Hello summer! Hot days on the beach, at the pool, in the park or a classic barbecue in the garden are the order of the day. Another unforgettable and less pleasant summer wonder – more sweat. The sweat-soaked shirts and sweat stains may embarrass you, but sweating actually serves a purpose. “The main reason why we sweat is for thermoregulation, for controlling body temperature”, explains Dr. András Cseh, specialist in dermatology at Dermacare in Vienna. “When we get too hot, sweating helps to cool the body down,” he says. Sweating also helps to hydrate the skin and maintain our fluid-electrolyte balance. According to Dr. Cseh, the end result – those wet patches all over the body – can cause embarrassment and discomfort.
“The body has two to four million sweat glands in the armpits, feet, palms, groins and on the forehead. When you sweat and sweat evaporates, it takes the heat with it. However, there is no need to go through uncontrollable humidity in summer. Follow these simple steps to sweat less in summer and stay cool.
Apply an antiperspirant at night
You might think deodorants and antiperspirants are the same, but they have different uses. “Deodorants alone are merely fragrances, while antiperspirants are used to reduce sweating,” explains Dr. Cseh, adding: “In particular, antiperspirants contain an ingredient that forms a plug in the sweat glands. Prescription antiperspirants do this more effectively. The antiperspirant (with or without deodorant) should be applied at night when your sweat production is at its lowest, so it has the best chance of actually blocking this sweat.
Avoid food and drinks that make you sweat
While a frosty beer or a chilled glass of rosé may seem like a perfect drink for a hot summer day, neither is the best choice for people who tend to sweat. “Alcohol is a common trigger for heavy sweating,” explains Dr. Cseh, advising people to avoid both alcohol and caffeine (which can also stimulate sweating) and to recommend electrolyte beverages instead.
Spicy food is another category to avoid. “Alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods are the trinity of sweat-inducing foods that should be minimized when you sweat a lot,” says Dr. Latowa, a general practitioner and specialist in aesthetic treatments. “Alcohol and caffeine stimulate the production of adrenaline, which increases your sweat production fairly quickly; this is definitely most pronounced in people who have been diagnosed with hyperhidrosis,” also known as excessive sweating.
Do you think Botox is only for wrinkles? The popular injectable preparation is officially approved by the American health authority FDA for the treatment of hyperhidrosis.
“Botox can be effectively used in case of excessive sweating in certain areas such as armpits, groin area, scalp/hairline and in skin folds as under the breasts”, explains Dr. med. Olga Latowa. “It is injected into the affected area and begins to take effect within one to two weeks and can last for about four months. The use of Botox against sweating is very safe, but it is important to be examined by a doctor before the treatment.
Get a prescription for the treatment of hyperhidrosis
If the over-the-counter methods do not help to get rid of sweat, you should consider a visit to your doctor. “You may be suffering from hyperhidrosis, i.e. you sweat beyond what is considered average normal,” says Dr. Latowa.
“One misconception about this diagnosis is that people with hyperhidrosis have a long history of excessive sweating,” explains Dr. Latowa. “This excessive sweating can definitely be aggravated or unbearable during the summer months compared to the cooler months when deodorants are sufficient,” she says. In other words: Just because you sweat excessively in the summer does not necessarily mean that it is a year-round problem, even if you need occasional medical intervention. Of course, it could be another condition – such as pregnancy, menopause, an infection, or even heart disease or certain cancers – that causes the excessive sweating, Dr. Cseh adds, advising to see a doctor for safety reasons.
Laser treatment for underarms
Lasers could be an effective remedy against summer sweating. “Many of our customers have reported a significant reduction of underarm perspiration after laser hair removal with the effective Platinum Laser“, says Dr. Angela Hartel-Sekulic. “The treatment is almost painless and can even be carried out in summer”, she says.
Surgical removal of sweat glands
And as a last resort, there are also operations to remove the sweat glands under the armpits to treat hyperhidrosis, adds Dr. Renner, plastic surgeon at Dermacare.
Wear breathable clothing to avoid overheating
It may seem obvious, but one of the easiest ways not to break a sweat in summer is to stay cool at all. “Since sweat is caused by heat, the easiest way to avoid sweating is to avoid overheating,” explains Dr. Cseh. “This includes wearing light, breathable clothing, a shaded or air-conditioned environment and not overexerting yourself. Look for fabrics that encourage airflow, such as cotton, linen or blends, and avoid fabrics like nylon or polyester.
“Let your feet breathe too; cooler feet can efficiently lower your overall body temperature, so avoid thick socks and bulky shoes during the warm months.