Summer is upon us. Which means sunshine and heat are back in full swing – which is every sweaty person’s nightmare. I suffer from hyperhidrosis, a condition that causes excessive sweating even when there is no need for your body to cool down (which is the primary function of sweat). For years, I had to deal with terrible discomfort and shame because of it: simple things like using a touchscreen or holding a sheet of paper became very stressful. To say it impacted my day-to-day life would be an understatement. It felt like every minute of every day I was reminded of this awful condition which runs in my family.
I’m not going to make this post about hyperhidrosis, but if you suffer from excessive sweating, please know that you are not alone. Here are the websites for Hyperhidrosis UK and the International Hyperhidrosis Society where they have loads of helpful guides and information. In case you are wondering, the surgery I got is called Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy. If you want to know more about it or just want to chat with someone who understands the struggle of constantly sweating, do message me on Instagram (@relatablesunday).
Being a sweaty person is no fun, especially during the warm summer months. So here is a list of things I have found helpful on my journey dealing with hyperhidrosis. If you have any other tips, please comment them down below! I hope you enjoy this post.
Being sweaty is uncomfortable, to say the least. It’s also bad for your body to let sweat “sit” on your skin for too long: it can cause rashes, yeast infections, fungal infections – all sorts of nasty stuff that we would rather avoid. Just as you would after a workout, take a shower if you feel very sweaty. You will feel much more comfortable and fresh afterwards. On very hot days, I’ll find myself showering twice a day. But don’t wash your entire body every time; just clean the areas that need it (armpits, feet, private area…) to avoid over-cleaning your skin.
Change your outfit
This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point because, usually, if we get sweaty, so do our clothes. I don’t think I need to say that there is nothing worse than wearing wet clothing. If an item you are wearing is moist (sorry, I hate that word too), take it off and put on something fresh instead. You will already feel much better and this will also help you avoid taking 5 showers a day. I recently say a hack which is to carry a change of clothes with you. I don’t think you need to have an entire outfit (unless you want to), but having a clean top, pair of underwear and socks will be a game-changer. Also, please wear weather appropriate clothing: don’t be wearing UGG Boots on a warm day.
Take off your jacket
This might seem completely obvious to many, but sweaty people tend to keep their jacket on when they are too warm to avoid the shame of sweat stains on clothing. I’ve been there myself and it is not a pleasant feeling at all. In recent years, I have learned to take my jacket off as soon as I start getting warm. Even if it’s winter outside, if I’m walking to uni with a chunky jumper under my coat and I start breaking a sweat, I take off my jacket. It is one of the best lessons I have learned. And honestly, who gives a fuck of what others think? Seriously. If you are warm, take off your jacket! Stop caring about what others might think. This will honestly change your life for the better.
Deodorant vs. antiperspirant
There are different types of deodorants: roll-ons, sprays, pastes, crystals, vegan ones… It doesn’t matter what kind you prefer, just look out for the words “antiperspirant”. Normal deodorants just make you smell nice whereas antiperspirant will fight the sweating in itself. There is a big debate about antiperspirant because they contain metallic salts which many consider harmful. However, if you sweat excessively, you probably won’t care much about that – I know I don’t. The secret to finding something that works for you is to try different brands and types of products. You can find stronger antiperspirants in pharmacies or get a prescription from your doctor.
Use talcum powder
Talcum powder is used to absorb moisture and lessen friction, helping avoid rashes. It is used in cosmetics, food, paper-making and much more. It’s most widely known as baby powder. Make talcum powder your best friend. Because it absorbs moisture, it can keep areas that tend to sweat a lot dry. For example, if you get bad chafing between your thighs, applying talcum powder during the day will remove the moisture, hence remove the friction. You can use it on your thighs, feet, under your arms, anywhere your skin rubs against skin. It will make life a lot less painful for you.
Check the fabric
A common mistake people make is to buy material that isn’t breathable. Many summer shirts and dresses are made from synthetic materials that will make you sweat even more than normal. Avoid polyester and acrylic, they will be your worst enemy (although the latter is often used to make winter jumpers and is fine if you wear a breathable top underneath, to absorb the moisture). Instead, opt for natural materials such as cotton, linen, hemp or viscose (which is technically man-made but using natural components rather than plastic). These will absorb moisture and, more importantly, let your skin breathe and dry.
Wear a top underneath
There are certain tops that we love but that betray us by showing every drop of sweat. And some, as mentioned previously, might be made out of a non-breathable material. In this situation, I have found that wearing a top underneath to absorb the moisture works. I wouldn’t suggest this on a really hot day where wearing fewer layers is better. But if you are mostly going to be inside or it’s not that warm outside, try this trick. I use it all the time.
I recently bought a pair of anti-chafing shorts from The Big Bloomers Company and let me tell you, my life is changed. The amount of times I would find myself walking home from school in AGONY because my inner thighs were badly chafed. Then I learned about talcum powder, which helped but would have to be reapplied loads throughout the day (because I was sitting a lot) and would leave marks on my clothes if I wasn’t careful. These shorts have been the easiest, and most mess-free, way of avoiding chafing.
Now dealing with painful bloating because of my IBS, dresses have become a staple in my wardrobe. And wearing anti-chafing shorts underneath has made me finally understand how comfortable dresses and skirts are in the summer. They don’t usually look great, but they are hidden underneath your clothing anyway. There also are anti-chafing bandelettes that I have seen on Amazon, but I haven’t tried those. Get yourself a pair of these shorts if you struggle with thigh chafing though, they will change your life for the better.
Let your feet breathe
The word “smelly” is often associated with feet, for good reason. Feet tend to smell if they aren’t taken care of properly. Wearing synthetic socks or tights and runners in the summer is your feet’s worst nightmare. To avoid unpleasant odours when you take off your shoes at the end of the day, get yourself a nice pair of sandals or some kind of open shoe. You can also use antiperspirant spray on your feet to help with the sweating. If you come home and have strong-smelling feet, give them a quick wash in the shower or sink and then, either put on a pair of fresh cotton socks or, preferably, walk around barefoot or with Birkenstock-style slippers.
Choose the shade
This one is self-explanatory: avoid sitting in direct sunlight, whether that be outside or behind a window.
We all get sweaty
Finally, we all sweat. It is a natural reaction even though it isn’t the most pleasant. Some people sweat a lot, some barely sweat and others have conditions like hyperhidrosis. Whatever category you fall into, there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. You aren’t less of a person, dirty or disgusting for sweating. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Growing up, a lot of kids would point out my sweaty hands. Kids know no shame. And, quite frankly, some kids are arseholes so don’t listen to them. Be who you are and tell them to bugger off!
I hope you have found at least one of these tips helpful. Remember that you are not alone with this and you can always reach out to someone. Thank you for reading this far and I look forward to seeing you again soon!