Is your skin often wet and sweaty? Clammy skin can be an indication of serious underlying health issues. Excess sweating can be uncomfortable and even embarrassing. This is why it is important to know what is causing your body to sweat more.
The ancient science of Ayurveda offers various powerful herbal remedies that are effective in treating clammy skin. But treatment is more holistic once the root cause is known. So read on to know the various causes of clammy skin and the best natural remedies to treat the condition.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Says
“Hyperhidrosis in Ayurveda is commonly linked to the conditions of pitta prakriti and pitta vikruti.”
- Dr. Zeel Gandhi (Bachelor Of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
What Is Clammy Skin?
Clammy skin literally translates to sweaty skin. Sweating is a thermoregulatory mechanism  employed by your body to maintain optimum body temperature. The stimulation of sweat glands is normally caused by extreme physical activity or exposure to hot weather.
However, if you experience excessive sweating without any of the above-mentioned causes, it might be due to a condition called hyperhidrosis, which may lead to clammy skin.
According to Ayurveda, clammy skin can be caused by an aggravation of the pitta and kapha doshas which regulate body temperature and fluid circulation. This can make you sweat more than your body’s requirement.
There are two types of sweating, controlled by different parts of the brain. One works to regulate body heat, while the other is triggered as an emotional response during pain or anxiety.
What Is Clammy Skin A Symptom Of?
One of the major functions of sweat glands is heat dissipation through the secretion of sweat. This is regulated by the internal body temperature and certain neural signals from the hypothalamic regions of the brain.
However, clammy skin due to excessive sweating without a known cause may indicate a serious health issue. This can be triggered by certain non-thermal modulators of the sweating response such as a disturbance of the baroreceptor reflex (a mechanism that controls arterial blood pressure) or a change in body fluid status.
What Causes Clammy Skin?
The below-mentioned conditions can trigger the sweating response and cause excessive sweating and clammy skin.
In this condition, certain sweat glands display hyperactivity leading to clammy skin usually without a trigger factor such as hot weather. Primary or focal hyperhidrosis  may be caused by an injury of the spinal cord, certain foods or even heredity. Secondary hyperhidrosis, on the other hand, can be a result of various medical conditions.
2. Myocardial Infarction
Cold clammy skin can indicate the onset of myocardial infarction  or heart attack. The sympathetic nervous system stimulated by the pain experienced by the patient, signals the sweat glands through acetylcholine, a chemical messenger.
Thus, profuse sweating along with acute coronary syndrome (when oxygenated blood fails to reach the heart) symptoms such as angina (chest pain), can predict a heart attack in its early hours even before clinical confirmation.
Hypoglycemia  or low blood sugar is a common and dangerous condition that people with diabetes are prone to. Low glucose levels in the blood can cause palpitations and cold clammy skin. Severe hypoglycemia can prove fatal, causing seizures, heart attack and brain death. People on insulin are usually more at risk of this condition.
Cold sweat leading to clammy skin is common when you are anxious or stressed out. Hormonal changes such as a rise in adrenaline and cortisol levels can stimulate your apocrine glands into secreting sweat.
According to studies, ‘stress sweat’ is more dense as it is made of fatty acids and proteins. Unlike your normal sweat, cold sweat does not have an odor and takes more time to evaporate from the skin’s surface.
Your thyroid gland secretes an important hormone known as the thyroid hormone which regulates various body functions. Hyperthyroidism occurs when this gland secretes excess thyroid hormone, causing bodily dysfunctions like weight gain, low energy levels, mood swings, menstrual irregularities etc.
One of the major changes that happen with hyperthyroidism is increased sensitivity to heat and hot weather. Thus, this condition can cause you to experience profuse sweating and clammy skin.
Menopause  is that phase of a woman’s life when her menstrual periods stop. The pre-menopausal phase and the first 2 years of menopause can be quite difficult due to hormonal fluctuations.
With a decrease of estrogen levels, one experiences frequent hot flashes. During these hot flashes, one’s temperature and heartbeat may rise, causing excess sweating and clammy skin. One can even experience a hot flash during sleep and wake up with cold and clammy skin.
Neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s  disease, an injury of the spinal cord can cause generalized hyperhidrosis. In Parkinson’s disease, the nervous system that regulates sweating is affected. This leads to excess sweating, even during night hours, resulting in clammy skin.
Viral and bacterial infections often cause excess sweating. Cold clammy skin from night sweats are common in viral and bacterial infections such as tuberculosis, HIV, infective endocarditis and infections of the bone.
9. Acid Reflux And Flatulence
Conditions such as oesophagitis, acid refluxes and flatulence can cause one to break into cold sweats resulting in clammy skin. Some women also experience clammy skin and dizziness during menstruation due to bloating, caused by estrogen fluctuations.
10. Withdrawal Symptoms
Breaking habits can be difficult especially if your body has been exposed to certain substances for a long time. Heavy drinkers may experience anxiety and clammy skin as part of their withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit alcohol.
11. Drug Side Effects
Certain medications such as antidepressants, paracetamols, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin can cause hyperhidrosis and clammy skin.
Fever-reducing medicines have a vasodilating effect to reduce body temperature which in turn causes excess sweating. However, apart from these, if you experience clammy skin from other drugs, it is better to consult your doctor for a change of medication.
Certain malignancies such as cancer of the lymphatic system (lymphoma) and leukemia can cause clammy skin from night sweats and fevers. Thus it is advisable to check for these malignancies if you experience sudden changes in the body such as extreme fatigue, weight loss and excessive sweating.
Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix, says, “Hyperhidrosis in Ayurveda is commonly linked to the conditions of pitta prakriti and pitta vikruti. Pitta is hot in nature. Individuals who are endowed with pitta prakriti experience more sweating to keep their system cool.”
