Does Anxiety Cause Sweating? – 6 Ways to Combat Perspiration

Does anxiety cause sweating? A man sweating

When you feel anxious, it can cause you to sweat. But does anxiety cause sweating and, if so, why? The answer is that no one completely understands the relationship between anxiety and sweating

In most cases, sweating is your body’s way of reacting to stress or fear by increasing perspiration to cool yourself down. This is known as “the nervous stink” because it is triggered by fear rather than smelling pleasant like perfumes or colognes that others can smell on you.

Mental stress and anxiety can cause weird physical reactions in people. Some may find themselves sweating more than usual, particularly during tense situations or when anticipating something fearful or nerve-wracking.

Related: Can anxiety cause breakouts or acne?


Does Anxiety Cause Sweating?

Anxiety can cause sweating. When a person experiences anxiety, their body’s stress response is activated, leading to the release of stress hormones like adrenaline. These hormones trigger various physiological changes, including an increase in heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and increased temperature which as a result lead to the activation of sweat glands.

Sweating is a natural response of the body to cool down and regulate temperature during periods of stress or heightened emotions. As anxiety intensifies, so does the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, leading to excessive sweating in some individuals. This can manifest as increased perspiration on the palms, underarms, or throughout the body, depending on the individual.

Increased sweating is a physical symptom that you might notice when you have anxiety. When we feel stressed out or scared, the sympathetic nervous system kicks into high gear and responds by activating the sweat glands all over our bodies. The reasons why anxiety causes sweating are varied from person to person.

Some people sweat when they are anxious because they have experienced something traumatic in the past and their mind associates those feelings of panic with a trigger; for example, seeing a spider or walking through a dark alleyway makes them anxious because it reminds them of a previous incident involving spiders or sinister alleyways that caused them great distress. 

Why Do You Sweat When You’re Anxious?

Imagine yourself in a high-pressure situation, feeling anxious and on edge. Your heart pounds rapidly, your breath quickens and a subtle warmth begins to spread through your body. As anxiety grips you, your body’s stress response kicks into overdrive. Deep within, your sympathetic nervous system, the part responsible for the fight-or-flight response, springs into action.

It signals your sweat glands, located throughout your skin, to activate. Like tiny gates opening, they release a clear liquid that starts to bead on your forehead, trickle down your back, and dampen your palms. The sensation is as if your body is trying to cool itself down, even though you may not physically be exerting yourself.

Your body’s remarkable response to anxiety, causing perspiration, is a visual reminder of the intricate connection between your mind and body. It’s a physical manifestation of the intensity of emotions, a visual representation of the inner turmoil you experience when anxiety takes hold.

Your body is programmed to react to danger by releasing cortisol and adrenaline, which increases your heart rate, breathing rate, temperature, and blood pressure. The extra blood flow will help your muscles respond quickly to the threat while the cortisol temporarily paralyzes your immune system and digestive system to divert energy to your muscles. This is designed to give you a burst of energy so you can either fight the danger or run away from it.

When your body is hot, the natural response is to sweat in order to cool down. Sweating relieves the heat and it also removes any excess water from your body which can prevent dehydration.

With excessive sweating, you may be experiencing other symptoms that are unrelated to anxiety or stress thus consult a doctor. If you do have excessive sweating, it could be due to an underlying condition such as hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).

Body parts that experience anxiety sweating

Anxiety-induced sweating can make you sweat all over your body but most people notice the sweat mostly in the palms. soles of your feet, wrists, armpits, upper lip, forehead, and upper back. When experiencing anxiety, sweating can occur in various parts of the body as follows.

