I’ve got a love/hate relationship with sweat. I’m guessing you do too. Because there are times when getting a good sweat on feels downright amazing. It’s a visceral signifier that I’m putting in the work. But it can also be a real pain. When it mixes with hair product and stings my eyes or leaves me feeling uncomfortably swampy. And with the rising temps and scorching summer sun, it can be difficult to keep your sweating under control. Especially for us active guys.
But that’s not always a bad thing. In fact, sweating does a body good—in more ways than one. Sure, it helps cool down your body. But when you sweat, your pores open up and allow all the dirt, oil and bacteria in your skin a way out. It also boosts circulation and helps flush out lactic acid, allowing oxygen and nutrients to nourish your skin cells and muscles.
That being said, if you don’t manage your perspiration properly, you could end up with some problems—anything from irritation and breakouts to unwanted body odor. The solution is to sweat smarter. We consulted some experts for your summer game plan.
Use Antiperspirant Wisely
The reason some guys feel antiperspirants don’t really work is because when it’s applied after a morning shower (when your sweat volume is higher than it is at night and your armpits are damp), the antiperspirant can’t absorb into the skin and therefore, it can’t work. The key is to apply it just before bed, in order to give the active ingredients ample time to work their way into the skin and down to your sweat ducts. By the time you wake up, it’s fully absorbed and you can rinse off any leftover residue in the shower. Apply regular deodorant and you'll have clean shirts, dry pits and no stink.
Before & After a Workout
Don’t do your hair before a workout. Sure, you want to look your best at the gym, but hair products start causing problems when you begin to sweat. The more you perspire, that hair product starts to drip down your face—it gets in your eyes, and it can clog your pores, leading to breakouts. When sweat is dripping down your face, you might be tempted to wipe it off your forehead with your hands or your gym towel (the same one you just used to wipe down some random equipment). That’s not a great idea, since both are full of bacteria. You’re better off using your shirt. Or even better? Keep an additional clean towel around just for your face. And speaking of your face, the sooner you can wash your face after sweating, the clearer your skin will be. If immediately showering isn’t possible, be sure to at least wash your face. Can’t even do that? Dermatologists recommend some pre-soaked toner pads or cleansing wipes (currently we’re loving Koa’s balancing toner pads) in your gym bag or car to cleanse your skin on the go.
The more water you drink, the less you’ll sweat. Hydrating with cold water before, during and after your workout can help to cool your internal body temperature and reduce sweating. It also keeps your skin cells healthy because dehydration is a leading cause of dull skin and, surprisingly, oiliness.
Switch Up Your Diet
If you find yourself perspiring a lot during the summer, try to stay away from food or drinks that are known to activate your sweat glands. According to Hooman Khorasani, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York, that would be anything that is overly spicy or contains a lot of salt. Caffeinated or alcoholic drinks should be avoided too. But drinking more water will keep your body cool and properly hydrated, which can reduce your body’s natural sweat response.
Make Your Clothes Work
Wearing breathable and moisture-wicking clothes (like our Convoy Tee and All Over Shorts) when you’re active is the key to staying cool and comfortable during a workout or outdoor adventure. But it also serves another purpose—preventing sweat from getting trapped against your skin. Because that trapped moisture and bacteria can turn into acne on your chest, back and shoulders.
Cool Down Quickly
The easiest and fastest way to stop sweating after a hard training session? Add ice. Apply an ice-cold water bottle, chilled towel or ice pack to the back of your neck or under your arms. You have large arteries that are close to the skin in these areas, so placing the cold directly on them immediately lowers your core temperature.
FYI: Women have more sweat glands than men, but men’s sweat glands actually produce more sweat than women’s. (Source: ScienceDaily)