How To Deal With Sweat In The Summer
Summer is fast-approaching, and no matter what your plans are this summer, you can stay sweat-free. For those who sweat excessively, summer is the most dreaded season of the year, as it can feel impossible to keep sweating under control due to rising temperatures, humidity, and heat waves.
There are some ways you can keep sweating to a minimum this summer, including making minor changes and swaps in your daily life, to seeking out new targeted treatments for excessive sweating. We’ve put together some tips below that can help you feel your best all summer long and beyond.
Do you sweat a lot, especially in situations that don’t call for it? Is it affecting your everyday life in some way or another? You may suffer from hyperhidrosis, a common medical condition characterized by excessive sweating. Those who suffer from hyperhidrosis will sweat 4-5 times as much as the average person, and in excess of what is needed for thermoregulation (body temperature regulation). If you’re constantly sweating, no matter the season and for no particular reason, then you are likely one of the 365 million+ people who suffer from the condition worldwide.
Primary hyperhidrosis generally affects the hands, feet, and underarms, and sometimes the craniofacial region. There is no known cause, and it is not a dangerous condition, but it is linked to higher rates of stress, anxiety, and depression, and can negatively affect quality of life. Understanding that your excessive sweating may be the result of a medical condition will expand treatment options for you. Traditional deodorants and antiperspirants are generally ineffective for those who sweat excessively, and it may be frustrating to try all types of antiperspirants with no luck. Realizing you have hyperhidrosis may help you realize that there are other, more targeted and effective treatments available. This is the first step to getting your sweating under control.
If you have sudden onset full-body excessive sweating (not related to rising temperatures) then it may be secondary hyperhidrosis. This is linked to an underlying condition or can be a side-effect of a medication you are taking. In this case, we suggest talking to your healthcare professional to address the underlying cause.
Check out this page to learn more about hyperhidrosis and our hyperhidrosis FAQ!
Deodorant Vs. Antiperspirant
If you’ve ever searched “antiperspirant vs. deodorant”, you’re not alone as they are often used interchangeably, which can lead to confusion. They are not the same, however, they target related but totally different needs.
Deodorants: These make you smell good, and deodorize you. Deodorants will not do anything to lessen or inhibit sweat production, their purpose is to keep you fresh and prevent unwanted odours.
Antiperspirants: These are what you’re looking for if you want to reduce sweating. Antiperspirants come in different formats (sticks, roll-ons, creams, wipes, etc) and different concentrations (generally 15-20% aluminum—the highest concentration allowed to be sold over the counter). There are also prescription-only antiperspirants which have a higher concentration of the active ingredient that keeps you dry.
Find the Deodorant that Works For You
While deodorants won’t help you reduce sweating, they are important for odour control, which often goes hand in hand with sweat. While sweat is odourless, sweat can smell due to the bacteria it encounters on your skin. In addition to practicing good hygiene, deodorant can help you feel and stay fresh all day. Many regular over-the-counter antiperspirants are also deodorants (think of them as a 2-in-1). Many deodorants have strong fragrances (many options to choose from) but for those with sensitive noses and skin, odourless deodorants are also an option. Powders, creams, wipes, and perfumes are also options for those seeking to apply deodorants on theri full body, or areas other than the underarms, which traditional deodorants are designed for.
You can even make your own deodorant with things you can find in your kitchen. These items include baking soda, lemon, and essential oils. Get creative! No matter what type of deodorant you choose, be sure to reapply during the day, especially those extremely hot summer days.
Rethink Your Antiperspirant
Antiperspirants are not all the same. There are different concentrations and active ingredients, and the strongest ones require a prescription. No matter what antiperspirant you use, be sure to apply it properly according to the direction label, which often require nighttime application.
However, a hyperhidrosis sufferer will be the first to tell you that generally, traditional antiperspirants are just not strong enough and don’t last long enough.
If your antiperspirant is not working for you, the International Hyperhidrosis Society recommends trying iontophoresis as the next line of treatment, for those seeking long-lasting treatment and effectiveness that traditional antiperspirants can’t provide.
Consider Dietary Changes
What you eat and drink can have an effect on your body, both in terms of odour and sweat. If you’re looking to reduce odor (bromhidrosis), stay away from odor-causing foods such as onions, garlic, and meat. If you’re looking for ways to reduce sweating, stay away from known triggers such as caffeine, alcohol, and heavily-processed foods that require a lot of energy for your body to break down.
Summer is a great time to incorporate cold, refreshing foods and beverages into your diet. Include water-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables in your diet, to supplement your daily water intake. Not only will this help you stay hydrated, but some vitamins and nutrients found in fruits and vegetables could potentially help reduce sweating, though there is no scientific evidence proving that.
Cold, refreshing foods will also help lower and maintain your body temperature, and prevent you from overheating and producing more sweat. In addition to proper hydration, this can lower your risk of heat rash.