  1. Palms: Sweating in the palms is known as palmar hyperhidrosis. This can result in clammy or excessively moist hands, making simple tasks like shaking hands or holding objects challenging.
  2. Underarms: Anxiety-induced sweating in the underarms is called axillary hyperhidrosis. It can lead to noticeable wetness and staining on clothing, causing discomfort and self-consciousness.
  3. Face and Forehead: Sweating on the face and forehead can be quite visible and may cause the skin to appear shiny or moist. It can be especially bothersome in social situations, as it may be perceived as nervousness or lack of confidence.
  4. Feet: Anxiety sweating in the feet is known as plantar hyperhidrosis. It can result in excessively sweaty or damp feet, making it uncomfortable to wear certain types of shoes and increasing the risk of foot odor or infections.
  5. Chest and Back: Sweating on the chest and back can occur during anxiety episodes. It may cause a feeling of dampness or stickiness on the skin, potentially leading to discomfort and a sense of unease.
  6. Scalp: Anxiety-induced sweating on the scalp can result in a moist or damp feeling, which may be noticeable when touching the hair or forehead. It can contribute to feelings of self-consciousness, particularly if sweat becomes visible in the hair.

Anxiety-induced sweating normally varies from person to person. Some individuals may experience sweating in multiple areas simultaneously, while others may primarily sweat in specific regions. These bodily responses serve as visible reminders of the profound impact anxiety can have on both our mental and physical well-being.

What do anxiety sweats feel like?

An anxiety attack may feel like a sudden feeling of fear without any threat. Panic attacks are more intense feelings of dread, fear, or discomfort. Anxiety sweats can feel different for each person, but they often share common characteristics. When experiencing anxiety sweats, you may feel a sudden increase in body temperature, leading to a warm or flushed sensation.

Your skin may feel moist, sticky, or clammy. When experiencing anxiety sweats, the increased perspiration can leave your skin feeling moist, as if it has a slight dampness to it. This moisture can give your skin a sticky or clammy sensation, where it may feel slightly tacky or clingy to the touch.

It’s common to notice perspiration on specific areas of your body, such as your palms, underarms, face, or forehead. The sweating may be accompanied by a sense of discomfort, self-consciousness, or heightened awareness of your body’s physical reactions. Moreover, you will feel warmth and flushing, especially around your face (blushing), and head pain among other anxiety symptoms.

Fear and stress can trigger sweating meaning you will notice increased perspiration easily. Anxiety sweats can contribute to a feeling of unease and serve as a tangible reminder of the physiological impact of anxiety on the body.

How to stop anxiety sweating

There are several effective strategies to manage and reduce the occurrence of anxiety sweating even though it is hard to completely stop it. Consulting a healthcare professional can provide additional guidance and potential medical interventions if anxiety sweating persists and significantly impacts daily life. The following table will give you different methods that can help alleviate anxiety-induced sweating:

Deep BreathingDeep breathing exercises help activate the body’s relaxation response, reducing anxiety and lowering stress levels. By focusing on slow, controlled breaths, you can calm your mind and regulate your body’s response, potentially reducing sweating.Moderate to High
MeditationRegular meditation practice can enhance mindfulness and promote overall relaxation. By training your mind to stay present and detached from anxious thoughts, you can reduce stress and anxiety, potentially leading to decreased sweating.Moderate to High
Physical ExerciseEngaging in regular physical exercise helps to reduce overall stress and anxiety levels. It releases endorphins, improves mood, and promotes a sense of well-being. While exercise itself may cause sweating, it can have long-term benefits in managing anxiety-related sweating.Moderate
Wear Breathable ClothingChoosing loose-fitting, breathable fabrics like cotton or moisture-wicking materials can help minimize discomfort caused by sweating. These fabrics allow air to circulate and can help absorb moisture, reducing visible sweat marks.Low to Moderate
Practice Stress ManagementIncorporating stress management techniques into your daily routine, such as journaling, practicing mindfulness, or engaging in hobbies, can help reduce overall anxiety levels. By managing stress proactively, you may experience a decrease in anxiety sweating.Moderate
MedicationsIn severe cases, a doctor may prescribe medications to help manage excessive sweating, such as antiperspirants, anticholinergic drugs, or beta blockers. These should be discussed with a healthcare professional, as they may have potential side effects and are not suitable for everyone.High (Under medical guidance)
Clinical TreatmentsFor persistent and severe anxiety sweating, medical interventions like Botox injections, iontophoresis, or surgical options may be considered. These treatments target specific sweat glands to reduce excessive sweating. They require professional consultation and are typically reserved for extreme cases.High (Under medical guidance, for extreme cases)

Please note that the effectiveness of these methods can vary from person to person. It’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate approach based on your individual needs and circumstances.

