You can help combat sweat by taking stock of your closet. Your choice of clothing can either make you more comfortable or more prone to sweat. Clothing made of natural fabrics, such as cotton, wool, hemp, silk or linen, often have a looser weave than synthetics; this results in a more breathable fabric that allows air to pass through to your skin. Plus, the fibers these fabrics are made from absorb moisture well, which prevents bacteria from feeding on your sweat and causing a stink.
In contrast, synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, rayon and polyester, are made with much tighter weaves that tend to trap heat and cause your body to sweat more. To make matters worse, the accumulated moisture doesn't evaporate as easily when you wear synthetic fabrics. They create a greenhouse effect for your armpits, trapping heat and moisture against your skin [source: Dyce].
Not all man-made fabrics are off-limits for those who perspire heavily, though. Bamboo, lyocell and modal are made from plant cellulose and pulp, and so these materials function similarly to natural fabrics. There are also microfiber fabrics designed to draw moisture away from the skin and to the outside of the clothing, where it evaporates more quickly.
Of course, there are sometimes special circumstances during which you can't help but sweat. How will you cope? We'll offer a few ideas for handling sweaty situations on the next page.