Sweat is inevitable, but it doesn't have to be embarrassing. You can deal with the wetness and potential odor that accompanies a good workout a number of ways:
- Wear the right clothes. Sweat that stays on your body generates odor. Look for clothing that pulls moisture away from your skin and evaporates it quickly. Cotton is a natural fiber that has some wicking action, but sweat can stay in cotton fibers for quite a while, making the fabric moist, heavy and uncomfortable. Newer, synthetic materials and blends made with polypropylene are lightweight and comfortable because they draw moisture away from you but don't absorb it like cotton does. They're usually sold as "breathable" fabrics and are common in sports and warm weather attire [source: Rodriguez].
- Cool down. Your body doesn't stop perspiring immediately after a workout. Take a few minutes to cool down before you freshen up. That way you'll be removing most of the perspiration.
- Kill odor causing bacteria.Use a deodorant that contains Triclosan, an antimicrobial used in personal care products like toothpaste and soap, as well as textiles, carpeting, plastics and other goods. It's very effective at killing bacteria that can lead to underarm odor [source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency].
- Reduce wetness. To help keep wetness under control, choose antiperspirants that contain aluminum salts like aluminum zirconium tricholorhydrex glycine or aluminum chloride. Aluminum salts block the ducts that carry sweat to the surface of the skin. An aluminum salt should be one of the top couple of ingredients on the antiperspirant label.
- Refresh without water.To freshen up when you can't indulge in a shower, there are wet wipe products on the market designed to deal with adult perspiration. They feel wet to the touch and may even lather somewhat on contact. They're large enough to handle a quick cleanup and typically contain antibacterial agents, moisturizers and a light fragrance.
- Consider underarm shields. Using underarm sweat pads or shields is another way to control unwanted perspiration. Apocrine sweat glands are densely clustered in the underarm area, which makes armpit perspiration a common problem. Using a localized pad to trap moisture will protect clothing and limit or eliminate embarrassing underarm stains. Underarm shields are available as disposable pads or washable inserts. There are also cotton varieties that can be sewn permanently to the underarm areas of a garment. For the best protection, look for underarm shields treated with triclosan or another antimicrobial agent that will kill bacteria as well as trap wetness.