This article will present some ways to get rid of sweating hands while playing guitar.
One of the worst problems that guitarists suffer from is sweating hands. That’s because excessive hand-perspiration usually leads to a large decrease in the level of a performance. Since the frustration due to this sort of problem discourages many players, one might ask if there’s a way to solve it.
But how do I keep my hands from sweating while playing guitar?
There are various ways to decrease sweating, and one doesn’t necessarily exclude the others. In other words, you may follow two or more simultaneously without any problem. This text will list some of these solutions, leaving you the freedom to choose which one(s) to use.
But first, it is important to say that, although you may choose which one to follow, they may differ in intensity and efficiency. While one may be efficient to a person, to the other it may be unuseful, etc. Apart from that, most of them don’t claim to solve the problem completely, only diminishing the sweating to a more comfortable level.
Now let’s start the list.
1) Wash your hands with soapy water
We all know that washing hands with soapy water is a standard practice to remove grease, but is it effective to stop sweating? The answer is yes. You just need to wash your hands and then keep handling water for 5 to 10 minutes. Doing so, you’ll decrease the perspiration for at least some hours.
Following this practice, you will see that your hands will be much drier. And if that bothers you much, just apply a little lotion and it will become easier to play.
Although this technique may sound weird, it generally works well if you repeat it regularly. So wash your hands frequently!
2) Absorbent towels
As its name suggests, absorbent towels will function as a relief for high sweating levels. That’s especially the case if you’re going to play live, since the anxiety usually complicates the problem. Having a towel with you certainly helps when the perspiration is impossible to tolerate.
Although it may seem a little difficult to have a towel with you during a concert, there are still some ways. You can either put it close to where you are or hidden in your pockets. That makes it fast to use it when necessary.
3) Baby powder/Climbing Chalk
These are two similar solutions. The baby powder has a health reason, serving to absorb moisture well and cutting down friction. The climbing chalk increases friction between hand and hold (in the sport’s context). Although made for different reasons, both are useful to maintain the hand’s dryness.
Below, you can see some of the specific characteristics of each one:
- Climbing chalk
- It’s a cheap product that comes in huge quantities. Since it decreases friction (that’s its purpose), that may lead to some playing difficulties. It’s worth a try, anyway.
- Baby powder
- This is a more expensive product, which usually comes in smaller amounts. The excess of friction isn’t a problem here, since it’s made to decrease it.
4) Hand sanitizer/Rubbing alcohol
These are products that we all got used to in the pandemic, the only new thing to us is that they can also be used against sweating. Since alcohol is astringent, it will decrease the perspiration, but temporarily. In other words, it doesn’t offer a definitive solution to the problem, but a momentary relief.
Keep in mind that the frequent use of the rubbing alcohol may overdry your hands. And as we’ve said before, dry hands may also lead to difficulties in playing the guitar.
Yes, the same antiperspirants that you use under your arms can also be used on your hands. Although it isn’t made for that, it can also contribute to a temporary relief, being extremely useful to use before a live concert, or even before a guitar lesson, for example.
You must be sure that the product you buy is actually an antiperspirant. That’s because most people confuse perspirants with anti-odor products, which can’t solve the problem. The best choice is to buy an odorless antiperspirant and apply it some minutes before playing.
6) Avoid sweat-inducing foods
Some types of food contribute to an increase in sweating. That’s especially the case for salty foods, since your body sweats as a way to get rid of the excess of sodium. Apart from that, alcoholic beverages and spicy food also contribute a lot to sweating, for the same reason as the salty ones.
Keep in mind that almost all “excessive foods” will lead to an increase in sweating. If there’s much of this or that, the body will probably have to eliminate it by the urine and perspiration. So keep this advice: get accustomed to eating lighter food.
7) Go to a doctor
If you’ve already tried these solutions and none of them works or is sufficient, you may have hyperhidrosis. This is a medical condition characterized by excessive perspiration, especially in the hands and feet, usually being caused by stress or genetic factors.
Keep in mind that, in any case, the doctor will probably prescribe a specific strength antiperspirant, creams, antidepressants, etc. The prescription will always depend on the specific case, intensity, and causes. Don’t think twice and go to a doctor if you suspect having this problem.
In this article, you’ve learned some ways to get rid of sweating hands while playing guitar. In general, remember to observe in which conditions the perspiration gets worse. Does it get worse while playing live? When it is hot? Knowing that will help you choose the solutions that will fit you better.
Although some sweating is normal and can be solved using home techniques, it may not be sufficient if you have hyperhidrosis. In this case, it can only be treated using specific medicines prescribed by a doctor, or even by surgery, in extreme cases.
I hope this article was useful and see you next time!
Luiz Hauck is a composer, guitarist and music teacher based in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Being in the final phase of the bachelor’s degree in musical composition, from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, his artistic work concerns mainly concert music, which is his main interest.