Embarrassing Perspiration and Antiperspirants

Gina writes: My mom is a patient of yours. I am a healthy 17 year-old, 105lb girl. About one month ago I started perspiring under my arms. I have tried every kind of antiperspirant. I am so embarrassed to go to school because it shows through my clothes. Do you have any answers for me?

DM RESPONSE The odor is the main issue. I would strongly advise against antiperspirants, as they will deposit aluminum in your brain. I would wash under your arms with a mild soap once a day to remove the bacteria. I have rarely found anyone who requires more than twice a day washings to remove the bacteria and secondary odors. Normally, sweating occurs for one of two reasons. The first is that you need to cool down. Considering that it is fall and the temperatures are cooler I would doubt that is the reason you are sweating. The second reason is that your sympathetic nervous system (the part of your nervous system responsible for the "flight or fight" response) is stimulated. This usually occurs when you are anxious or fearful of something. Generally deep breathing exercises work quite well for this. It may take some time to develop the technique. I recommend the book, Conscious Breathing, by Gay Hendricks as one of the best resources out there. He also has a video that demonstrates the technique. If you need a more immediate solution, I would advise wearing a loose sweater, which would "hide" the problem more safely than an antiperspirant. Generally it is far wiser to treat the cause and when that is not successful one needs to seek the least harmful long-term solution possible.

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