A girl in a brown jacket looking nervous by a chain link fence

You’re on your way to a first date, a job interview, a big event or presentation. 

And just when you’re trying to appear composed, calm and confident, the dreaded sweaty face, hands and wet armpits make an appearance.

It’s called stress sweating. And of course, it happens at the most inconvenient times.

A man standing outside looking stressed with his hands in his hair

What causes stress sweating?

In a nutshell, our sweat glands. And we’ve got two types: apocrine and eccrine.

When we get stressed, the larger apocrine glands – mainly in the armpits and groin – start producing sweat.

But stressful situations also cause our heart rate to increase, which gets adrenaline flowing around our body. That causes additional sweat from our eccrine glands, which are concentrated in our hands, forehead and feet.

When we get stressed, the larger apocrine glands – mainly in the armpits and groin – start producing sweat.

Does stress sweat smell more?

Eccrine sweat is mainly salt and water. So it has very little odour.


But apocrine sweat has more nutrients in it. That makes it more attractive to the bacteria that live naturally on our skin and feed on our sweat. As a result, stress sweat can smell worse.

woman with eye closed listening to headphones in front of the sea
A can of  Sure deodorant advanced protection on a white background

Is stress sweating affecting you?

Of course, it can be embarrassing. And some people even end up avoiding social or work situations because of it. But there are things you can do to help deal with it.

Try and find ways to stay calm when you think you’re going into a stressful situation. Many people find deep breathing, listening to music or taking a walk in the fresh air can help. Experiment, to find out what works for you.

These tips may also help you deal with some of the causes and symptoms:

Avoid sweat triggers

Spicy food, nicotine and alcohol are all well-known culprits. Caffeine also increases your adrenaline levels, making you more prone to sweat.

Wear clothes that let your skin breathe

Natural fibres like cotton are best.

Try a stronger anti-perspirant

An Advanced Protection product will give you twice the protection of a standard antiperspirant.

Keep some anti-perspirant with you

If you know you’re going to have a particularly stressful day, keep a small can of antiperspirant in your day bag – like Sure Compressed or one of our 35ml travel aerosols.

Carry a pack of tissues

Keep a small pack of tissues handy too, to dry your hands, face or underarms during the day.

Stay hydrated

Always keep a bottle of water with you. If you’re dehydrated, your body will sweat more to try and cool you down.