1. Invest in a strong antiperspirant

Invest in a strong antiperspirant Sweating is your body’s natural cooling process when under stress or pressure, which helps to reduce your body temperature and promote relaxation. When you’re experiencing anxiety, the adrenaline that rushes through your body can increase the production of sweat on the surface of your skin.

This will lead to wet clothes and broken-in armpits if left untreated. There are many different options out there for antiperspirants, but in order to provide lasting relief, it’s best to invest in a strong antiperspirant.

In people experience increased sweating when they are anxious because they don’t sweat very much normally, using an antiperspirant or deodorant may help reduce the amount you sweat while feeling anxious because these products will block pores, which prevents them from releasing sweat as easily as they would without blocked pores.

If you suffer from excessive perspiration while feeling anxious but don’t typically sweat a lot during normal times, stopping this excess moisture production may help reduce your worry over being sweaty

Removing excess body hair also helps with perspiration induced by anxiety because hair provides an insulating layer against sweat which prevents it from evaporating as quickly as when it is on its own. If you have excess arm hair for example, trimming or shaving it off will help reduce the amount of moisture on your skin at any given time.

2. Change Your Environment or your response

If you find yourself sweating more when you’re in certain environments, such as crowded places or public transportation, then try to find other ways to deal with them. If you’re the type of person who over-sweats in enclosed spaces, try to get there early and sit near the exit.

Similarly, if you’re feeling particularly anxious about a certain situation or event, focus your attention on calming yourself rather than your anxiety response. This may not be an easy task, but with practice and time, it can become easier. By changing your internal response to external triggers, you can help to stop anxiety-induced sweating.

If you find yourself sweating more as a result of anxiety, try to change your environment or change your response to it. For example, if you’re feeling anxious about an upcoming event and find that this leads to excessive perspiration, take some time to breathe deeply and practice visualization exercises before the big day arrives.

If you are experiencing excessive perspiration due to anxiety in the workplace, consider changing your environment such that you can escape from the situation causing distress.

3. Exercise

Exercise has many benefits and can be used as a natural stress reliever. If you find that you’re sweating a lot when you’re anxious, try exercising three times a week for 40 minutes each time. This can help to naturally reduce the amount of stress in your body and regulate your heart rate.

You don’t need to be a fitness expert to reap the benefits of exercise either. Walking, cycling, swimming, and yoga are all excellent forms of exercise that can reduce anxiety and sweating. If you don’t have time to work out at the gym, try to squeeze a short workout into your day.

Regularly Another way you can combat symptoms of anxiety is by exercising more regularly; this will help reduce stress hormones and improve the quality of sleep you experience at night too!

One study has found that regular exercise can increase self-esteem and decrease feelings of depression and anxiety as well as enhance cognitive functioning. If you’re not yet doing so, why not start working out more often?

Exercising regularly increases your circulation, which cools you off more efficiently. Additionally, it can help alleviate some of those negative thoughts by releasing endorphins into your system – the “feel-good” hormones.

Depending on what your anxiety triggers are, you may find that different exercises work better for you than others. Some people respond well to running or biking, while others prefer a calm workout like yoga or pilates. You may also find that a mix of activities is ideal for staying stress-free and active!

4. Try Out Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Techniques and/or meditation

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques and meditation can help you to identify your anxiety triggers and the thoughts that are causing them. From there, you can combat your anxiety with relaxation techniques and positive self-talk.

CBT techniques can also help you to recognize negative self-talk and replace it with more positive and uplifting thoughts. This can help to reduce anxiety in general and stop anxiety-induced sweating.

CBT is a type of therapy that attempts to restructure the patient’s thoughts and behaviors in order to help them manage their feelings more effectively. Meditation, on the other hand, is a form of self-care that cultivates awareness and calmness through mindfulness practices.

