How to Deal with a Sweaty Face and Scalp
What causes sweating from the face and scalp?
Do you sweat a lot from your face and scalp? You’re not alone, most of us struggle with these areas when it’s warm out and when exercising. Sweating is normal, and many things can trigger a sweating response, such as:
- - Warm weather and humidity
- - Exercise and activity
- - Hot and spicy foods
- - Stress and anxiety
If you find yourself sweating profusely from your head, even without an appropriate “trigger”, i.e. you’re sweating in the cold, even when you’re just sitting still, or generally just sweating a lot more than a situation calls for, there’s a word for this.
Excessive sweating of the face, head, and scalp is known as craniofacial hyperhidrosis. This type of sweating can be the most embarrassing type of hyperhidrosis as it’s hard to treat, even harder to conceal, and can have a significant impact on confidence and image. Approximately 9.41% of people with hyperhidrosis have craniofacial hyperhidrosis.
This type of sweating is generally localized to the scalp, forehead, and upper lip, however, it can or can seem like it covers the full face and scalp, as sweat will drip down all over the face. It can cause flushing, redness of the skin, embarrassment, and low self-confidence. Those who suffer from excessive sweating on their face, scalp, and head will often struggle with wet, frizzy hair, and difficulty using makeup and other facial products such as moisturizer and sunscreen.
Why does my face sweat so much?
The face is one of the areas most commonly affected by hyperhidrosis. Even those without hyperhidrosis will sweat a lot from their head, as this region has a lot of sweat glands. Think of being in the gym or on a hot day, you’ll often find sweat dripping from your temples and the back of your neck. The difference between regular sweating and craniofacial hyperhidrosis is that craniofacial hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating and sweating “episodes” can happen anytime and anyplace.
Those who sweat from their scalp and head often sweat from other areas such as the hands, feet, and underarms. This type of localized sweating is known as primary hyperhidrosis, and there is no cure. Even people who sweat excessively from other parts of their body, generally state that their facial sweating bothers them the most. After all, the face is the first thing people notice when they meet you.
It is one of the hardest to treat due to the location of the sweating. While treatments like iontophoresis are ideal for the hands, feet, and underarms, it is a bit more tricky to treat any region on the head with it. And while antiperspirants can work on underarms, they are nearly impossible to effectively apply on the scalp, and can leave irritation marks on the face, as many people’s facial skin is more sensitive than other areas.
What causes facial sweating?
Some of the areas most commonly affected by primary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) are the:
- - Hands
- - Feet
- - Underarms
- - Face/Head
- - Groin
If sweating is localized to one or more of these regions and is something you’ve been struggling with for a long time, you likely have primary hyperhidrosis. This means that your sweating is not caused by another condition, but you simply have overactive sweat glands. Sweating episodes are chronic and spontaneous, and are not affected by any external factors. Therefore, you’ll sweat even when you’re stationary and even when it’s cold.
If you sweat excessively not only from certain localized parts of the body but rather full-body sweating, then you may be suffering from secondary hyperhidrosis. This means that your sweating is a symptom of another condition or a side-effect of a medication you are taking.
Facial sweating is also a common side effect of postpartum and menopause, infections, diabetes, thyroid issues, and obesity. If you have suddenly started sweating excessively and unusually, it’s best to consult a health professional to rule out any underlying cause. In these cases once the root cause is treated, sweating will also subside.
How to Treat Sweating of the Head, Face, and Scalp
If you struggle with excessive sweating on your face, head, and scalp, there are certain treatments you can try to manage it. Here are the main treatments used to manage the effects of craniofacial hyperhidrosis:
- - There are some specially formulated antiperspirants that may help with excessive sweating of the face. However, these will not be very effective or convenient to use on the scalp if hair is present. They may offer relief on the face, nape of the neck, temples, and forehead.
- - While many antiperspirants are formulated for the underarms, such as the SweatBlock antiperspirant wipes, some use them along their scalp, where the hair line meets the forehead to help reduce sweating. Some antiperspirants may be a bit harsh for the face, so it’s best to do a test first.
- - A lot of antiperspirants designed for facial sweating are actually mattifying gels, which will help control oil and sweat and give the skin a mattified appearance. These will not do anything to actually control sweat, however, they can help you control oiliness and wetness on the face.
- - Botulinum toxin, more commonly known as Botox can help sweating of the face, head, and scalp. The injections block the nerve response for activating your sweat glands in the treatment area.
