Sweating is never fun, but the location of that sweat makes all the difference. To some people, some armpit sweat when you're in a tank top is likely no big deal, but underboob sweat that you can't easily access to wipe away? That can lead to more significant skin issues.
"Underboob sweat can trigger itching, red, or irritated skin," explains Dr. Vladyslava Doktor, DO, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist at Skin Center Boston. She says, "if severe, it can cause a yeast rash called candidiasis. It is difficult to deal with since the area is prone to increased moisture due to increased sweat collection."
To help navigate dealing with underboob sweat, we spoke to experts about their tried-and-true tips for managing it ahead.
Meet the Expert
- Dr. Vladyslava Doktor, DO, FAAD is a board-certified dermatologist at Skin Center Boston.
- Dr. Anna Guanche is a board-certified dermatologist, celebrity skin expert, and founder of Bella Skin Institute.
It might not be the first thing you think of, but plain old deodorant is the best place to start when dealing with underboob sweat. Dr. Anna Guanche, a board-certified dermatologist, celebrity skin expert, and founder of Bella Skin Institute, says, "Using specific deodorants, powders, or creams can help prevent the problem. The best type of deodorant to use would be a cream type or a soft solid, not a gel." Dktor suggests you "use clinical strength deodorant (20% aluminum chloride)."
Apply Talc-Free Baby Powder
Applying baby powder before you put on your bra and shirt can help decrease the sweat you have to deal with. Doktor recommends you "apply a baby powder that will absorb the sweat and extra moisture." Guanche suggests choosing one that doesn't contain talc, which, despite being a natural ingredient, can lead to respiratory issues in some people. There are numerous talc-free baby powders on the market.
Wear Breathable Bras
What's underneath your clothes is even more important because it's the first thing to touch your skin. Guanche says that "There certainly are some lightweight anti-sweat bras that can make a difference." Some are wireless with moisture-wicking material; some have mesh panels so air can get through and moisture won't be trapped; and some are antibacterial, so if you sweat in them, you don't have to worry about smelling bad soon after.
Wear Cotton Shirts
Doktor recommends wearing clothing made of cotton instead of synthetic materials. That's because cotton is a breathable fabric; when you sweat, the material will dry more quickly than some synthetics. It absorbs moisture, drawing it into the fabric, unlike a polyester material on which the wetness will sit. Also, when moisture sits inside your clothes, it can irritate your skin, leading to additional problems.
You may have heard the "hack" of putting argan oil underneath your breasts to avoid underboob sweat. However, both of our dermatologists say to avoid this. "Oils and moisture will only create a breeding ground for yeast or candida, as well as possible irritation leading to increased redness," says Doktor. Guanche adds that " for some people, argan oil may cause a form of allergy known as contact dermatitis, characterized by the development of rash, redness, and itchiness at the site of application."
Consider Prescription Qbrexza
Guanche recommends talking to your doctor about prescription Qbrexza (glycopyrrolate cream) because it has "an anti-cholinergic effect, which blocks the nerve signals that stimulate the sweat glands, resulting in less sweating."
It's a topical treatment for hyperhidrosis that is available by prescription. While it may have side effects, it can be worthwhile if your underboob sweat is so out of control that simpler treatments, such as a moisture-wicking bra, don't provide the relief you need.
See Your Doctor
If home remedies aren't working for you, a bigger issue may be at play here. "When skin touches skin, it can occlude or block the skin from allowing sweat to evaporate, leading to increased moisture," says Guanche, who notes that "this is very common in the breast area, either between the breasts or under the breasts and it’s very uncomfortable, annoying and lead to chaffing." However, there's a point at which to take things more seriously. She advises that "hormonal issues can cause excess sweating, so if you’re perspiring more than usual, develop a rash, or notice your sweat has an odor, consider seeing your doctor."
Underboob sweat happens, and there are numerous things you can do to manage it. Simple antiperspirants can prevent your underboob area from sweating, and dermatologists find it a safe way to handle the problem.
You can also change your bras and shirts, opting for breathable bras and cotton tops so that moisture doesn't get trapped inside. There's a topical prescription called Qbrexza that's used to treat hyperhidrosis. And if you need help figuring out what's going on and the simpler fixes aren't helping, you'll want to visit your doctor for a more thorough explanation of why you're sweating in that area.
Pariser DM, Lain EL, Mamelok RD, Drew J, Mould DR. Limited systemic exposure with topical glycopyrronium tosylate in primary axillary hyperhidrosis. Clin Pharmacokinet. 2021;60(5):665-676.