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A sweaty person's guide to self-care and hygiene

If you feel like you're forever wading in a pool of your own sweat, consider this your cheat sheet to help you stay sweat-free for a longer period of time — or do we dare say for good?

But first: Understand that sweat is the body’s way of keeping cool and staying on the right temperature. A lot of factors go into why you seem to sweat more than others.

For one thing, a man’s sweat glands are more active compared to a woman’s, even if women have more sweat glands compared to men. Other research has shown that if you grew up in place with warm climate (like us Filipinos), your sweat glands are more active compared to those who grew up in colder areas.

Some studies have pointed out that the more body fat you have, the sweatier you are. So what is there to do?

1. Go for extra-strength. When your anti-perspirant is no match for the crazy heat wave in the city, Gaile Robredo-Vitas, MD, DPDS, Dermatogist specializing in laser and aesthetics, advises to try prescription strength antiperspirants, like Driclor (P640 for 20ml). “It has 20% aluminum chloride that is available in the market. This is applied to the affected area at night for 1 week, then about 2 to 3 times a week thereafter. The main side effect is irritation.”

2. Put that anti-perspirant into other uses. Dr. Vitas further suggests that anti-perspirants can be used liberally for other parts of your body — for as long as it’s needed. “Products and services used in treating excessive sweating of the underarms may also be used for other parts of the body. For example, antiperspirants that come in powder form or spray, may be easier to use on the feet, or in big areas like the back. But if you have excessive sweating in areas that don’t normally sweat, it is best to consult a physician to determine a possible underlying cause.”

When asked if men’s products are stronger, and thus more effective in controlling sweat, Dr. Vitas says, “Deodorants of the same brand, whether for women or for men, usually contain the same amount of active ingredients, and differ only on the scent and packaging or delivery system.”

3. Powder up! Covering your body with powder from head to toe like a baby (or until you look like an espasol) is rooted in actual science. Powder has long been used to absorb sweat from the body, and there are products out in the market that you can use either for your entire body, or for specific areas, like your feet or back. Look: there’s even loose powder made especially for sweaty underboobs (It's called Silky Underwear from Lush).

Pro-tip: If you can find a powder that is made of other natural ingredients besides Talc, such as rice grains or cornstarch, so much the better.

4. Dress in light-colored layers and separates. The drastic change in weather — from commuting under the 38-degree heat to the 21-degree biting cold of your office — might feel like your sweat is evaporating, but stepping back out in the heat will get you all sweaty once more. And when sweat sticks to your clothes, you’ll definitely get the dreaded “amoy pawis”.

So: Rethink your wardrobe. Dark colors tend to absorb more light and will make you sweat more. Light colors do the opposite. Instead of wearing a long-sleeved top or dress, go for a loose, breathable, sleeveless top paired with a light jacket to make you look more office-ready.

5. Look into your lifestyle and diet. Take a long, hard look at your lifestyle. Could it be that being “festively plump” is not just making you extra sweaty, but making you unhealthy, too? Does your diet consist of too much meat and fat, which heat your body up? Figure out what triggers the sweat and cut it from the source.

6. Commit to a sweat-free life with injections and ions. There’s a hefty price to pay if you want to live your days sweat-free for good. Dr. Vitas suggests a Botilinum toxin injection (more popularly known as Botox), wherein the toxin is injected to the affected area, and you won’t break too much sweat for 9 months to a whole year. Dr. Vitas states that it’s a fairly simple procedure that costs P20,000 or more, and requires a dermatologist to do it.

Kaycee Reyes, MD, DPDS, Dermatogist and owner of Luminisce Holistic Skin Innovations, recommends iontophoresis for sweaty palms and pits, which can lessen perspiration. Iontophoresis is a procedure where medicinal compounds are put into the body thru electric currents—sounds scary, but it’s completely safe. Thing is, you’ve got to have the time and money to do this—you’ll need at least 10 sessions, spaced out once a week, and administered by a dermatologist, to make the procedure as effective as possible.

So how sweat free do you want to be? Whether you go for over-the-counter products or go the doctor’s route, now that you’ve read this, hopefully your days as a sweaty person are numbered. — LA, GMA News

Tags: sweat, hygiene, beauty