We sweat.
August 2, 2005 8:01 AM   Subscribe

What are your sweat-dealing strategies?

I'm a guy. I'm kinda hairy. NYC summers, as a consequence, are especially unkind. What are some of your tips and tricks for dealing with sweating (and heat and humidity in general)? Most specifically, I'm thinking about dealing with work clothes (we're biz casual in my office- if I had to wear a suit, I'd quit).

On a related note, I don't like the feeling of undershirts, but I'm intrigued by the new microfiber shirts. Are "whisking" shirts a good idea for an undershirt, or would they just trap the sweat between your layers? I've also heard that they tend to stink up- is this true?
posted by mkultra to Health & Fitness (32 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'm kinda in the same boat. Years sgo, when I sent a letter to an anti-persperant company, their only answer was "Use more of our product." I get the feeling that one tends to notice their own sweat more than they notice others so can psych themselves into feeling like a moisture factory or worse, E.B. Farnum.

So I'll be interested in whatever folks have to offer too.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:12 AM on August 2, 2005

I am not a hairy guy. But I have a high tendency to sweat very easily. Not sure how to deal with it. But it irritates the hell out of me. I wish somebody could tell me what the problem is.

I tend to wear easy fit clothing, specially in warm environments. I do wear an undershirt also to stop some of that sweat coming through.
posted by flyby22 at 8:15 AM on August 2, 2005

a friend of mine works for the company that developed this -- she has a habit of giving away sample products to pretty much anyone who'll take it, and i found this in a bag one day. one application typically lasts 2-3 days, and the bottle itself has lasted about 14 months now. great stuff.
posted by quadrinary at 8:21 AM on August 2, 2005

I've been using Certain-Dri antiperspirant recently and it has worked much better than I would have imagined. It seems like most drugstores stock it. It's $15 a bottle, but one bottle lasts a long time since you only need to use it twice a week or so. I've even used it around my hairline and haven't had any skin irritation.
posted by ttrendel at 8:21 AM on August 2, 2005

I use this stuff: odaban. Seems to work for me
posted by iamcrispy at 8:24 AM on August 2, 2005

Best answer: In reverse order.

Whisking shirts (I'm assuming you mean the kind generally marketed to runners) are really good at getting the sweat off of your body but they still get soaked. Wearing them under a dress shirt would probably just create a sweat sandwich since there is no way for air currents to move over the undershirt and help the sweat evaporate. (I do highly recommend them for outdoor activities. Get yourself one and see how you like it, they can be fairly expensive.) I own several Nike-brand shirts and use them for running in Florida so you can imagine how nasty they smell after 3-4 miles. I wash them after every use (onve a week for the lot of them, I have 7) and have no problem with odor.

For the office I would highly recommend linen clothes. They wrinkle a bit more than cotton but they are a godsend in high heat and humidity. (There is a reason linen is so popular in the Caribbean.) There are a variety of linen blends available that are designed to minimize the maintenance without sacrificing the benefits of the linen, but each blend has different characteristics and some are truly awful.

Finally, (warning this will sound really weird) have you considered shaving your armpits? That is a problem area for hairy guys (I know whereof I speak). Shaving really helps a lot. Shave in the shower about twice a week. Use shaving cream the first time, then just a razor and water for maintenance. It will be irritating for about one week and then you'll forget about it. I did it as a lark (my wife dared me) before an outdoor wedding in upstate NY in July. It was hot as hell, I was wearing a suit (with undershirt) but I was more comfortable than I can say.
posted by oddman at 8:30 AM on August 2, 2005

nyc. not-hairy. much sweat. but anti-perspirants are nasty.

I have had good success with a combination of tea tree oil and baking soda. with occasional temporary switching to other oils (lavender etc.) as the bacteria do seem to "learn" how to break any given oil down after a while.

also, switched from cotton t-shirts to ones that are 95% synthetic / 5% silver -- kills lots of the microscopic smelly things. used to hate synthetics but these are light, soft, and dry out much faster than cotton; ah, progress.
posted by dorian at 8:30 AM on August 2, 2005

As far as appearances go I was given this good advice from a summer dwelling Austin Tx friend. Carry several shirts with you and make a quick change before a situation in which you want to look fresh and on top of things. He was not in the business world so would pick up a package of FOL's tee shirts and carry them in his backpack. Don't see why one couldn't keep some fresh shirts in the office, car or briefcase though.
posted by flummox at 8:32 AM on August 2, 2005

post-preview: ditto on the shaving.
posted by dorian at 8:32 AM on August 2, 2005

