Let's Talk About Anxiety Sweat

Sweat stinks! Or does it?

Whether we like it or not, stress is a part of all of our lives. We're living in an unprecedented time marked by uncertainty in the many facets of our lives.

Stress can show up in different ways, depending on how our bodies react. You're probably familiar with the always unwelcome anxiety sweat, but did you know it's different from sweat induced by being active or overheated?

Girls face with sweat

The different kinds of sweat

Let's dive into why that is. Inside the body, there are a number of glands with different functions, but the eccrine and apocrine glands are the ones that produce sweat. The average person has anywhere from 2 to 4 million sweat glands, and the majority are eccrine glands. These glands cover most of the body, but are found in substantial numbers on the palms of our hands, soles of our feet, our forehead and armpits.

Regular sweat

The autonomic nervous system (which regulates a number of bodily functions) signals the eccrine sweat glands to kick in when the body temperature rises from natural environmental factors or physical activity. This type of sweat is mostly made of water, with a small amount of salt and lipids. It’s a natural response to cool the skin and lower body temperature.

Anxiety sweat

When we're stressed, however, the apocrine glands are queued to turn on. These larger glands are found in areas of the body with higher numbers of hair follicles. For example, the underarms secrete approximately 30 times more sweat when under stress than when at rest. Anxiety-related sweat happens when the body perceives a threat and switches into survival mode, aka fight or flight response. The sweat glands are activated by nerves, and in turn, trigger a rush of adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones.
So why does it smell different? Well, anxiety-induced sweat smells funkier than “regular” sweat because the apocrine glands produce a fatty, thick and protein-rich milky substance which, when combined with the natural bacteria on the skin, can create strong body odor.
Friends taking a yoga class

How to manage anxiety sweat

How does one combat the unpleasant world of stress-induced and anxiety-associated B.O.? Here are a couple tips on how to move through a spike in tension or anxiety:

  1. Breathing and meditation
    Taking a mental break from what's causing your stress and take deep breaths. Hold for a few seconds and release. Repeat. Deep breathing slows your heart rate which, in turn, reduces sweating.

  2. Stay hydrated
    If you're hydrated, your body won't feel the need to sweat as much.

  3. Wear breathable clothing
    Opt for natural fabrics like cotton or bamboo, and avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester.

  4. Invest in calming products
    We use essential oils in our products, not only to add a pleasant smell to your odor-eliminating deodorant, but to also relieve stress and tension. A small whiff of your scent of choice can elevate your mood and even bring about a moment of calm, thereby reducing the work of those unhelpful apocrine glands.

    For a powerhouse combination of calm and odor protection, try our CBD line of deodorants enriched with organic hemp. CBD is known for its soothing and calming effects when applied topically.


These are just a few ideas that that we came up with at Humble Brands HQ. How do you combat that pesky anxiety sweat?

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