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How to deal with sweat in summers

Keep these expert tips in mind to help you steer clear of the season’s trouble areas.

health and fitness Updated: May 23, 2012 18:59 IST
Kavita Devgan

Summer brings with it many issues. But the most irritating are these three — sweating prickly heat and body odour. Dr Swati Srivastav, head dermatologist, VLCC, tells us what causes them and how to tackle them.



Sweating

Sweating is embarrassing — it stains clothes, ruins romance, and messes up social interactions. Some people have a serious problem with sweating year round (hyperhidrosis), but most face it more during the hot and humid months. And as there’s really no effective way to measure the total amount of sweat, excessive sweating is simply defined as an amount that causes problems.



http://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTEditImages/Images/body-odour2.jpgFIGHT IT

Shower daily, ideally using an antibacterial soap and dry thoroughly. You should also apply an antiperspirant regularly, which are available in the form of sprays, powders and roll-ons. Overweight people tend to sweat more, so beware of excess kilos. It helps to wear loose clothes and stick to natural fabrics (cotton, linen, lightweight denim) as these breathe easily.



Stick to light colours as they reflect the sunlight, rather than dark shades that tend to absorb heat. Wearing hats could also control keep the head cool.



This is also the season where you need to drink more water, to help your cooling system run better. If your problem is grave enough to warrant clinical help, Botox is one of the various treatments that can control excessive sweating. Alternatively, your doctor might suggest certain medication that could control sweating.



Prickly heat

Prickly heat begins with excessive perspiration, which in turn damages cells on the surface of the skin, forming a barrier. Sweat gets trapped beneath the skin and builds up, causing the bumps. As the bumps burst and sweat is released, one feels the prickly, or stinging, sensation that gives this condition its name.



FIGHT IT

Keep the affected area cool and dry. Don’t add any antiperspirant, lotion, insect repellent or powder to your skin — these may trap more sweat. Once your skin is cool and dry again, apply cold calamine lotion to relieve itching. Prickly heat powders also help.



Body odour

While sweat itself is virtually odourless, bacteria use it as a breeding ground and multiply rapidly. What you smell is the bacteria multiplying on the surface of your skin. When you work out or move around in the heat or sun, your body produces sweat to regulate its own temperature. When sweat meets the bacteria on the skin, it produces an odour. That smell is called body odour (BO).



FIGHT IT

Keep your underarms dry. Bacteria have a hard time breeding in dry areas. After taking a shower, dry yourself completely, and immediately apply an underarm antiperspirant.



Try a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water to fight body odour. Use one teaspoon of peroxide (3 per cent) to one cup (8 ounces) of water. Wipe this on the affected areas with a soft cloth.



Change your diet

Sometimes, fatty foods, oils, or strong-smelling foods like garlic, curry, and onions can seep through your pores and cause body odour. So keep your diet in check.



(Next week, learn how to battle summer colds)