With the recent heat wave hitting us hard, there has been one issue that affects everyone during exercise and sometimes throughout an entire day.
Sweating can either be the sign of a good workout or a nuisance at work and in social situations. Our body sweats when water is expelled out of our sweat glands under the skin and naturally cools our body down when the moisture evaporates. Sometimes though sweating can be quite embarrassing if we start sweating too much in public, or even sweat in parts of our body that aren’t normal (a condition called hyperhidrosis).
There are a few ways you can limit the amount of sweat produced outside of a workout to spare you any kind of unwanted pit stains or body odors – just keep reading to find out.
When Excessive Sweating Becomes A Problem
We’ve all been there, an hour after a hard workout and shower to no avail,
running late to dinner and working up a sweat, the A/C is shut off at your office with no circulation, or countless other scenarios that leave you catching up on your sweat for way too long after you get to where you’re going and not even moving.
Especially now in the summer, simply walking for a short period of time in more than one layer of clothing can lead to a dripping forehead and underarm stains for some.
There are a few ways you can combat inconvenient sweat at its source though:
It might sound obvious, but while deodorant is all well and good for preventing B.O. it will do nothing to stop the amount you sweat.
This is where antiperspirant comes in (the name literally meaning the opposite of perspiration), and it has two uses.
Besides just stopping you from smelling it actually blocks your sweat pores from letting any sweat out in the first place. This happens because antiperspirants contain aluminum salts that clog the pores, blocking sweating at its source under the skin.
While these salts have not been shown to be harmful in small quantities, it is still important to keep in mind that they are blocking a natural process in the body that is used prevent us from overheating, so you don’t need a thick layer when you apply it.
2. Be cautious of foods or drinks that contribute to excess sweat
It might be a no brainer, but spicy and hot foods in general will raise your core temperature and cause you to sweat more to help you cool down.
In particular, capsaicin, usually found in chili peppers and its derivatives will interact with your mucous membranes to create a burning sensation in your mouth that mimics a hot environment which triggers your body to sweat significantly.
Another consumable that might cause us to sweat more than usual is hot coffee or tea. Besides its temperature alone, the caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that will raise your heart rate, blood pressure, and cause you to sweat more.
3. Know your fabrics
What you wear will have a big impact on how much you sweat. Some fabrics such as silk or rayon/viscose are water repelling fabrics that are great for a suit that cant get wet, but not for wicking away excess sweat and letting your skin breathe.
For those who can get away with wearing one layer at work, a nylon or polyester material would be perfect for lowering the amount you sweat throughout the day. These light and breathable fabrics help the sweat move through little holes in the material to the outside of the shirt and away from your body, cooling you off and keeping you dry.
Beware though, as wearing a shirt that has wicking properties underneath another layer completely defeats the purpose. In this situation, a shirt that can absorb as much sweat as possible (such as a cotton shirt) to prevent most of the stains on the outer layer is the best option.
4. Find other ways to stay cool
In a hot environment where you can’t control what you wear, you can resort to changing aspects in your environment to cool you down and prevent excess sweating.
Starting the morning with a cold shower (especially after a morning workout that raises your body temperature) is very effective at lowering your core temperature back to where it needs to be to limit excess sweating. Sticking to ice cold beverages whether it be iced coffee/tea, smoothies, lemonade, etc., will also help fight your body’s need to release heat through sweat.
Opening more windows in your house or office when air conditioning isn’t an option will also calm your heart rate and make you more comfortable. You can also invest in a fan for your office or for around the house, as simply feeling the breeze will be tremendously helpful for tricking your body into cooling down and sweating less.
5. Consider specialist treatment
If you have tried everything you can think of to cool yourself down and try to absorb excess sweat but are still suffering from a perspiration problem, there are dermatologists that specialize in helping us.
They can prescribe prescription strength antiperspirant, medication called anticholinergics, and even surgery or other non-invasive procedures. Of course these solutions should not be considered until all other treatment options have been exhausted, but they do exist and have been shown to help hyperhidrosis at various stages of severity, so all hope is not lost.
Take Home Message
Sweating excessively can be embarrassing and hinder our social life to a certain degree, but it doesn’t have to.
For most of us, simply changing from deodorant to antiperspirant or swapping out hot coffee to iced coffee will be enough to fix the problem, while others might need to also start wearing more breathable fabrics as well as taking cold showers.
Even in the worst case scenario there are medications and even botox surgeries to plug your sweat glands (although hopefully it won’t come to that for a lot of us). No matter the severity of your sweating, there is a fix out there for you.