- - The amount of Botox injections you will need varies from person to person, and generally about 100 to 200 units may be necessary. These injections must be repeated a couple to a few times a year. These will help manage sweating of the head, and help you manage your hair better. These injections are pricey, but it is worth looking into if it can be covered by your insurance.
- - For those who sweat excessively from their face, head, and scalp, as well as other areas, medication is an option. The most commonly used medications for managing excessive sweating are anticholinergics. Because anticholinergic medications work systemically, they cannot target one area of the body, unlike other hyperhidrosis treatments. That means that they decrease sweating and moisture all over the body, even where sweating is not a problem.
- - Some other medications such as beta blockers, often used to treat anxiety, are also sometimes prescribed to manage excessive sweating.
- - These medications are only available by prescription, so discuss with your doctor if this medication may be right for you.
For more information on how to deal with excessive sweating, check out our hyperhidrosis treatment guide.
Putting Your Best Face Forward: Tips on Dealing with Scalp and Facial Sweating
If you haven’t found a treatment that works, or treatment is not suitable or out of reach for you, there are steps that can be taken to manage sweating of the face, head, and scalp! Here are some of our tips:
- - Wear a hat or headband: Wear one of these to limit the amount of sweat running down your face if you struggle with excessive sweating of the scalp. These will absorb sweat, keep your hair in place, prevent sweat from dripping in your face and potentially ruining your makeup. Options include: hats, caps, bandanas, headbands, and scarves. Get creative with it and use it to accessorize your outfit.
- - Use an absorbent powder: If scalp sweating is an issue that often leads you to developing an oily scalp overwashing your hair, try a dry shampoo or absorbent powder. These will help control oil and sweat and leave a fresh, clean scent behind. It will also help you absorb moisture through the day (you can touch up) and leave your hair feeling less greasy.
- - Pick a mattifying gel: If you wear makeup and/or suffer from an oily face, then be sure to prime your face with a mattifying gel or primer. These will help your skincare items and makeup stick to your face better.
- - Carry a towel: Much like those who suffer from sweaty hands or those who spend a lot of time at the gym, carrying a towel can help you absorb excess moisture on the go. A small discreet towel can help you soak up excess sweat and pat yourself dry.
- - Waterproof/water-resistant makeup and sunscreen: Picking waterproof or water-resistant makeup and sunscreen will help product from running down your face. It will also ensure it lasts longer and that makeup doesn’t get in your eyes.
- - Avoid hot and spicy foods: These types of food can trigger a sweating response, particularly from the facial region, so it’s best to avoid them if you’re prone to sweating. Eliminating caffeine and alcohol may also reduce your sweating levels.
- - Use a portable fan: You’ve probably seen them before in the summer/outdoor/pool aisles of your local shops. We recommend picking up a small fan that you can carry with you to cool down on
- - Join a community: Opening up about your struggles with excessive sweating can be helpful, and joining an online community can help you meet others who share your experience, and share tips & tricks with each other. The Dermadry Hyperhidrosis Community is a great place to start, and is a judgment-free zone where you can freely discuss sweat, hyperhidrosis, iontophoresis, and more!
- - Talk to a health professional: If nothing seems to work, and you feel like you’re out of options then it’s time to speak with a professional. By getting to know your personal situation, they may be able to prescribe another treatment that will work for you. Many treatments for craniofacial hyperhidrosis are available only on prescription anyway.
Dealing with craniofacial hyperhidrosis can be especially frustrating when you feel like you’ve tried all the conventional treatment methods without much success. It may take some trial and error, but there are many options available that can help you manage your sweating. For example, combining a treatment like Botox with a facial antiperspirant gel may get you the results you’re looking for. You just need to find a combination of methods that work for you. Also remember that you're not alone—there are millions of people who live with this condition everyday. Get started today by following the tips above!
Do you also sweat from your hands, feet, and underarms?
Those who suffer from craniofacial hyperhidrosis, often also suffer palmar, plantar, and axillary hyperhidrosis, otherwise known as excessive sweating of the hands, feet, and underarms, respectively. These areas can be easier to treat, thanks to iontophoresis treatment. Unfortunately,
If you also suffer from excessive sweating of the hands, feet, and/or underarms, as well as from your face and head, then check out Dermadry’s range of iontophoresis machines below to get your sweating under control in these areas!