Both methods can be used to help control anxiety and stress, which may in turn reduce your sweating. Try out these CBT or meditation techniques during your next anxiety attack or stressful event to see if it helps with any symptoms of perspiration.

5. Wear loose clothes

Another way to combat anxiety-induced sweating is to wear loose clothes. This will help the air to circulate around your body and prevent the buildup of sweat. You can try wearing light fabrics like cotton during the warmer months and layering up during the colder seasons.

Try to avoid wearing synthetic fabrics, like polyester and nylon, as these can retain moisture and make the situation worse. If you work in an environment with high temperatures, consider investing in a few loose linen pieces from your local clothing store.

When you’re feeling anxious, it’s important that you avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes. The pressure exerted by tight clothing on your skin can cause sweating and prevent the effect of a strong antiperspirant from being fully absorbed. Instead, wear loose-fitting clothing like t-shirts and sweatpants so that your sweat can be absorbed and distributed more easily.

This will help keep your body temperature down and promote relaxation by keeping your body cool. If it’s summertime and you don’t have a lot of loose clothes, try wearing light-colored clothing instead to reflect some of the heat away from your body.

6. Try a low-salt diet

While this might seem like a drastic step, a low-salt diet can actually help to reduce the amount of sweating you experience. By lowering the amount of salt in your diet, you can reduce the amount of water that’s retained in your body.

This can help to reduce the amount of sweat that your body produces, which can help you to stop anxiety-induced sweating. Although this may not work for everyone, it’s still worth giving a go if you’re desperate to reduce your sweating.

A low-salt diet is a healthy way to fight back against the constant stress and anxiety that many of us experience on a day-to-day basis. When we are under stress, our bodies produce more adrenaline than usual. Adrenaline is part of the fight or flight response in our nervous system, which helps to increase heart rate and blood pressure, as well as regulate sugar levels during times of high stress.

The problem with this? It can lead to excessive sweating. Anxiety causes sweating because it causes your body to release more fluids from the eccrine glands in your skin – this is one of the ways the body cools itself down during stressful periods.

The extra fluid then turns into sweat and soaks through your clothes, making you feel uncomfortably warm. In some cases, it can also make you smell unpleasant as bacteria build up on your skin.

Luckily, sweating caused by anxiety can be combated with a low-salt diet. A low-salt diet means consuming less than 2 grams of sodium per day – which will help reduce excess water retention and lessen excessive sweat production while you’re under stress or feeling anxious.

7. Medication to stop anxiety sweating

Does Xanax cause water retention?

You can use Beta-blockers (propranolol) and benzodiazepines to stop anxiety sweating. These medications work by “blocking” the physical manifestations of anxiety. In layman’s terms, they block the chemicals in your brain that cause anxiety.

These medications (Beta-blockers (propranolol) and benzodiazepines) can be used to help stop anxiety-induced sweating for many people.

However, before you start taking any new medications, it’s important to speak to a medical professional to discuss the risks and benefits.

Related: Does Prozac make you sweat?

How to stop anxiety sweating on the face

There are various strategies you can implement to help manage and reduce sweating even though it is hard to completely prevent it. Techniques such as relaxation exercises, stress management, and seeking professional help can assist in minimizing anxiety-related facial sweating. To help reduce anxiety and sweating on the face, you can try the following techniques:

  1. Deep Breathing: Practice deep breathing exercises to promote relaxation and calm your body’s stress response. Take slow, deep breaths in through your nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through your mouth. This can help regulate your breathing and decrease anxiety-related sweating.
  2. Cooling Techniques: Use cooling methods to lower your body temperature and minimize facial sweating. You can apply a cold towel or ice pack to your forehead or use a facial mist or cool water spray to refresh your skin. This can provide temporary relief and help regulate sweating.
  3. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Engage in mindfulness or relaxation practices to reduce overall anxiety levels and promote a sense of calm. Techniques such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or guided imagery can help reduce stress and potentially decrease facial sweating.
  4. Avoid Triggers: Identify and minimize exposure to triggers that exacerbate your anxiety. This can vary for each individual, but common triggers may include caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol, or stressful situations. By managing triggers, you may be able to reduce anxiety and subsequent facial sweating.
  5. Seek Professional Help: If anxiety and sweating on the face persist or significantly impact your daily life, consider seeking professional help. A mental health professional can provide guidance, support, and additional strategies to manage anxiety and its associated symptoms, including sweating.

