How do I keep from sweating so darn much?!
May 20, 2011 4:44 PM   Subscribe

Heat and I don't get along. I will be at an outdoor outing tomorrow where it will be 90 degrees and sunny. I would really like to try my best to avoid looking like an infected crew member of Bowie Base One.

I know I need to drink water to stay hydrated, take it easy/slow, seek out shade, etc. I'm primarily looking for any road-tested special tricks from fellow leaky MeFites. Thanks!!
posted by sleepykitties to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Hat and sunglasses. Light, airy clothing covering as much skin as possible. Stay hydrated, but also maintain electrolyte balance. If you are sweatting buckets, eat some potato chips.
posted by gjc at 4:46 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

I always take a very very light wrap, shawl, small thin blanket, piece of sheet or fabric, *something* so I can make shade when I can't find shade. It's best if it's something you can get wet if you need to. Also, I take a tiny umbrella. Far cooler than wearing a hat, but obviously you can't use it sitting in bleachers or in a tight crowd.

Right now my favorite sunscreen is Neutrogena Sheer Liquid. Take the bottle with you and reapply (which is easy because it sits so lightly on the skin, so you won't get old sunscreen turning flaky and gunky every time you reapply).
posted by Lyn Never at 5:00 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Electrolytes. You can mix up lemon+honey+salt+water or buy electrolyte mix or coconut water or gatorade. This is why gjc recommends potato chips. Electrolytes go a long way past water in making you *feel* hydrated. I think dried dates do it, too. Someone on Metafilter (I think) once said that having a healthy diet does this, too, but it sure helps me.

Wear light-yet-protective clothing. Bonus points for polarized sunglasses.
posted by aniola at 5:02 PM on May 20, 2011

Best answer: Having recently moved to Palm Springs, I feel your pain. For me it's the direct sun beating down that's the worst. So in addition to the usual sunscreen/sunglasses/big shady hat/light clothing/water thing, what's made the biggest difference for me is to carry an umbrella.

It can be lot of look honestly, but I just pretend I'm a movie star and am grateful not to burst into flame. Good luck & here's to an early winter.
posted by Space Kitty at 5:03 PM on May 20, 2011

Oh - I also carry a little spray bottle of chilled rose water, which is AWESOME til it warms up.
posted by Space Kitty at 5:07 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This thing. It has crystals in it that absorb water. You soak the thing in water for 30-45 minutes, the crystals absorb the water and swell, then you tie it around your neck and it keeps you cool as the water evaporates.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 5:12 PM on May 20, 2011

One word: linen.
posted by notsnot at 5:16 PM on May 20, 2011 [2 favorites]

Personally, if I have to be outdoors in Florida summer sun for a day, a long sleeved polypropylene shirt can go a long way in keeping me comfortable and un-sunburned. I do have to wash these things with extra detergent, to keep them from getting funky, but that's a small price to pay for the comfort that they can provide.
posted by paulsc at 5:20 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

I am much cooler when I use an umbrella instead of a hat. I carry an oriental paper umbrella, they're pretty and you can find them for $5 or so. Drinking a big glass of cold water as quickly as possible will (presumably) cool your core temperature, at any rate it works very well. And I second the bandana with absorbent crystals, it's kept me cool during Houston summers.
posted by Allee Katze at 6:19 PM on May 20, 2011

Best answer: As someone who sweats like a damn glass of iced tea on your mom's nice wooden coffee table, I recommend keeping a paper towel in your pocket, for wiping the underside of your eyebrows, so that no matter how much you perspire, you can at least keep your eyes from stinging.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:23 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ugh, I totally hear you on the inappropriately heavy sweating. What works for me: move as little as possible. When do you move, do so slowly (I tend to be a fast walker, which exacerbates the problem).

Stash a washcloth/paper towel/handkerchief on your person and dab your forehead and neck. For me, the sweating other places isn't as embarrassing as the head sweat. Bringing along a thick headband or bandanna for your head may also help to cover up any sweaty hair issues along your hairline. Make sure you wear your hair up if it's long enough.

Most crucially, drink lots of cold beverages and apply ice/cold water to your pulse points. Cold liquids REALLY help me to stop sweating.
posted by LizzyBee at 6:29 PM on May 20, 2011

Ice. An entire glass if necessary. Cool yourself from the inside while trying all the other good suggestions.
posted by jindc at 7:03 PM on May 20, 2011