I sweat a lot too, but most of it comes right from my head. straight down from my hair, making my face look like a waterfall. I can't apply any product to my hair, that I know of. I also get the massive beads of sweat running down my chest and my back, soaking my shirt. I just suffer, I have no solutions. Sorry.
posted by corpse at 8:32 AM on August 2, 2005

This really sucks, because I've been going to a lot of job interviews lately in 95+ Chicago days. I've had to carry my suit with me and change in the bathroom.
posted by corpse at 8:33 AM on August 2, 2005

I'm interested in these products as well, the hot alabama summer often leaves me too sweaty to look semi-professional in the office.

Also as an FYI, some antidepressants increase sweating as a side effect.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 8:43 AM on August 2, 2005

Response by poster: Huh... I may give the shaving a try. At the very least, my g/f will be highly amused :)
posted by mkultra at 8:48 AM on August 2, 2005

Best answer: I just use my beard trimmer on my pitts; I don't see how shaving that last 1/16th of an inch would make a difference other than making it itch as it grows out. I don't know it helps with sweat quantity but it's nice to not have caked nasty anti-persperant.

Most of those topical treatments for hyperhydrosis are simply a higher concentration of aluminum chloride (the same thing as in regular antipersperant) in an alcohol base. They work somewhat but many people have less than pleasant skin reactions to them, ranging from irritation to rash to pimples. For best result you should use them on clean, dry skin at the end of the day so it sets overnight.
posted by phearlez at 9:14 AM on August 2, 2005

I used to "not like the feeling of undershirts" then I started wearing more suits and dress clothes. Now I am over it.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:44 AM on August 2, 2005

I think you guys mean "wicking", not "whisking".
posted by randomstriker at 9:58 AM on August 2, 2005

dorian, could you give us more information about the kinds of shirts you buy?
posted by grouse at 10:16 AM on August 2, 2005

If you sweat quite a bit from your head/face/hairline, consider getting a very short haircut or shaving your head entirely. You'll be surprised at how much heat will escape through your dome. (I drink this Kool-Aid - I shave my head)

A surreptitious fan in your office (think 4"x4") works wonders in a pinch, too.
posted by unixrat at 11:17 AM on August 2, 2005

Okay -- I have this problem: BADLY.

But let's think outside the box. Since most people that have low(er) blood pressure complain of being cold, I will assume that the moist ones in the crowd have higher bp.

Is there any safe way, either naturally or via prescription, to lower your blood pressure?

Don't yell at me about not being safe. I'm hot, I'm wet, and I'm UNHAPPY.
posted by hummus at 11:22 AM on August 2, 2005

Hummus, blood pressure does not necessarily = hot person/cold person. Also, being hot doesn't necessarily mean you sweat a lot.

But of course there are safe ways to lower your blood pressure...they're pretty much the standard dietary and exercise advise recommended by doctors. Here's the NIH page.

(If you think that your sweating is seriously not normal, check with your doctor to make sure you don't have hyperthyroidism or diabetes or any other medical explanation.)
posted by desuetude at 11:51 AM on August 2, 2005

Undershirts. I'm a pretty heaver sweater, so I always bring extra undershirts, when one get's a little damp, switch out to another in the bathroom.

I don't use anti-perspirant, just the spray deodorants, like Tag, Axe, etc.

So when you get a little damp, head into the bathroom with a spare shirt, deodorant and a comb, change shirts, apply deodorant, dry hair with old shirt, and comb, come out looking and smelling fresh as a daisy.

I also shower 2-3 times a day. Maybe not the advice you were looking for, but it seems to work for me.l
posted by patrickje at 11:55 AM on August 2, 2005

If you have hyperhydrosis: you can get Botoxed. This works wonders for the palms and armpits, less so for feet. I also know that you can take beta-blockers, which work in two ways: they reduce stress/anxiety (musicians often take them before concerts) which contributes to sweating and they also reduce sweating on their own. Finally: yes, put on the super-antiperspirants the night before (odaban, maxim, drysol). Put it on, let it dry, then put on socks or something to cover the area. These seem like drastic measures for non-sweaters, but for people that really suffer (palms are terrible especially), they are amazing solutions.
posted by fionab at 12:05 PM on August 2, 2005

I sweat constantly, and am always hot. I hate it. in my opinion, the synthetic shirts are kind of a waste of money. I used to own a couple of them and would wear them to the gym, I was just as hot and sweat just as much as if I was wearing a cotton undershirt. Plus, they are rediculously overpriced, and I think they tend to smell faster as well.