Remember that everyone’s experience with anxiety and sweating may vary, so it’s essential to find the techniques that work best for you. Consulting with a healthcare professional or therapist can provide personalized advice and support in managing anxiety sweating on the face.

Social anxiety sweating

Social anxiety can often contribute to excessive sweating, including sweating on the face. The heightened stress and self-consciousness in social situations can trigger the body’s stress response, leading to increased perspiration. To know if you are having social anxiety sweating, you can check the following which can vary in intensity depending on the individual and the specific social situation:

  1. Excessive Sweating: Individuals with social anxiety may experience profuse sweating, particularly on the face, forehead, neck, and underarms. The sweating may be more pronounced than what is typical for the situation or the individual’s level of physical exertion.
  2. Clammy or Damp Skin: Social anxiety sweating can leave the skin feeling moist, sticky, or clammy to the touch. The affected areas may have a damp sensation, and the skin may feel slightly tacky or clingy.
  3. Visible Sweat Marks: Excessive sweating can result in visible sweat marks on clothing, especially in areas such as the underarms, back, or chest. This can lead to self-consciousness and further exacerbate anxiety in social situations.
  4. Unpleasant Odor: The combination of excessive sweating and the natural presence of bacteria on the skin can contribute to an unpleasant odor, further heightening self-consciousness and anxiety.
  5. Physical Discomfort: Social anxiety sweating can cause physical discomfort, such as a sensation of wetness or stickiness on the skin. This discomfort can lead to increased self-awareness, anxiety, and a desire to withdraw from social interactions.

Strategies such as deep breathing, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and gradually exposing oneself to social situations can help manage social anxiety and reduce the associated sweating. In some cases, medication or antiperspirants may be recommended under the guidance of a healthcare professional.


Excessive sweating can be embarrassing and hard to cope with, but there are many ways to keep it under control. By changing your lifestyle, practicing relaxation techniques, and regularly applying antiperspirants and deodorants, you can reduce the amount of sweating you experience.

If you’re experiencing anxiety, you may notice that you start to sweat more than normal. While this can be frustrating, there are plenty of ways to combat it.

Try keeping your body hydrated, wearing loose clothes, and changing your response to stressful situations. By doing these things, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of sweating you experience and feel more relaxed in general.

Other people may experience different symptoms when anxious. Some have anxiety chest pain, while other people may experience digestive system problems while others may have headaches.


Can anxiety cause sweating?

Yes, anxiety does cause sweating. As a result of your body’s natural cooling process, your sweat glands will produce fluids to cool you down. This is called the “fight or flight” response and it often occurs during stressful or anxious situations. It’s important to note that this is a natural response that can help your body fight off stress and ease tension – it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you.

Does anxiety sweating go away?

Anxiety sweating typically goes away once the underlying anxiety or stress subsides for example if you learn to control your anxiety and stress. As the body’s stress response calms down, the excessive sweating associated with anxiety tends to diminish. However, if anxiety persists or recurs frequently, it’s important to address the underlying causes and develop strategies to manage and reduce anxiety sweating.

Can anxiety cause sweating face?

Anxiety can cause sweating on the face. When anxiety activates the body’s stress response, it can trigger the release of stress hormones and stimulate the sweat glands, including those on the face. This can result in sweating on the forehead, cheeks, or other facial areas, contributing to a moist or damp sensation on the skin.

Dr. David Barlow

David is a well-known researcher and author in the anxiety disorders area with extensive research on their etiology, nature, and treatment. He started the site to share his real-life experiences on the management of anxiety disorders with successful diagnosis and treatment being his motivation to write or review the content on this site.