Do you sweat too much on your face and forehead? Do you feel embarrassed due to drops running down the face and neck? Does facial sweating occur even if you are not doing physical activity? If your answer is yes, you may suffer from craniofacial hyperhidrosis.
This condition is characterized by uncontrolled perspiration on the forehead, cheek, and scalp. It is probably the most bothering sweating because it is not possible to hide it. The sweat coming to eyes can also limit us in many activities. In this article, you will know how and why excessive head sweating arises, and what to do to stop it.
Types of Excessive Sweating
First, let’s talk shortly about excessive sweating in general. All processes in our body need a certain temperature to work properly. If this temperature is exceeded, we need to cool down. The brain sends a signal to sweat glands spread all over the body. They start to produce sweat that comes through skin pores to the skin surface.
Sweat starts to evaporate and our temperature goes down. As you can see, sweat works as a colling fluid for our organism and save us from overheating. That’s why increased perspiration occurs while exercising, manual working, running or in the hot weather. But why some people sweat even they don’t need it for cooling?
There are two types of excessive sweating. Primary hyperhidrosis is a heavy perspiration that occurs without any known reason. Experts believe that the main culprit of overactive sweat glands is genetics. On the other hand, secondary hyperhidrosis is abnormal sweating caused by some other condition, like obesity, pregnancy, or certain diseases like inflammation, diabetes or cancer.
Another typical sign of secondary hyperhidrosis is sweating all around the body that happens at night.
Craniofacial hyperhidrosis belongs to primary hyperhidrosis, which is characterized by sweating in certain parts of the body. Increased perspiration is uncontrollable and occurs mostly during a day. This infographic will help us to better understand the types of hyperhidrosis.
Understanding the type of hyperhidrosis is the first step on how to define a proper treatment. If you sweat profusely on your face, visiting a doctor is the best you can do. He/she will ask you certain questions, looks at your medical history and makes some tests. Based on the results of the examinations, a doctor can recognize if your sweating is caused by some other illness, condition or if it is primary hyperhidrosis. Let’s now look at the signs that indicate craniofacial hyperhidrosis.
Symptoms of Craniofacial Hyperhidrosis
- Uncontrollable sweating in forehead, cheeks, nose, chin, scalp, and neck
- Profuse perspiration happens regardless of temperature and physical activity
- Heavy face sweating started in the childhood or puberty
- Sweating episode occurs at least once a week
- Excessive head sweating is experienced while eating
If you are familiar with these symptoms, you probably have craniofacial hyperhidrosis. Around 22.8% of people with primary hyperhidrosis suffer from craniofacial sweating. Fortunately, these days there are several available treatments able to reduce head sweating. We are going to talk about them later, now we are about to say what causes this condition.
Causes of Craniofacial Hyperhidrosis
You already know that there is no known cause of excessive head sweating. Experts compared the morphology of the sweat glands of people with primary hyperhidrosis with those who sweat normally. They found no difference.
Most patients with craniofacial hyperhidrosis noticed that their parents, brothers or sisters also sweat more than others. This fact shows that genetics plays a certain role in excessive sweating. Positive family history is one of the diagnostics criteria.
Heavy facial sweating can be caused by certain health conditions and diseases. We described them in the article 14 Illnesses and Condition that cause Excessive sweating. In this case, profuse sweating is only a side effect.
If the doctor defines the health reason that causes increased perspiration, he/she should first to set treatment for the condition.
Facial Sweating While Eating
Many people experience heavy face sweating while eating. This phenomenon is also known as Gustatory sweating. Perspiration also can start even when thinking about food or a while after eating. It can be caused by damaged nerves going to the parotid gland (Frey’s syndrome).
Eating spicy food can also increase sweating due to capsaicin. This substance tricks our brain thinks that the body temperature goes up.
Treatments of Excessive Head Sweating
Topical antiperspirants for face
Clinical strength antiperspirants are usually the first option for craniofacial hyperhidrosis. These skin products usually contain 10-15% of aluminum chloride. This astringent narrows skin pores and prevents sweat to get to the skin surface. Antiperspirants for the head are usually in the form of a cream that is easily applicable and absorbs quickly.
Antiperspirants with a higher percentage of active substances are available only with a doctor’s prescription.
A dermatologist can also recommend medicine for hyperhidrosis. Anticholinergics are the most common oral drugs taking for sweat reducing. They block the connection between a chemical messenger and sweat glands what reduce sweating all around the body.
Some Beta-blockers and Alfa-blocker like clonidine are also used for heavy face sweating. You can find more detailed information about this topic in the article Medicine For Hyperhidrosis Overview.
This procedure uses a mild electrical current for treating excessive sweating. Originally, it was used for treating excessive sweating in hands or feet. But these days you can find several iontophoresis devices that contain adapters for head and face. Despite iontophoresis is more time-consuming than other treatments, it has a very effective. Iontophoresis can be applicated by a dermatologist, who can add some chemicals for improving results.
But the great option is to use the iontophoresis device at home. While home treatment, only tap water, and no chemicals are used.
Botulinum toxin is mainly popular due to its usage in aesthetic medicine. But it also belongs to the most effective treatment of excessive sweating. Injections of botox are applicated directly to the affected areas and can stop sweating even for 6 months and more. It is a safe procedure provided by many clinics all around the world. Craniofacial hyperhidrosis can be significantly reduced by using botox.
Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy (ETS) is the last option for heavy sweaters who already tried other treatments without success. Sweat glands removing is an irreversible operation, so it must be seriously considered by an expert. Even though this operation relieves sweating permanently, it can cause several side effects.