Sweat is something we welcome in our workouts and in those trips to the infrared sauna. And that’s about it. In all other situations, we prefer to avoid perspiring. In the summer months, staying sweat-free seems nearly impossible. Between the heat and the humidity, we can’t get halfway through our commute without breaking a sweat. If (like us) you’ve resigned to toting around a designated purse deodorant and have gotten in the habit of making a beeline for the restroom before you arrive at any location, you’ll be pleased to know there are a number of options available—options more effective than your stick of deodorant.
Scroll through to find out the best ways to control sweat this summer and beyond!
Work on Your pH
Keeping your skin pH-balanced is essential in the fight against sweat. Tea tree oil, witch hazel, and apple cider vinegar ($13) all lower your skin’s pH, and bacteria cannot live in acidic environments. Dab it on your underarms to keep yourself sweat- and odor-free. You can also balance your pH from the inside out by starting each day with a shot of apple cider vinegar (which has a full spectrum of health and beauty benefits you can read about here).
Adjust Your Diet
Cut back on spicy food, salty food, and alcohol. Your body reacts to the heat of spicy foods the way it reacts to all heat—it tries to cool itself down. How? Through sweat. When you consume large amounts of salt, your body sweats in an effort to rid itself of the excess sodium. Your digestive system also works harder to digest processed and high-fat foods, which can contribute to sweating. Alcohol causes blood vessels to dilate, and dilation can lead to sweating. While you’re trimming back on the cocktails, consider cutting out cigarettes, too. Nicotine not only raises your heart rate and body temperature, but it also releases a a chemical called acetylcholine that stimulates sweat glands.
If you’ve tried everything you can DIY or buy at the store, there are doctor-recommended solutions to turn to.
“Now FDA approved [for controlling sweat], Botox has become one of the safest and most effective standards of care for excessive perspiration,” cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank says. “Botox treats this condition by safely and reversibly stunning overactive sweat glands.” Botox can be used in a number of regions, including one previously untreatable area: the scalp.
For hand and foot sweating, Dr. Frank recommends the process called iontophoresis. Iontoderma, a handheld device that delivers an electro current in water, stuns sweat glands and stops perspiration.
Topical and Oral Medication
Your doctor can prescribe topical drying agents to keep underarm sweat at bay. Or for hand and foot sweating, there’s anticholinergic. “This oral medication, which is in the same class as antihistamines, helps dry up hand and foot sweat glands,” Dr. Frank says. But beware of dry mouth, which is a potential side effect.
If you want something that will take care sweating now and summers to come, there are several long-term solutions to consider.
“Ultherapy is a non-invasive procedure that has been proven effective for treating hyperhidrosis [excessive sweating] using high-frequency ultrasound to put a thermal coagulation point deep in the skin tissue,” Dr. Frank says. The whole procedure takes about 15 minutes, and Dr. Frank says patients see long-term results in one to two treatments.
The applications for microneedling just keep on coming. For tackling the underarms, it’s actually a combination of two technologies that does that job: microneedling and radio frequency. “The procedure takes about 15 minutes total for both underarms, and results can be seen in two to three treatments,” Dr. Frank says. You may be red in your armpits for a few days, but other than that there are no side effects or downtime involved.
This quick, minimally invasive procedure produces permanent results for underarm sweating in just one to two treatments. “In this treatment, a small ultrasonic wand is run under the skin through a small incision,” Dr. Frank says.
Need to sweat-proof your makeup? Read about how to save your face from the summer heat here.