What causes lack of sweating on one side of the face and what should I do about it?

Symptom Database

Facial sweating is a natural bodily function that helps regulate body temperature and keep the skin moisturized. However, some individuals may experience a lack of sweating on one side of their face, which can be concerning and may indicate an underlying health issue. In this article, we will explore the possible causes of unilateral facial sweating and discuss what you can do about it.

What Causes Lack of Sweating on One Side of the Face?

Unilateral facial sweating, or lack of sweating on one side of the face, can be attributed to various factors. Understanding these causes can help you determine the appropriate course of action to address the issue. Here are some potential reasons for this asymmetry:

1. Nerve Damage

Nerve damage, particularly to the facial nerves, can disrupt the normal functioning of sweat glands on one side of the face. This can result from conditions such as Bell’s palsy, a condition that causes temporary paralysis of the facial muscles. In such cases, the lack of sweating is often accompanied by other symptoms like facial weakness or drooping.

2. Sympathetic Nervous System Dysfunction

The sympathetic nervous system plays a crucial role in regulating sweating. Dysfunction in this system can lead to unilateral facial sweating. Conditions like Horner’s syndrome, which affects the sympathetic nerves in the face, can cause decreased sweating on one side of the face along with other symptoms like drooping eyelids and constricted pupils.

3. Medications

Some medications, such as anticholinergic drugs, can interfere with the normal sweating process. These medications work by blocking the action of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in sweat production. If you are taking any medications and notice a lack of sweating on one side of your face, consult your healthcare provider to determine if the medication could be the cause.

4. Skin Conditions

Certain skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, can affect the sweat glands and disrupt their functioning. This can result in uneven sweating on the face. If you have a known skin condition and experience unilateral facial sweating, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist for proper evaluation and management.

What Should I Do About It?

If you are experiencing a lack of sweating on one side of your face, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Medical Evaluation

Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or a dermatologist to discuss your symptoms and undergo a thorough evaluation. They will review your medical history, perform a physical examination, and may order additional tests to determine the underlying cause of the unilateral facial sweating.

2. Treat the Underlying Cause

The treatment for lack of sweating on one side of the face depends on the underlying cause. If nerve damage is the culprit, your healthcare provider may recommend physical therapy or medications to help restore nerve function. In cases where medication is causing the issue, they may adjust your dosage or switch to an alternative medication.

3. Manage Symptoms

While addressing the underlying cause is crucial, managing the symptoms can provide relief and improve your quality of life. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Keep the affected side of your face moisturized using a gentle, non-comedogenic moisturizer.
  • Avoid exposure to extreme temperatures or direct sunlight, as it can worsen the lack of sweating.
  • Use a fan or air conditioning to keep cool during hot weather.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of water throughout the day.
  • Consider using a facial mist or hydrating spray to provide temporary relief.

It is important to note that the effectiveness of these management strategies may vary depending on the underlying cause and individual circumstances. Therefore, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.


Lack of sweating on one side of the face, also known as unilateral facial sweating, can be a cause for concern. It may indicate underlying nerve damage, dysfunction in the sympathetic nervous system, medication side effects, or skin conditions. If you experience this symptom, it is important to seek medical evaluation to determine the cause and appropriate treatment. Managing the symptoms through moisturization, temperature control, and hydration can provide temporary relief. Remember, consulting with a healthcare professional is essential for an accurate diagnosis and personalized guidance.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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