I leave an air-conditioned oasis and in a matter of minutes, I'm slick with sweat.
First, if you've been using a deodorant, try an antiperspirant. Most contain aluminum compounds that occlude sweat ducts and prevent perspiration from reaching the skin's surface (where it's exposed to bacteria that make it smell…not so fresh). Drugstore brand Certain Dri contains a higher percentage of aluminum chloride than most other over-the-counter antiperspirants; apply it at night, and in a few days you should notice significantly less sweating. (No studies have confirmed the rumors that aluminum is linked to Alzheimer's or breast cancer.) Your doctor can prescribe the stronger Xerac AC or Drysol. Whatever the level of protection, it will be more effective on bone-dry skin, says Loretta Ciraldo, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, who tells patients to dry their armpits with a hair dryer (on the cool setting) before applying antiperspirant.
As for the rest of your body, if you find your clothes sticking to you on steamy days, skip the body lotion and instead apply a dusting of powder, like Dr. Hauschka Body Powder, before you get dressed. For serious sweaters, Ciraldo recommends a more heavy-duty powder, called Zeasorb-AF; it's an antifungal as well, so it guards against rashes that can break out on warm, damp skin. On our feet (and in our shoes), we've been sprinkling Feet by OPI Powder Protection to avoid slipping and sliding; Summer Soles, thin fabric shoe liners, help as well. Applying antiperspirant to the bottoms of your feet before bed will also curb sweat, says Mary Lupo, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University School of Medicine. She even tells (dedicated) patients to wrap Saran Wrap over them afterward to improve absorption.
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