Excessive Head Sweating
Excessive head sweating is typically, but not always, seen in concurrence with excessive facial sweating. Regardless of whether it is the head and face or simply the head alone that sweat abnormally, excessive head sweating can be embarrassing and wearisome to live with. The medical term for abnormal sweating of the head is cranial hyperhidrosis and I will discuss this type of localized hyperhidrosis in more detail on this page.
The most common symptoms of cranial hyperhidrosis are oily, wet and straggly hair that may smell (more so if it has been a long time since it was last washed) and occasionally the sweat can also run down the face. Additionally, it can become very difficult to dry your hair after showering or bathing due to the excessive sweat and styling your hear will also feel like an impossible task.
This can create the appearance of being untidy and unprofessional and therefore can significantly impact your life especially you are trying to maintain a professional appearance in the work environment or even in social circumstances. In some instances the scalp may become irritated, red and itchy and you may need to seek professional advice and use specialist shampoo or other treatments to eliminate this.
Unfortunately those that suffer from excessive head sweating will have a harder time hiding /concealing the problem than those who suffer from other types of localised hyperhidrosis such as sweaty feet or sweaty armpits. The use of caps or hats may help conceal the problem to some extent but obviously it is not always possible to wear these, especially in a professional environment such as at work or in a meeting. Additionally, in the hot summer months, the wearing of a cap or hat will be impractical.
What Causes Excessive Head Sweating?
Although the exact cause of cranial hyperhidrosis is not fully understood it is widely accepted that over-activity of the sympathetic nervous system causes excessive sweating. In the case of excessive head sweating the over-activity of the nervous system would be localized purely to the head and/or face region and this explains why you may have excessive sweat here and nowhere else in the body. In addition to this, if you are prone to suffering from anxiety or stress this can also make the sweating become worse and more information can be found about this here.
Unlike other forms of localized hyperhidrosis, cranial sweating can indicate the presence of an underlying medical condition in a limited number of cases. Examples of such conditions may be heart failure, Parkinson’s, stroke or even Diabetes. Although this is unlikely and without meaning to cause alarm it is wise to consult your doctor about your excessive head sweating just to be on the safe side and rule out the possibility of these conditions being present.
Unfortunately most conventional methods of treating hyperhidrosis such as antiperspirants or powders such as talcum powder/baking soda are unsuccessful for head sweating simply due to the fact that you have hair which can affect the efficiency of these powders.
Keeping your hair shorter or shaving your head may help with this issue, but of course this is a lot easier for men than women who may not want to maintain a short hair style. There are a range of specialist shampoos available which are designed to minimize scalp irritation, keep hair clean, fresh and free of odours and this may also help to reduce sweating. You may wish to consult with a pharmacist about this before purchasing a shampoo.
As discussed on the ‘how to stop facial sweating’ page, there are certain foods, and in particular spicy foods, that can exacerbate both facial and head sweating and these should be avoided if they are known to make you sweat more. Additionally try to ensure it you keep your body temperature cool and minimize stress or anxiety. It is also wise to ensure you have a handkerchief or sweat towel with you at all times to wipe your face if needs be, especially if you find the sweat tends to run down your face.
You should now have a greater understanding about excessive head sweating including the causes and symptoms and some background information about the various treatment options available. As mentioned above, please consult with your physician if there is anything you are unsure about and before attempting any home treatments.