How to Smell Nice if You Sweat a Lot
Everybody sweats, but some people do sweat more than others. Some people even experience hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating. This is not a medically dangerous condition, but it can certainly cause embarrassment and self-consciousness about body odor. Fortunately, there are a variety of steps you can take to smell nice even when feel you sweat more than the “average” person.
- Shower regularly. Sweat itself does not smell; body odor is caused when bacteria on your skin breaks your sweat down into acids. While bacteria are a normal part of your body’s make-up, you can eliminate excess bacteria — and, most importantly, the acids they produce — by washing daily.
Pay special attention to cleansing hairy areas of the body. Humans have two types of sweat glands. Eccrine glands are spread across your skin and regulate your body temperature by cooling your skin with sweat when you get hot. The sweat produced by this sweat is typically less smelly. Apocrine glands, on the other hand, are concentrated in hairy areas of your body such as armpits and your genital region. The sweat from these glands contains high levels of protein. Your skin bacteria love protein, so this type of sweat quickly becomes very stinky.
Use antibacterial soap on your armpits. Again, some bacteria are good — but too many can pose a problem, especially in odor-prone areas like your armpits.
- Shave your armpits. Hair traps sweat and odor, providing ideal conditions for smell-producing bacteria to multiply.
- Change your clothing regularly. At minimum, you should change into fresh clothes daily. Changing more than once a day is a good idea if you perform physical labor that causes you to sweat or if you exercise.
- Wear clothing made from natural fibers. Avoid tight, restrictive clothing and man-made fibers such as nylon. These types of clothing restrict the ability of your skin to “breathe,” increasing your volume of sweat.
- Pay special attention to your socks and shoes. Socks should be thick, soft, and made of natural fibers, or sports socks designed to absorb moisture. Shoes should be made of leather, canvas, or mesh rather than synthetic materials.
Change your socks at least twice a day if you are prone to sweaty feet.
Consider carrying a spare pair of socks with you during the day so you can change whenever needed.
- Use products that interact with the human body to prevent odors. Some products work to mask smells, while others work to eliminate the root cause of sweat.
Deodorant uses perfume to mask the smell of sweat without eliminating the sweat itself.
Antiperspirant reduces the amount of sweat the body produces. The active ingredient in antiperspirant is usually aluminum chloride, which blocks sweat glands from producing. Many antiperspirants include a perfume agent to make you smell nice in addition to remaining sweat-free.
If regular antiperspirant fails to keep you from sweating, consult your doctor about special formulations containing extra aluminum chloride. These antiperspirants are usually applied overnight and washed off in the morning. They operate by using the hours you are sleeping instead of sweating to more fully seep into sweat glands and block their operation.
- Use a perfume or body spray. While perfumes are no substitute for good hygiene, they replace problematic smells with an appealing scent.
Experiment to find a fragrance that interacts well with your body chemistry.
Keep your chosen perfume or body spray handy to refresh your scent during the day.
Be aware of any regulations regarding scents in your workplace or school. Some people are very sensitive to artificial fragrances.
Moisture-reactive perfume is not yet on the market, but it may prove a useful tool in the future. Scientists in Ireland have learned how to bond fragrance to ionic liquids that react to water — including the water in sweat. The more someone wearing such a substance sweats, the stronger the scent becomes.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying excess weight causes your body to work harder, raising your body temperature and producing more sweat. Skin folds caused by excess weight can harbor bacteria, so pay special attention to these areas when bathing.
- Avoid spicy foods and alcohol. You sweat more when you consume these items, and as previously mentioned, sweat interacts with the bacteria on your skin to produce body odor. Cutting back or eliminating these things from your diet will help you manage sweat volume, therefore keeping you smelling nice.
- Use armpit shields to protect your clothing. While this tactic will not change your sweat volume, by protecting your clothing you’ll be able to wear shirts and sweaters longer before they become smelly. Shields are generally made from absorbent material that will keep sweat from clinging to your skin and becoming smelly. You will also minimize the appearance of your sweat.