Being a freckly red head I can't stand the sun or heat either. If it's a social gathering then use a parasol as that looks cool as well as being cool and find somewhere shady to stand if you can. Even with a parasol use sportsblock suncream as that doesn't run or sting your eyes and wear a wide brimmed hat and proper sunglasses. Put sunblock on every inch of exposed skin - that includes your toes if you're wearing open shoes. Wear a long sleeved shirt and something to protect your neck. Avoid alcohol but bring a bottle of gatorade or similar sports drink because it really does help you avoid cramp and eat salty snacks. If you've got access to ice (and some privacy!) then put it in a plastic bag and hold it under your arms or between your legs to cool your blood for a few minutes, rather than on your hands and feet. Don't wear anti-perspirant if you really don't have to - you're sweating for a reason and that reason is to lose heat. Have some baby wet wipes in your bag and give yourself a quick spruce up as needed. Having a nice fan and using it looks good too and really helps. When you get home take a lukewarm shower, rather than a cold one, as this cools your core down quicker.
posted by joannemullen at 7:30 PM on May 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Take a damp bandana and fold it into a one inch strip. Place it around the back of your neck to keep cool. When you start to get to hot again, find a bath room and run the bandana under cold water to cool you back down. I knew someone who did delivery in a car with no A/C and this is how they kept cool. It really helps.
posted by stray thoughts at 8:34 PM on May 20, 2011

Do you have long hair? If so, wash it and don't dry it. Put it in a bun, and it will cool you a bit.
2 cotton bandanas - 1 for wiping your face, 1 for getting wet and then wetting your neck and arms.
Carry a tote bag with a mister (you can get a small travel-size squirt bottle) and occasionally mist your face, hair, legs. Evaporating water is cooling.
Wear white or light colors - dark colors really do absorb more warmth from the sun.
Carry a fan - it can make a huge difference. If you can't find one at a store, make one from cardstock.
Put a water bottle (or 2) in the freezer the night before, bonus points if you can find a neoprene sleeve for it. Use it to cool for face, drink the water as it melts.
Sandals make my feet much happier in hot weather.
posted by theora55 at 6:54 AM on May 21, 2011

Think about how you're wearing your hair. Having hair, even short hair, hanging around your face and neck is going to make you uncomfortable and also end up frizzy and limp in all that heat and humidity. It's going to help if you can wet your hair, as has been suggested, and wear it in a way that dampness is not going to look weird, for example pulled back or in braids. If this is a casual/sporty outing, consider a baseball cap and a ponytail/bun. A bandanna, a light but secure headband or a wet bun sounded like a good idea. Something that you can sneak off to the bathroom or behind some trees, take out, wet, and smooth all back into place will be a relief.

Regular old fans (not the battery powered kind) were a fashion accessory for so long for a reason: they work wonders if you don't have access to air conditioned spaces, especially if you're damp with sweat.

Wear a skirt or dress made out of a woven fabric like cotton or linen (not jersey t-shirt material). Or one of those designed for hiking that you get at REI made out of wicking material. There's a reason men AND women traditionally wear sarongs or skirt like things in many pacific island places.

Consider taking a spare shirt with you. Wear cotton under garments.
posted by dahliachewswell at 11:51 AM on May 21, 2011

Probably too late for this particular incident, but here's my special trick. Fill a plastic bottle about 2/3 full of water and stick it in the freezer and freeze it solid (random disposable water bottles work as do camelbak water bottles). When you're outside, and it's hot, just clutch it in your hand. Alternate hands and change your grip on the bottle to get at the cool parts. It won't keep you cool, but it can take a lot of the edge off of being broiled alive.

I believe that this is a lot more efficient just drinking iced drinks. There's a lot of "cold" stored in the ice, and when you're just drinking the water, a lot of that "cold" just goes to condensation.
posted by jefftang at 12:28 PM on May 21, 2011

The reason people are suggesting cold things on your hands and wrists is that the cooled blood will circulate throughout your body. So by cooling your wrists, you're cooling yourself down somewhat efficiently.
posted by aniola at 8:22 PM on May 21, 2011

I read something on a recent askMeFi about sweating -- they actually encouraged you to switch to deodorant, or to use the anti-persperant in less abundance (or less places, if you use it in multiple places). Apparently the body needs to sweat some specific amount, and if try to block all of it, your head (or nethers) will sweat more to compensate? I'm an apply-antipersperant- to-multiple-spots-gal, and am having better luck controlling where I sweat as a result of this knowledge . . .

(I'm really not trying to share the specifics with the internets, but you can memail me if you want to know)
posted by MeiraV at 3:36 PM on May 23, 2011

Driclor, a.k.a. CertainDri flat out stops underarm sweat through what appears to be the power of witchcraft. I shit you not, you can be running a marathon on a muggy August afternoon and your armpits will be drier than Stephen Fry's wit.
posted by holterbarbour at 9:46 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks so much for all of the wonderful suggestions!! I managed to survive the day, and didn't look too gross when we went out to dinner at the end of the day! Here's what I ended up doing:

1) Big sun hat (with hair pinned up)
2) Sunglasses
3) Sandals
4) Lots of water!
5) One of those 'neck cooler' doodads from REI (made a flying trip to REI before heading out just to pick one up!) On occasion I would take the neck cooler off of my neck and put it on the insides of my wrists.
6) Hiding in the shade when possible
7) Having a popsicle
8) Bandana for the dabbing away of moisture

Next time I will for sure try the rose water idea (just didn't have enough time to pick some up before the event) :)
posted by sleepykitties at 10:20 AM on May 24, 2011

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