how much does an average person sweat a day
Is it normal to sweat a lot? Learn about what can affect your sweat, why we sweat, and how much sweat is too much

While there is a wide range in how much people sweat, in general the average person sweats between 0.5-2 liters an hour during physical activity. But according to some studies, people may lose a minimum of 3 liters a day, even without moving around all that much.

How much you sweat depends on various factors. Learn about what can affect your sweat, why we sweat, and how much sweat is too much.

What factors can influence how much you sweat a day?

Sweat production depends on:

  • Gender: Men sweat more than women due to factors such as a higher body mass index (BMI), muscle mass, and hormones.
  • Environment: You sweat more when you are in a hot, humid climate.
  • BMI: Obese people tend to sweat more than people with a normal BMI.
  • Medications: Certain antidepressants and mood stabilizers often cause increased sweating.
  • Hormonal and metabolic imbalances: Hyperthyroidism, hypoglycemia, anxiety, and menopause can cause an increase in sweat production.
  • Medical conditions: Tuberculosis, stroke, and certain types of blood cancer may also cause excess sweating.

Is it good or bad to sweat a lot?

Sweating is your body’s response to high temperatures. When your temperature rises, your brain signals your sweat glands to release sweat. As sweat evaporates, this creates a cooling effect that lowers the body's internal temperature. So it’s normal to sweat in the hotter months, after exercising, when anxious, when stressed, after eating spicy food, or when you have a fever

Your sweat plays a role in maintaining your skin’s epidermal barrier, delivering moisture and certain antimicrobial peptides from the glands to the surface. Recent studies have suggested that sweat glands produce antimicrobial substances called dermcidin, cathelicidin, and lactoferrin that may defend your body against skin infections.

Moreover, sweating has evolutionary significance. When you are anxious, your body responds with a flight or fight response. For example, your palms may produce sweat, improving your grip in these circumstances. 

So when does sweating too much become a problem?

  • While sweat alone doesn’t have an odor, it can start to smell bad once it lingers on the skin, since bacteria on your skin’s surface can break down the chemicals in your sweat. 
  • Although harmless, hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) can cause embarrassment as it is often associated with social stigmas.
  • Allowing excess sweat to stay on the skin for long periods of time may cause the skin to get infected with bacteria, causing boils and rash.
  • People who sweat excessively are prone to fungal infections of the skin.
  • Excessive sweating may cause loss of water and salts from the body, increasing the risk of dehydration.

QUESTION

Sweat is odorless. See Answer

How to manage excessive sweating

If excess sweating is secondary to infections, hormonal imbalances, or metabolic causes, it’s important to first properly treat the underlying condition. Sweating caused by menopause typically improves with hormonal replacement therapy.

General tips for managing excessive sweating may include:

  • Maintaining healthy weight recommended for your age and height
  • Wearing loose cotton clothing
  • Bathing frequently
  • Using gel-based or oil-free makeup
  • Applying topical creams, sprays, or wipes containing aluminum chloride 

In more severe cases, treatment may include:

  • Iontophoresis, a process in which low-level electric current is used to reduce sweat gland activity
  • Oral medications called anticholinergics
  • Botox injections over the face and scalp
  • MiraDry® system, a noninvasive microwave treatment approved by the FDA in 2011 for excessive armpit sweating
  • Surgery targeting the nerves that control sweat glands

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Medically Reviewed on 8/6/2021
References
A Case-Series Observation of Sweat Rate Variability in Endurance-Trained Athletes: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/13/6/1807

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/sweat

https://www.sweathelp.org/about-hyperhidrosis/physiology-of-normal-sweating.html