Why Am I Sweating When It’s Cold? 5 Reasons (and How to Treat Them)

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Sweating helps keep your body temperature in check. When you sweat, you’re literally cooling yourself down.

But sometimes we over sweat, or sweat at odd times, such as when we’re just sitting down at the office or when we’re cold, not hot.

Excessive sweating is embarrassing, and can be life altering. You’re less likely to be confident at work, to go to social gatherings after hours, and to feel comfortable in the clothes you want to wear when you’re managing a sweating problem.

But sweating when it doesn’t make sense can also be scary. Is it a sign of a more significant health issue? Will it ever stop?

The truth is there are several reasons why you may be sweating when it doesn’t make sense. In this post we go through 5 common reasons you’re sweating when it’s cold, starting with the one we are most experienced in: hyperhidrosis.

If you conclude that you have hyperhidrosis and want to find a sustainable long term solution for it, try Duradry’s 3-step solution that works to stop excessive sweating and keep you dry. You can get started for just $20.

1. Hyperhidrosis 

Hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive sweating. And it’s far more common than you may think. More people suffer from hyperhidrosis than psoriasis or peanut allergies.

There are two types of hyperhidrosis: Primary focal hyperhidrosisand secondary hyperhidrosis.

  • Primary focal hyperhidrosis is when you’re excessively sweating in key areas. Usually these areas are your armpits, lower back, feet, or hands. There is no reason behind your excessive sweating — it’s just a fact of life. It tends to start when you’re younger, and won’t go away with age.
  • Secondary hyperhidrosis is brought on by an underlying cause, such as an infection or maybe as a side effect to prescription medication. Secondary hyperhidrosis can lead to full body sweating and sweating at night. To treat secondary hyperhidrosis, you need to focus on treating the underlying condition. If that isn’t an option, then you can focus on managing just how much you have to sweat.

Hyperhidrosis can be very debilitating, especially when it goes untreated. (We cover an effective treatment method below, specific to armpit sweating, but spoiler: conventional antiperspirants don’t cut it.)

We recently ran two surveys on those suffering from excessive sweating, and what we found was illuminating.

First, the majority of excessive sweaters are thinking about their sweating problem at least 3 times a day, with 55.4% of respondents claiming they think about their sweating all the time.

Hyperhidrosis survey results: "How many times per day do you think about sweating? (55.4% = all the time, 17.9% = 2-3 times per day, 17.3% = 4-5 times per day, 9.4% = 1-2 times per day)

Further, people suffering from hyperhidrosis constantly factor their sweating problem into their decision making, including deciding what to wear to work or a social event.

Hyperhidrosis survey results: "Can you always wear the clothes you want to wear?" (91.7% said no, 6.3% said yes)

Even then, chronic sweaters know that they’ll likely have to change their clothes throughout the day. Over 86% of respondents change at least once a day due to sweat marks, with 50.6% changing their clothes twice (or more) a day.

Hyperhidrosis survey results: "How many times per day do you need to change due to sweat marks?"

We recently had an interview with one of our customers — Joshua Valdez — who started excessively sweating when he was around twelve years old. It didn’t matter if he was sitting on the couch playing a computer game, if he was out in the cold weather of winters in Canada, or if he had just taken a shower.

As a child, he was bullied by his peers for his sweaty armpits and sweat-soaked clothing, and as a young adult he found himself always wearing dark colored shirts and being more reserved at his job and around friends to hide his condition.

Josh tried various different hyperhidrosis treatments, but they either didn’t work or came with painful side effects (blistering and rashes on his underarms).

Thankfully, as he just turned twenty-one, and as he prepares to enter college for the first time, Josh found Duradry, our 3-step system to help treat excessive sweating, through an ad on social media. 

“Honestly, [before finding Duradry] I thought this was my life going forward,” Josh told us in our interview with him.“I didn’t think [my sweating problem would] ever change. In that sense, Duradry has been a miracle. I never expected it to work so well.”

How to Successfully Treat Axillary Hyperhidrosis 

Duradry’s 3-Step System: Duradry AM, Duradry PM and Duradry Wash

I personally suffer from hyperhidrosis — and have since I was a teenager. Over the years I’ve tried countless different over-the-counter antiperspirants and prescription antiperspirants. But like Josh, I found them lacking. Most didn’t work, and the ones that worked came with painful side effects.

Unlike Josh, I even tried more invasive treatment options, such as getting Botox injections in my underarms.

The things that worked were expensive or painful or short term (or all of the above).

I wanted something that was affordable, pain-free, and could work as a long-term solution to my excessive sweating problem.

That’s how I came to make Duradry’s 3-step system. With Duradry, you can treat your excessive sweating problem while still making sure your skin is moisturized and healthy.

Let’s look at each step in more detail.

Step One: Apply Duradry PM before Bed

Duradry PM

Duradry PM is an unscented, gel antiperspirant. I made it a gel so you can easily apply it to your skin without missing a spot (something that’s common and annoying with liquid or spray on antiperspirants).

I made it unscented so it doesn’t overwhelm your senses before sleep.

