Sweating is nature's way of providing you with your own personal air conditioning system. As icky as it might sometimes seem, it's definitely a good thing. Without perspiration, our bodies would constantly overheat. So, a certain amount of sweating is necessary in order to be healthy. But if the heat and humidity are out in force, going outside can leave you feeling gross and sweat-drenched within moments. You don't want to look like you just ran a marathon unless you have, in fact, just run a marathon.
Never fear -- there are a few pretty easy things you can do to stay fresh. Unsurprisingly, the type of clothing you wear is important. On a hot day, you should choose fabrics that are light and breathable, and more apt to wick the sweat from your skin. Cotton and linen are excellent options, and several sportswear companies have begun using new fabrics specifically designed for heavy-sweating scenarios. Just as important as the kind of clothing is how often you wear it. You might be able to get away with wearing a shirt twice during the cool spring months, but that doesn't fly when the temperature and humidity are soaring. Wear it once, and then send it to the laundry hamper [source: Global Health Action].
Likewise, clean skin will cut down on unpleasant odor. If you've been battling the heat for days, don't let old sweat linger on your skin; bacteria thrive in the presence of sweat, and it's the bacteria that cause body odor. So, giving yourself a daily scrub is important when you want to maintain freshness. Use deodorants and antiperspirants after showering to cut down on odor and minimize sweat.
Proper hydration is also important on a hot day. Sweating can lead to dehydration, which in turn causes your internal temperature to rise as your body struggles to come up with enough fluids to function. Keeping up with your fluid intake can lower your body temperature, which helps stop sweat from getting the better of you [source: Mayo Clinic].
Of course, the only surefire way to stay cool and dry is to stay inside and enjoy the air conditioning, but that's not very practical. You can still be smart about the time you spend outside, though. Acclimate yourself to the heat in smaller doses if you know you're going to be spending a lot of time outside. Stay in the shade whenever possible, and remember that alcohol and spicy foods can raise the sweat factor.
You might not be able to entirely avoid perspiring, but you can at least do it with style. For lots more information on beating the heat, see the links below.
- Doheny, Kathleen. "Coping With Excessive Sweating." WebMD. July 19, 2010. (Feb. 18, 2011)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/dont-sweat-it
- Khan, Joetta, and Bruce Gramlich. "Drink water to regulate body temperature." Fort Bliss Monitor. May 11, 2006. (Feb. 17, 2011)http://www.fbmonitor.com/monitor/2006/05%20May/051106/PDF/47.pdf
- Mayo Clinic. "Dehydration: Prevention." Jan. 7, 2011. (Feb. 17, 2011)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561/DSECTION=prevention
- Medline Plus. "Sweating." National Library of Medicine. May 3, 2009. (Feb. 17, 2011)http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003218.htm
- Parsons, Ken. "Maintaining health, comfort, and productivity in heat waves." Global Health Action Online. Nov. 11, 2009. (Feb. 18, 2011)http://www.globalhealthaction.net/index.php/gha/article/view/2057