Ditch the Caffeine
This can be difficult to do, especially for those of us who love and rely on our daily dose of caffeine, but caffeine is a known trigger for sweating. Try swapping caffeinated drinks for cold and refreshing fruit-based drinks, like smoothies or juices.
If you know you’ll have a long day out in the sun and heat, plan accordingly. Similarly to how you would pack for a day at the beach, think of the essentials you need at your side to help keep you cool and your sweating at bay. Bring a little backpack with necessities such as water, towels, mists, a portable fan, deodorant, and a change of clothes. Adapt your travel bag to include products that address your specific needs. This is key in helping you feel your best and most comfortable throughout the day.
For those with limited time or with limited space in their bag, we recommend at least bringing a reusable water bottle, a mini portable fan, and some deodorizing wipes.
Keep Your Cool
Moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics are your friends! Whether it’s daytime or nighttime attire, or even bedsheets, invest in something that will help you keep cool and keep sweat at bay.
For the daytime, opt for big breathable hats that help shield the sun, and loose, flowy clothing made of natural materials such as cotton. For active periods, opt for moisture-wicking athleticwear and breathable shoes.
There’s a myth that if you want to sweat less, you should drink less so that your body produces less sweat. This is completely untrue, and can even be dangerous. It’s crucial that you stay hydrated, especially during the warmer months. For hyperhidrosis sufferers, it’s especially important to stay hydrated, as your body produces a lot more sweat than the average person. A bonus is that by staying hydrated, you’ll actually sweat less because water cools your body down and adequate hydration enables your body to regulate body temperature more effectively.
Protect Your Skin
It’s crucial to reapply sunscreen regularly, especially when spending large amounts of time outdoors in the blaring sun. If you suffer from hyperhidrosis, you’ll be sweating off your sunscreen even faster than the average person, so it’s important that you stay protected and reply as frequently as possible.
Opt for a water-resistant, often labeled “sport” sunscreen, which is designed to provide better protection for active types who generally sweat more. These generally remain effective in water for 40-80 minutes, but no sunscreen is truly waterproof. Reapplication is key in preventing sunburn and protecting your skin, especially when you are sweating profusely.
Sweat-Proof Your Look
Accessorize your look with some sweat-proof accessories and products. Sweat bands, hats, sweat-proof undershirts, and odour-absorbing insoles are just some of ways you can sweat-proof your look without compromising on style. Check out our full list on how to sweat-proof your wardrobe!
Staying in sweaty clothes and shoes all day is not just uncomfortable, but can irritate the skin and even lead to infections. Trapped sweat in clothing can also lead to unwanted body odour, especially when it remains on the clothing for extended periods of time. Sometimes there’s just no preventing or stopping sweat (nor sweat stains) so it’s best to be equipped with a change of clothing and/or shoes to keep you feeling and smelling fresh all day.
We also suggest that you wash sweat-drenched clothes as soon as possible, as to not let the sweat and bacteria linger and lead to odours that don’t go away even after washing.
Sweaty feet are one of the leading causes of foot infections in particular, such as athlete’s foot and ingrown toenails. Therefore, it’s important to try to stay as dry as possible, whether that’s finding breathable footwear, wearing moisture-wicking socks, or applying specially formulated antiperspirants or powders.
Opt for the Right Fabrics
Your clothing and footwear can make all the difference in feeling fresh and comfortable all day. Natural fabrics such as cotton and bamboo are the preferred types of fabrics that allow sweat to be absorbed and therefore kept away from the body. Synthetic fabrics cause moisture to be trapped under the clothing, as they don’t have the same absorbent properties. So when you’re out buying new clothing, pay attention to the composition tag or look out for words such as “moisture-wicking”, “breathable”, and “100% cotton”.
Bonus tip: stay away from dark colours, and opt for lighter colours to keep the heat away (dark colours absorb sunlight).
Try a Different Treatment
If you’re really struggling to keep your sweating under control (in the summer months, and beyond), and it’s affecting your day to day life, then it may be time to seek alternative treatment.
Antiperspirants are the first-line treatment for excessive sweating, but so many options exist! If you think you suffer from hyperhidrosis, we recommend talking to a healthcare professional, to rule out potential causes of secondary hyperhidrosis. We also recommend you do your own research to find a treatment that works for you. Some treatments that exist are botulinum toxin (Botox) injections, microwave thermolysis, prescription oral and topical medications, and iontophoresis.
Iontophoresis is the best choice for those seeking non-invasive, needle-free, and drug-free treatment that can provide lasting results. It is an all-natural treatment option that provides long-lasting dryness—up to 6 weeks at a time. If you’re ready to ditch your ineffective antiperspirant and go electric, check out our iontophoresis FAQ here and Dermadry’s iontophoresis machine range below.
Want some more tips for a sweat-free summer? Check out our expanded Sweat-Free Summer Survival Guide here and our self-care guide for hyperhidrosis sufferers here. Tell us your go-to tip for staying dry in the summer below!