She further adds, “Pitta disorders like Murccha (fainting), anxiety, stress and anger can trigger perspiration. Use of hot spices like chillies, garlic, and onion can all lead to perspiration disorders. Medasvi or obese individuals experience hyperhidrosis. The folds of skin of obese individuals can prevent the drying of sweat and lead to chafing and malodor.”
Exertion can also lead to sweating, she says. Ayurveda recommends exercising daily only till you observe the first beads of perspiration on your forehead.
Clammy Skin Symptoms
Clammy skin symptoms include:
1. Cold sweats
3. Skin irritation
4. Skin infection
The following are symptoms that may accompany cool and clammy skin. These are often an indication of some underlying condition:
4. Difficulty in breathing
What Are The Potential Complications Of Clammy Skin?
1. Social Discomfort
Excess perspiration, clammy skin and sweat soaked clothes can be uncomfortable. Excess sweat is also responsible for body odor. Hence, this may affect your social life and confidence levels.
Clammy skin from excessive sweating can make you lose essential water and electrolytes. If not replenished, you may experience weakness.
Hyperhidrosis and clammy skin may increase the chances of skin infection.
How To Get Rid Of Clammy Skin?
A. Home Remedies
Tea, both black and green, has astringent qualities that may help clammy skin conditions. Further, antioxidants known as flavonoids in tea help detoxify your body and maintain skin health.
Applying sage oil (diluted with a carrier oil) on the areas experiencing clammy skin can help prevent over secretion of sweat. Sage  is known for its anti-fungal and astringent properties and acts as a natural antiperspirant. The herb can also be consumed as herbal tea to treat clammy skin.
3. St John’s Wort
If you are experiencing clammy skin from menopausal hot flashes, neurological disorders or anxiety, St John’s wort  is the perfect remedy for you. This powerful antidepressant is also known for its antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It serves as an excellent treatment for various conditions that can cause excess sweating and clammy skin.
4. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel can serve as an effective remedy for clammy skin owing to its powerful astringent properties. This herb has been in use since ancient times for its ability to treat various skin conditions, wounds, inflammations and bleeding disorders.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can be used as a natural antiperspirant as it can help regulate excess sweating. Applying a few drops of apple cider vinegar on your clammy skin can keep the affected areas dry and odor-free. You can also include 2 tablespoons of this astringent agent in your daily diet for treating your clammy skin.
Vedix Tip: Apart from remedies, consuming astringent foods and limiting oily, spicy and sugary foods can help control clammy skin.
B. Ayurvedic Medicine
Ayurveda advises the use of kaphahara (kapha balancing) herbs that aid sweat regulation and keep your skin dry.
Triphala  consists of three powerful therapeutic herbs- Amalaki, Bibhitaki and Haritaki. All these herbs are excellent kapha pacifiers and can help treat clammy skin. Further, triphala’s antimicrobial and antioxidant properties keep your body free from infections, treat abdominal conditions, detoxify blood and improve digestion.
Japa or hibiscus is another herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to reduce excess kapha in the body. Hibiscus’s astringent properties help prevent clammy skin. Anthocyanins, a type of antioxidants, essential amino acids and saponins in this herb help cleanse your skin, enhance texture and also improve cardiac health.
Punarnava is a significant anti-inflammatory, kapha-balancing herb extensively used in Ayurveda. Its light, astringent properties can help treat cold clammy skin and keep skin inflammations at bay. The two varieties of this herb also help treat abdominal dysfunctions, liver disorders, cardiac disorders and body pain.
The use of lotus to improve skin conditions has been mentioned in the ancient texts of Ayurveda. With an astringent or ‘kashaya’ taste, this herb helps treat various kapha disorders such as clammy skin and excessive sweating. Lotus also helps improve skin complexion, treat bleeding disorders, fatigue and neurological conditions.
Chitrak, also known as wild leadwort, is known for its varied health benefits. Due to its hot potency, chitrak helps balance kapha dosha and can be used to treat clammy skin. It also enhances digestion and cleanses your body of ama toxins that can affect kapha levels in your body. Chitrak also helps treat abdominal pain, inflammatory conditions and improve heart, liver and brain functions.
Clammy skin conditions occurring from hormonal imbalances are best treated with ashwagandha . This age-old miracle herb balances all three doshas and especially kapha dosha. With powerful antioxidant qualities, it helps improve skin health, reduce anxiety and build immunity against various infections and diseases.
When To See A Doctor About Clammy Skin?
If you experience clammy skin coupled with other symptoms like chest pain and weight loss, it is advisable to consult your doctor to check for underlying health conditions. Sometimes clammy skin can happen for no apparent reason and can be controlled by the treatments mentioned in the article.
The Last Word
Ayurveda offers a range of holistic treatments that can help you manage clammy skin. However, since clammy skin is often a symptom and not the main condition itself, it is important to consult your Ayurvedic doctor to understand your prakriti and dosha fluctuations. This will help you to chalk the treatment plan as per your skin’s needs.Know Your Dosha Now
1. Mechanisms And Controllers Of Eccrine Sweating In Humans, 2010 Jan
2. Hyperhidrosis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment And Lifestyle Changes, 2020
3. Sweating: A Specific Predictor Of ST-Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction Among The Symptoms Of Acute Coronary Syndrome: Sweating In Myocardial Infarction (SWIMI) Study Group, 2015 Dec
4. Hypoglycaemia (Low Blood Sugar) In People Without Diabetes, March 2020
5. Introduction To Menopause
6. Skin And Sweating Problem, July 2019
7. Natural Remedies
8. St. John’s Wort Information
9. Therapeutic Uses Of Triphala In Ayurvedic Medicine, 2017, Aug
10. An Overview On Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator), 2011, Jul
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