Don't sweat it

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 July, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 July, 2005, 12:00am

Body odour, wet armpits and damp palms can be a turn-off. Here's how to keep cool and dry in sticky situations

At the right time and on the right guy, sweat can be very sexy. But a man in a suit with soggy armpits and a wet handshake can be a real turn-off - particularly when the sweaty look is accompanied by odour.

Perspiration is caused by overactive sweat glands. Triggers range from anxiety, heat and rigorous physical activity to symptoms of an overactive thyroid and low blood sugar. Our bodies have two types of sweat glands - eccrine sweat glands and apocrine sweat glands.

The former are located throughout the body, while apocrine sweat glands are embedded in our armpits, groin, hands and feet.

Sweat is a mixture of sodium chloride and urea, although apocrine glands release an oilier substance than eccrine glands. Mixed together and with dirt, toxins and other substances, the secretions can create unpleasant body odour (BO).

Regular showers and a good dose of a strong deodorant or antiperspirant should keep unpleasant smells at bay.

Quick fixes for times when jumping into a shower is not an option include using absorbent powders on the underarm and groin areas, wearing clothes made out of natural fibres (which absorb sweat and allow skin to breathe), and keeping a cotton cloth handy to mop away stray beads of perspiration.

If you suffer from excessive sweating (see box below), you might also consider wearing armpit pads to prevent unsightly stains. This may sound silly and take a while to get used to, but it certainly beats walking around in an shirt with wet armpits. Common-sense precautions such as keeping extra shirts, underwear and socks at the office are also smart ways to prevent embarrassing situations.

For some, eating food and spices with strong aromas, such as garlic, chilli and curry, provokes a residual smell that penetrates every pore of the body and is particularly pronounced once they start sweating and long after digestion. If this is the case, steer clear of such trigger foods 48 hours ahead of an important date or meeting.

Not only can BO give people the wrong impression of your hygiene standards, it can also be a great source of irritation to those around you.

It's no wonder deodorants and antiperspirants are a multimillion-dollar business.


MODEL: Fernando from Starz People