is always a holistic way of looking at whatever you’re dealing with. Once you start nourishing your body with what it needs, it has this uncanny ability to heal itself. Who knew the body was so intelligent when given what it needs?
Dangers of Conventional Antiperspirants
One of the most common recommendations for those with excessive sweating issues is antiperspirants. Obviously, not just excessive sweaters use these products. Practically everyone does.
The problem with conventional antiperspirants is that they contain harmful chemicals known to be harmful or irritating to the skin and body. The list is long when it comes to antiperspirants and deodorants, but I wanted to focus on those that are the most harmful.
1. Parabens: a common ingredient found in most beauty products, as well as deodorants. Parabens have been linked to cancer time and time again, as they are said to disturb the body’s hormonal balance. They are particularly dangerous for breast tissue, as demonstrated in this study, who found nearly all samples of cancerous breast tissue to contain high percentages of this preservative. Parabens mimic estrogen, and high estrogen levels are said to play a part in breast cancer formation.
2. Aluminum compounds: similar to parabens, any kind of aluminum compound mimics estrogen, which promotes the growth of breast cancer cells (1). Aluminum compounds in deodorants act as a plug within the sweat ducts and temporarily stop the flow of sweat – doesn’t sound too healthy to me.
3. Triclosan: a synthetic chemical that has antimicrobial properties, which destroy or inhibit the growth of microorganisms like bacteria or fungi. It is a known endocrine disruptor and a suspected carcinogen. It weakens the immune system, and children exposed to the chemical have an increased chance of developing allergies, asthma and eczema.
4. Propylene Glycol: this chemical is found in thousands of cosmetic products as well as a large number of processed food products. It is also found in industrial-grade products like anti-freeze, polyurethane cushions, and paints. Studies have found propylene glycol to be irritating to the skin and triggering of allergic reactions. It is also potentially toxic to the kidneys and liver and can cause neurological, cardiovascular, and respiratory problems.
5. Silica: a known skin irritant, silica is often contaminated with crystalline quartz, which is a carcinogen.
With that being said, lets take a look at some natural remedies to control heavy sweating.
Natural Remedies for Sweating
There are several natural remedies for sweating that can be used safely and effectively. If one doesn’t work out for you, try the next. If you’re looking for an actual all-natural deodorant recipe, I’ll be linking to my favourite one at the end of the article (don’t miss it!).
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) contains strong astringent properties that make it perfect for controlling excessive sweating. It is also great internally, as it helps balance the body’s pH levels and remove toxins. When used on the skin, ACV forms a thin coating that essentially narrows the pores of the armpit, and therefore lowering the amount of sweat that can pass through.
For underarms, soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar, and then rub the vinegar on your problem areas. Leave the ACV on the skin overnight, and take a shower in the morning to wash it off.
Internally, ACV can be combined with a couple other ingredients to make it a delicious drink you can have in the morning, or at night. Mix 2 teaspoons ACV with 1 teaspoon raw honey in a glass of water. Drink it once a day on an empty stomach.
Always be sure to use raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. This version will provide your body with the most benefits.
2. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera juice and aloe vera gel can both be used for those who want to sweat less. It has been used for centuries as a “first aid plant” and can help control profuse sweating as well as body odour. I always suggest making your own aloe vera gel, because most of the aloe vera jelly sold in health food stores contains preservatives.
If you have access to an aloe vera plant, cut off the green parts and extract the jelly inside. You can blend up the jelly with a blender, or an immersion blender (immersion works a little better). It will be frothy after blending, but this will eventually go down. Pour this jelly into a clean glass mason jar, and refrigerate (it keeps for about one week).
You can take a tablespoon of this jelly internally, to help detoxify the body and balance digestion, or you can dip the tip of a cloth into the jelly, and rub underneath your armpits, or wherever you’re having sweating problems.
3. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is a powerful astringent and can be applied in liquid form to the skin. Some people even say that witch hazel can help eliminate excessive sweating altogether – that’s just how powerful it is! Witch hazel contains tannic acid, also found in black tea and sage. which allows the herb to constrict sweat glands and reduce sweating.
To use witch hazel, dab some on a cloth or cotton ball, and rub on the areas that are giving you problems. Whether it’s your armpits, face, or palms, this plant will help tremendously.
Sage is considered one of the best herbs to treat hyperhidrosis. It is an adaptogen, so it helps calm the nervous system and allows the body to deal with emotional and physical stress. Sage is also super high in thiamine and magnesium, which have the ability to soothe sweat glands and calm the nervous system. Not only that, but sage contains rosmarinic acid, which is also known to naturally inhibit sweat production.
The easiest way to put sage on problem areas of the body is by putting 1 teaspoon of dried sage leaves into 2 cups of boiling water. Steep for 7 minutes, and then use this sage water to apply to your underarms, palms, or other areas of the body. You can also drink sage tea to enjoy the detox benefits it has to offer.
5. Burdock Root
Burdock root helps jump start the endocrine system and lymphatic system. It has been said that burdock redirects sweating fluids through the lymph nodes, kidneys and bowels. To enjoy this root, simmer 1 tablespoon of burdock root in 2 cups of water for about 10-15 minutes. Drink this at least once a day to reap the benefits.
6. Black Tea
Black tea has a high concentration of tannic acid in it. It has more tannic acid than other types of tea, which gives it astringent and antiperspirant properties. This allows black tea to literally constrict the sweat glands, which greatly reduces sweating.
To make a black tea concoction that you can rub onto problem areas, steep 2 bags of black tea in 3 cups hot water for 10-15 minutes. Dip a washcloth into the tea, and then dab the tea-soaked washcloth onto any problem areas.
7. Wheat Grass or Barley Grass Juice Powder
Wheat grass and barley grass juice powder help balance out the body’s pH level, and remove toxins in the blood, which cause sweating. They are also incredibly high in B vitamins and other essential nutrients that help the body regulate its temperature. Not to mention, these two grasses are incredibly rich in chlorophyll, which is a natural and potent deodorant.
Drinking just one ounce of wheatgrass or barley grass juice a day can help fight extreme sweat. You can also take these two in powder form – just follow the instructions on whatever brand you buy!
8. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a popular ingredient in all-natural deodorants. It helps fight bacteria (and therefore, body odour), and detoxes the skin from the inside out. While not many people enjoy the stains coconut oil leaves behind, you can check out my all-natural deodorant recipes, which balance out the amount of coconut oil with other ingredients. If you’re still concerned about the oil staining your clothes, wipe some coconut oil on your problem areas (like your armpits), and then pat dry. This will leave a thin, but discreet layer of oil that won’t harm your clothing.