Why do we sweat?
Hello, summer. Cue hot days at the beach, the pool, the park, or a classic backyard barbecue. Another unforgettable and less enjoyable staple of summer? More sweat. You may feel like those sweat-drenched shirts and sweat stains are an embarrassment, but sweating actually serves a purpose. “The primary reason we sweat is thermoregulation, the control of body temperature,” explains dermatologist, Dr Brian Ginsberg. “When we get too hot, sweating helps to cool the body down,” he says. While sweating also helps to hydrate the skin and maintain our fluid-electrolyte balance, according to Dr Ginsberg, the end result – those wet patches all over your body – can cause embarrassment and discomfort.
General practitioner, Dr Shahinaz Soliman, explains that “The body has two to four million sweat glands in the underarms, feet, palms, groin, and forehead. When you sweat and it evaporates, it takes the heat with it.”
Apply anti-perspirant at night
Deodorant and anti-perspirant might be thought of as interchangeable, but they each have distinct uses. “Deodorants alone are merely fragrance, whereas anti-perspirants serve to reduce sweating,” explains Dr Ginsberg, adding, “Specifically, anti-perspirants contain an ingredient that forms a plug in the sweat glands. Prescription-strength anti-perspirants do this more effectively.”
Dermatologist, Dr Nikhil Dhingra, agrees, saying, “Anti-perspirant! Use it; it’s inexpensive and highly effective at decreasing the odour-causing apocrine sweat. This does require the use of aluminium in your anti-perspirant, which essentially interacts with sweat to create a salt that physically blocks the exit point for sweat, and this can last a number of hours.”
In order to get the most from your anti-perspirant, apply to dry skin at night. “Your anti-perspirant (with or without deodorant) should be applied at night-time when your sweat production is lowest so it has the best chance of actually blocking those sweat glands,” explains Dr Dhingra, who also recommends those with sensitive skin avoid fragrances due to the thinness of underarm skin. “The use of deodorising fragrance-rich products is generally best avoided as the alcohol-based fragrances are usually the main culprit of itchy irritating reactions from deodorants.”
Use a hairdryer after applying deodorant
Especially sweaty? Dr Ginsberg recommends using a hairdryer after applying deodorant – using the cool setting. He adds, “High-strength antiperspirants should be applied at night time, at first every night, and then spaced out to the needed frequency. A non-medicated deodorant can be added in the morning if desired.”