Clammy Skin

Also known as: excessive sweating, sweaty skin.

What is clammy skin?

Clammy skin simply refers to skin that is wet from sweating. This can happen to most people from time to time and usually isn’t a problem. However, clammy skin that occurs unexpectedly or frequently may be the sign of a medical problem.

What might cause clammy skin?

Clammy skin most commonly occurs when a person gets hot. Sweating is their natural way to regulate heat. If clammy skin is related to a medical condition, it may be one of the following:

Common Causes

More Serious Conditions

How can it be treated?

Most cases of clammy skin do not require medical attention. If clammy skin is not accompanied by any other symptoms, it’s often just a matter of resting, moving someplace cool, drinking water or taking a shower to resolve the symptoms of clammy skin.

If clammy skin is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other symptoms, then it may require medical testing, diagnosis and treatment. Your provider may call for urine, blood, or other lab tests to see if another medical condition is contributing to your clammy skin. There are also sweat tests that help determine the primary areas of sweating and their severity. Another test similar to the sweat test is known as an iodine-starch test.
For severe cases of clammy skin, treatment typically begins with identifying and treating the underlying medical condition. There are also specific treatments available for the excessive sweating itself, including:

  • Prescription antiperspirant, creams and wipes
  • Antidepressants
  • Nerve-blocking medications
  • Botox injections
  • Surgery (in severe instances)

When should you seek medical attention?

If clammy skin is accompanied by rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, weak pulse, altered thinking, vomiting, hives, skin rash, trouble breathing, swelling or loss of consciousness, seek immediate medical attention.

Reviewed by: Ana Margarita Duarte, MD

This page was last updated on: February 07, 2024 04:04 PM

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