  • The active ingredient in Duradry PM is Aluminum Chloride. Aluminum Chloride is one of the most effective aluminum-based ingredients for treating excessive sweating. This is because its smaller molecular structure can seep deeper into your pores and more effectively form a plug that blocks sweat from coming out of your sweat ducts.

    Prescription only brands (like Drysol) use Aluminum Chloride at a 20% concentration, which requires a doctor’s note. But studies show 15% (the amount in Duradry PM) is just as effective as 20% — this is why Duradry PM is less likely to cause skin irritation and is also available directly through our website.
  • There’s also Salicylic Acid in Duradry PM. Salicylic Acid is an exfoliant — it cleans away dead skin. This helps make sure Duradry won’t cause any of the skin irritation that Josh and I experienced when using prescription only brands. Plus, studies show that pairing Salicylic Acid with Aluminum Chloride makes the solution more effective in stopping sweat.

Most of Duradry’s customers only need to apply Duradry PM 2-3 times a week.

Step Two: Wash Your Skin with Duradry Wash

Duradry Wash

For antiperspirant to work most effectively, it needs to make complete contact with the skin. But sometimes our skin is plugged with oils, bacteria, and even residue from soap or yesterday’s antiperspirant or deodorant.

That’s why I include Duradry Wash in Duradry’s 3-step system. Duradry Wash is designed to thoroughly and deeply cleanse your skin and prepare it for Duradry AM (which we cover next) and Duradry PM.

Plus, Duradry Wash is full of vitamins and moisturizers, which helps keep your skin healthy and fresh.

Step Three: Apply Duradry AM at the Start of Your Day

Duradry AM

Duradry AM is an antiperspirant-deodorant with a pleasant, gender neutral scent. It’s a stick that you can apply daily before you leave the house.

Duradry AM’s active ingredient is Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrex Gly, which is also on the FDA’s approved list of aluminum-based ingredients for stopping sweating.

By using Duradry AM every morning, you’re helping keep your skin fresh, clean, and dry. Plus, you’re giving your underarms an extra boost of sweat and odor protection.

By using these three products together, 97% of our customers have achieved full dryness within one week. Get started for just $20.

Medical disclaimer: If you’re just experiencing your sweating problem — or have had it for awhile but never sought a doctor’s opinion — we do recommend you consult with a healthcare professional (whether a dermatologist or a general practitioner) who can rule out more serious, underlying conditions that could be causing you to sweat excessively.

Below, we cover 4 other reasons why you may be sweating when you’re not physically exerting yourself — from anxiety to an overactive thyroid.

2. Anxiety

If you’re breaking out into a full body sweat even when you’re cold (or are not actively physically exerting yourself) then anxiety disorders may be the culprit.

There’s a long, complicated relationship between anxiety and excessive sweating. But if you’re anxious before a flight is about to take off or before you have to give a big presentation at work, then sweating may be your body’s response.

If this is the case, then antiperspirants will only work to stop the sweating in specific areas. If you’re sweating all over, you can’t apply Duradry PM from head to toe. But you can use Duradry’s 3-Step system to cut down on sweating in your underarms, which can in turn help with confidence.

But if anxiety is the main reason you’re sweating, then to completely stop yourself from breaking out into cold sweats, you need to treat the underlying problem — the anxiety itself.

This could mean meditation, breathing exercises, and consulting a medical professional.

But make sure you rule out other physical factors that can be causing sweating. Unfortunately, sometimes doctors will prescribe anti-anxiety medication for patients who list sweating as a symptom. But anti-anxiety medication is also one of the major causes of secondary hyperhidrosis..

So while you may have solved one form of excessive sweating, you may have to start dealing with the same problem under a slightly different name.

3. Common Cold or Infection

If you’re sweating at odd times and this is a new and rare occurrence, then it could be a sign that your body is fighting a common cold or some other infection.

Your sweat could be localized to a few key areas, or it could be spread out over your body.

To treat this problem, you need to address the infection. This means consulting with a healthcare provider for the best course of action.

When your infection goes away, so should your sweating problem.

4. Hypoglycemia

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can cause you to sweat, even if all you’re doing is sitting on the couch in a cool room.

This is because low glucose levels trigger your body’s fight-or-flight response, which means your body produces adrenaline, your heart rate increases, and you start to sweat.

5. Hyperthyroidism 

If you’re sweating often when it doesn’t make sense, you could have an overactive thyroid. Because your thyroid gland is making more thyroid hormones than it needs, your internal temperature rises.

This makes you more sensitive to sweating easily, even if you’re barely exerting yourself.

Next Steps: Classifying (and Solving) Your Sweating Problem

Sweating serves a purpose, but it has a time and a place. If you find yourself constantly sweating when you shouldn’t be — such as when it’s cold out or you’re otherwise relaxed — then it’s a good idea to consult a medical professional and rule out any more serious life-threatening conditions, such as infection or hyperthyroidism.

But some people are just excessive sweaters. It usually starts in your youth (but can present throughout your life).

If you have primary hyperhidrosis, then you’re going to be experiencing sweating in one of these key areas: armpits, hands, lower back, and feet.

The most common area to experience excessive sweating is in one’s armpits, and that’s where Duradry can help the most.

97% of our customers achieve dryness within one week of using Duradry. If you’re ready to see the kind of difference Duradry can make to your day, get started right away.

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