Stress Sweat What’s the Real Deal with it? - MiraDry Miami
stress sweat problem

Stress Sweat
What’s the Real Deal with it?

Stress itself is already draining for both your mind and body. It gets even worse once you experience stress sweat.

Curious to know what exactly causes stress sweat and how you should deal with it? Continue reading to understand the science behind stress perspiration, and why it’s different from the normal sweating you experience.

stress sweat

What happens when you’re stressed?

Unlike perspiration caused by strenuous activities, hormones activate your stress sweat.

When you’re tensed and on edge, the body sends a signal to the emotional processing part of your brain—a set of neurons called the amygdala. The amygdala interprets this message and relays a “fight or flight” signal to the hypothalamus. This is the control center of the brain, responsible for releasing various hormones in your body.

The signal eventually reaches the sympathetic nervous system. This process triggers the release of the body’s three main stress hormones: adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine.

After the release of these hormones, you’ll experience an increase in heart rate. You’ll also find that your reflexes are faster than before.

stress response

It also triggers stress sweat, which is why your hands get clammy before a big presentation or beads of sweat run down your temples when you’re preparing for a first date. It also happens instantly because of the quick release of adrenaline into the bloodstream during stressful moments.

Why does stress sweat stink?

As if the emotional and mental baggage brought on by stress isn’t enough, it turns out that stress sweat smells worse than normal sweat.

stress sweat stinks

Your body has two types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine glands. The eccrine glands release sweat due to heat and activity. You can find them all throughout the body.

On the other hand, the apocrine glands are much larger. You can find them in your underarms, feet, and genital areas. The release of adrenaline in the bloodstream activates the apocrine glands.

eccrine sweat glands apocrine sweat glands

These glands produce a milky substance made of cholesterol, proteins and lipids—a combination of nutrients that allow bacteria to thrive. Because of this, stress sweat odor has a more pungent smell compared to regular sweat.

How can you combat stress sweat smell?

Stress sweat odor can get pretty frustrating.
The good news is that there are ways for you to manage it and keep the odor at bay.

deodorant antiperspirant

Start with finding a good deodorant and antiperspirant.

These products can help tame the effects of both the eccrine and apocrine glands.

If you know that you won’t be able to evade stress during that day, grabbing a deodorant or antiperspirant is your safest bet.

trim groom hair

Trim and groom the hair where the apocrine glands are the most active.

While this won’t exactly stop the sweating, it won’t give the bacteria more things to latch onto.

Your deodorant will also be able to penetrate your skin better, resulting in less sweat odor.


Find a way to slow down and relax.

Hygiene isn’t enough to stop you from sweating when you’re stressed. You have to calm down and try to keep stress at bay.

One thing you can do is engage in deep breathing exercises. You may also listen to soothing music whenever you feel tense.


Ask your doctor.

If it’s something that is really bothering you and you’d like a way to remedy it immediately, seek the advice of your licensed physician.

You might have a medical condition that causes you to sweat profusely in stressful situations. Sometimes, it’s a side effect of medication. Visit your doctor just to be sure.


Avoid caffeine.

Caffeine helps you become more alert and awake. Yet it also increases blood pressure and heart rate, amplifying the stress that you may feel within the day.

If you really can’t skip the coffee, opt for a decaf drink instead.

jogging exercise


This may sound counterproductive as the goal is to stop yourself from sweating. Still, going for a quick jog helps you relax and release stress and tension from your body, thus avoiding sweat from stress.

Your body releases endorphins whenever you work out. These chemicals give you a boost and a feeling of well-being.

medical procedure stress sweat

Consider going for a medical procedure.

With how treatments have progressed over the years, you’ll surely find the right one that suits your needs.

You can go for Botox injections to target overactive nerves, blocking their signal to your sweat glands.

Another option is to try topical drugs like Dermira’s Qbrexza, which blocks the receptors responsible for sweat gland activation.

You may also opt to get miraDry sessions, which uses microwave technology to destroy sweat, odor, and hair glands in your underarms.

Though stress is unavoidable, you can at least do something to combat stinky sweat odor. If you’re thinking of getting treatments like miraDry and Qbrexza, schedule a Free Consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeon here in Face+Body Cosmetic Surgery. We’ll answer any concerns you may have.

Dr Nick N Masri MD FACS

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