I do think that one thing that helps is sort of like conditioning your body. I think if you are out in the heat often, your body learns to deal with it better. The same goes with the cold. Who knows if I am actually right, but it seemed like a reasonable explanaination for why people from hot climates come up to the new england area and think its cold out when the temperature is like 60 degrees.

I think all you can do is clip your armpit hair short, keep your head hair short, and wear boxers (especially the real breathable ones, they have little holes in them).

Also, mitchum antipersperant has worked great for me. Its not rediculously priced, and it seems to hold up longer than most of the name brand ones.
posted by emjaydee at 1:23 PM on August 2, 2005

Drisol. Concentrated aluminum chloride. Ask your doc.
posted by docpops at 1:50 PM on August 2, 2005

Yay for Mitchum, I've used the unscented one for a couple of years and it keeps me dry even on a warm day like today, crammed into a packed, unventilated London Underground train.

Also, I have psoriasis, and Mitchum has never, ever irritated my skin when I've had an outbreak under my arms.
posted by essexjan at 2:55 PM on August 2, 2005

Two things:

You're kinda hairy- change that. I trim my chest hair and armpits. Since then, I have had absolutely no under-arm sweat problems or . I still sweat a tad on my back (due to hot-car-riding-on-leather.. ugh) but other than that, I'll sweat only when doing strenuous stuff (like dancing/popping at the sauna... er nightclub).

Next, exercise. Serious aerobic exercise. The more efficient your muscles and cardiovascular system become, the less waste heat you produce. Somone in tip-top physical shape will use much less energy to do the same amount of work as you in the same situations. Aerobic exercise will change that.

Otherwise, I believe this is really just a function of body-heat, which is a function of metabolism and cell efficiency.

So work out and shave. You'll look better, feel better, and sweat less. Hat-trick, that.
posted by id at 4:00 PM on August 2, 2005

id:I'd be careful about putting too much weight towards fitness. Whilst I'm sure it plays a part, some people just sweat a lot regardless of physical fitness.

I've seen incredibly fit guys -- people who'd ride 50km at pace to come to a hard martial-arts training session and then go full tilt for two hours -- sweating buckets. I myself have gone from 240-ish pounds of unfit bucket-sweating lardbucket to 200-ish* pounds of hardcore gym-junkie fitness freak bucket-sweating basket-case.

I still break into a sweat after a light warm-up -- we're talking dripping on the floor, puddles in hot weather here.

*-ish because pounds aren't my bag, baby - metric system all the way!
posted by coriolisdave at 8:26 PM on August 2, 2005

I'll second iamcrispy's odban suggestion. I sweat way more than I'd like and have found it to be useful when big events are coming up. You _need_ to make sure that the area is really dry before applying it (possibly even applying talcum powder), and never use it right after a shower when your skin is more hydrated. If you don't it'll itch like mad and will be untolerable, but if it's dry before applying, it's fine.

Bonus to it is that it lasts a couple of days so you only need to do it periodically.

Some of the suggestions above are a little less drastic feeling than Odban, but if it really is a problem, I'd look into it.
posted by freshgroundpepper at 11:03 PM on August 2, 2005

Response by poster: Oh man, I just trimmed my pits and it feels... weird...

I appreciate all the ├╝ber-anti-persperant recs, but I have sensitive underarms (I use Almay, which is hypo-allergenic; anything else seems to cause breakouts) and I have a general issue with clogging up my pores with aluminum.

Thanks for the advice...
posted by mkultra at 4:56 AM on August 3, 2005

grouse: the fabric is called x-static and the t-shirt maker is medalist (but I believe other manufacturers use this fabric as well) -- originally I just bought a large stack of them 'cos they were (a) on sale at rei and (2) made in the usa. but they don't seem to make these plain t-shirts anymore??! (no doubt why they were on sale)
posted by dorian at 5:19 AM on August 3, 2005

Hey mkultra, make sure you give yourself a good amount of time to get used to the feeling. Trust me after a few days (maybe a bit more than a week) you'll hardly notice, if at all. (Of course if just trimming doesn't work for you try shaving (and give yourself time to get adjusted) before you decide to let it grow back.)
posted by oddman at 7:33 AM on August 3, 2005

I can second Certain Dry. Seriously. Buy it.
posted by pwb503 at 3:03 PM on August 18, 2005

« Older ever hired an organizer?   |   Infopath and C#? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.