I caught a rerun of the February 20 episode of “The Doctors” and the four physicians brought up a pretty common problem: sweating. We all do it, just some of us more than others. So now it's time to fess up. Do your armpits feel like a rain forest? Are you going through sticks of deodorant like Halloween candy? Don’t worry, your secret’s safe, and there are some natural ways to solve this embarrassing problem.
What makes us sweat?
According to Dr. Travis Stork, an emergency room physician, sweating is caused by glands that can be triggered by physical activity, nerves or stress, as well as genetics. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, we are born with two to four million of these glands that cover our bodies. They're the reason we run to the shower after a workout and are what make holding hands on a first date even more awkward. While these sweat glands release mostly water and salt, the ones located under the arms and in the groin release oily sweat (Yay!). Even better, bacteria is attracted to this type of sweat and can cause body odor.
Fixing the Problem
Another one of the hosts, Dr. Jim Sears, a pediatrician, admitted his embarrassing glandular problem on the show and allowed himself to be a guinea pig. Dr. Sears took a dip in a tub of warm water filled with fresh rosemary and sage with lemon juice. Dr. Lisa Masterson explained the herbs were natural astringents to help with secretion as well as odor. Sage also has vitamin B and magnesium, which can help with sweating as well. You may smell a little like salad dressing after, but your pits will give you a break.
Shopping the Shelf
If you're not willing to hop in the bath, there are some other natural alternatives available that can help with your swampy situation. Crystals, lotions, sprays, gels and creams have all been recommended for sweating. The most common ones contain two main ingredients: aluminium chlorohydrate (ACH) and/or aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex GLY (AZAG). Both ACH and AZAG work with the sweat to create a gel that prevents perspiration.
But say you want to go the more natural route. Here are a few key ingredients to look for:
Lavender, chamomile, fennel, mint, sage and rosemary are natural astringents that can help with excess moisture. They can also help with any odor as a deodorant.
This common household product is known for its odor-absorbing abilities. You may even have a box in your fridge for funky food smells and it is even used in laundry detergent, cat litter and toothpaste. Baking soda is also a natural antiperspirant.
Tea tree oil:
Extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant, this oil has been used as a topical treatment for many skin conditions. Tea tree oil has known anti fungal and antibacterial properties, which make it a great addition to deodorants and antiperspirants to inhibit odor-causing bacteria.
When It’s Time for a Chat
If you have tried several remedies and you're just not finding relief, it may be time to speak with your doctor. Visiting your physician can help you determine if you have an excessive sweating condition called hyperhidrosis, which causes the body to sweat regardless of environmental factors, body temperature or physical activity. Your doctor can then decide what treatment is right for you.
So if you are packing an arsenal of fresh shirts everywhere you go, try these solutions to help you beat the sweat -- and bring down your dry cleaning bill.