Follow Up Request: Excessive Sweating in America

Part
01
of one
Part
01

Total Percentage of Americans Who Sweat Occasionally and in Certain Situations

While there is no pre-existing information to fully answer your question, we have used available data to pull together the following key findings: (a) 63% of adults in the United States experience situation-induced sweating, (b) job-related situations and social situations are among the situations that cause American adults to sweat, (c) there are several ways American adults cope with sweating, but the three most common ways are use of antiperspirant or deodorant, frequent showering, and careful selection of clothes.
Below you will find an outline of our research methodology to better understand why the information you have requested is publicly unavailable, as well as a deep dive into our findings.

METHODOLOGY

Not much has been written about occasional or situational excessive sweating in the past two years as our search through recently published articles and reports on sweating revealed. While it is clear that the percentage of Americans who sweat occasionally or situationally is greater than 5%, recent information indicating the exact value is unavailable. Most articles, reports, and scholarly literature on sweating, such as those published by organizations and researchers in the field of dermatology, focus on hyperhidrosis. Perhaps this is because, unlike occasional or situational excessive sweating, hyperhidrosis is an actual medical condition that "occurs regardless of environmental surroundings."

We typically use materials published in the past two years, but given the limited output of our initial search, we decided to look beyond recently published resources. This workaround led us to a number of surveys from which we were able to gather the following insights. As requested, we followed the format of the response to your question on excessive sweating.

EXTENT OF OCCASIONAL OR SITUATIONAL SWEATING

In 2005, the International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHS) commissioned two polls. The first one was a survey of the general population in North America, while the second one was a survey of hyperhidrosis patients in the region. Of the 1,361 North American adults who participated in the first survey, 1,005 or 74% were from the United States. And of the 769 North American patients who participated in the second survey, 665 or 86% were from the United States.

The answers of survey respondents from the United States revealed that, of American adults, 63% sweat due to job-related situations, while 42% sweat due to social situations. From these figures, it can be approximated that the percentage of American adults who experience occasional or situational sweating is 63%. Given that there were around 249,489,772 adults in the United States in 2016 according to the United States Census Bureau's American Fact Finder, it can be estimated as well that 157,178,556 or 63% of 249,489,772 American adults experience occasional or situational sweating. United States' total population in 2016 was estimated at 323,127,515; however, there are no available statistics on situational sweating among non-adults.

Among job-related situations that induce sweating, the most cited situations were: getting behind schedule for a crucial event (32%), giving a presentation (26%), attending a job interview (21%), requesting for a promotion or a salary raise (9%), submitting a resignation letter (6%), and opening a letter of acceptance or rejection (2%). Among social situations that induce sweating, on the other hand, the most cited situations were: having a quarrel or tackling a tough conversation (27%), being on a first date (10%), preparing a meal for family, in-laws, or friends (5%), and attending a formal or black-tie event (4%).

Apart from these job-related and social situations, several other situations were cited by the respondents. These include: consuming spicy food (32%), speaking in public (28%), obtaining medical test results (13%), test taking (8%), flying (7%), lying (6%), and returning an item bought (3%). There were sweat-inducing people as well; among them were the following: law enforcers (41%), managers, supervisors, or clients (40%), teachers (20%), peers or colleagues (18%), significant other (16%), parents (16%), in-laws (11%), children (9%), and celebrities (9%).

IMPACT on lives

Of the American adults who participated in IHS' first survey, 9% believed they were adversely impacted by their sweating. On the other hand, 19% reported they adversely reacted to an individual who was sweating. Their impression of the said individual was as follows: nervous (66%), overweight (49%), hardworking (42%), worked up (29%), and unwell (25%).

Respondents to the first survey coped with sweating in the following ways: using antiperspirant or deodorant (79%), showering frequently (43%), selecting clothes carefully (31%), steering clear of sweat-inducing situations (17%), keeping a towel handy (13%), holding tissue in hands (10%), seeking medical help (3%), donning makeup (2%), taking over-the-counter medication (2%), and others (3%).

Compared to American hyperhidrosis patients, American adults, in general, were less inclined to think sweating in public is as embarrassing as or more embarrassing than other humiliating situations such as having performance anxiety, burping in front of other people, and having bad breath.

MEN VS. WOMEN

In IHS' first survey, it was found that men were more inclined than women to report they sometimes or always sweat. Seventy percent (70%) of men versus 57% of women reported so. Nevertheless, men were less inclined than women to be embarrassed by sweating.

In North America, women were more inclined than men to say their sweating is caused by social situations. As revealed by the survey, the likelihood was 48% for women versus 37% for men. When it came to receiving attention due to sweating, the likelihood was 12% for men versus 7% for women. There was also a higher inclination among women than among men to cope with sweating by using deodorant (85% versus 73%), choosing clothes carefully (36% versus 27%), and seeking medical help (46% versus 35%).

In 2012, there was a survey by HealthyWomen.org that revealed 69.7% and 68.5% of women experience stress-induced sweating before attending a job interview and before making a presentation at work, respectively.

CONCLUSION

Studies covering the whole American population are unavailable, but surveys of American adults reveal the following key findings about situational sweating: (a) situational sweating is experienced by 63% of adults in the United States, (b) job-related situations and social situations are some examples of sweat-inducing situations, and (c) the use of deodorant or antiperspirant, frequent showering, and the careful selection of clothes are the three most common ways American adults cope with sweating.
Sources
Sources