When people get nervous they may find they are sweating on their face, they have sweaty palms or large wet patches under their arm pits. Obviously, excessive sweating may be visible to others. Facial sweating may be particularly distressing for women who like to wear makeup, as sweat can make foundation run and sweaty palms may be problematic for people who are required to regularly shake hands.
People with excessive sweating believe their perspiration is shameful and that they will be negatively judged and evaluated for sweating.
Hyperhydrosis sufferers believe other people will think they are ill, devious, nervous or weak and will not want to socialise with them or do business with them.
Fear of sweating can lead to people avoiding some social situations altogether or developing subtle avoidance behaviours such as:
- adopting hairstyles which obscure their face
- favouring clothes which they think are less likely to reveal sweat (favoured colors are white and black)
- avoiding clothes which fit tightly under the arms
- avoiding wearing fabrics such as lyrcra and nylon
- changing clothes multiple times a day
- avoiding shaking or holding hands because their palms are sweaty
- turning up airconditioning
- turning down heating
- underdressing for the climatic conditions
- carrying cold drinks around with them
- wiping their hands and face in social situations
Such efforts to hide and control the excessive sweating problem only maintain and exacerbate the condition.
Once someone has sweated excessively once or twice in social situations (and perhaps someone passed comment on their sweating) the hyperhydrosis sufferer may anticipate they will sweat in a particular social situations and this anticipatory anxiety aggravates the sweating problem.
Sufferers of excessive sweating need to remind themselves that:
- People may not notice you are sweating
- If someone does notice you are sweating, they may not evaluate you negatively for it.
For example, let's say someone is a trial lawyer and is in court arguing his case before a judge. He may be sweating on his face but his clients could interpret that favourably, thinking that he is giving the case his all and is very passionate about doing a good job.
If you are experiencing excessive sweating it is advisable to consult your doctor to rule out any possible medical conditions which may have excessive sweating as a symptom.