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How to Dress in the Summer with Hyperhidrosis

Summer is around the corner - and that means more heat! Here is what to wear in order to minimize sweating and keep yourself comfortable during the hot summer months.
How to Dress in the Summer with Hyperhidrosis

Summer sweat can dampen anyone’s day, but if you also happen to have hyperhidrosis, things can get messy fast. For many with hyperhidrosis, soaking through clothing and footwear, especially during times of high heat, is a big problem. It can get so bad that it affects a person’s quality of life. In fact, one evaluation of a series of patients documented in the journal of Dermatologic Clinics found that 70% of patients with axillary hyperhidrosis reported needing to change their clothes two or more times per day.[1] Luckily, there are tips and tricks that can help find the best clothes for people who sweat excessively.

Material Matters

The material your clothing is made from matters more than almost anything else when it comes to reducing the impact of sweat. The type of fiber you put on your body determines how breathable your clothing is, and ultimately, how much sweat gets trapped against your skin. During the summer (and any other season) it is a good idea to wear light natural fibers. Cotton or linen are excellent choices. They absorb sweat and keep it from clinging to the body while also allowing for air flow to cool the skin. Wool and silk are also natural fibers that may allow skin to breathe, but they may not be the best choice in during the heat of summer. If you are going to work out then choose a moisture wicking material. There are many options available as moisture wicking technology has flourished in recent years. Finally, if you need to wear something stretchy, then opt for a moisture wicking blend, even if it has polyester. Typically is it best to avoid synthetic fabrics, but in the case of stretchy fabrics, a cotton blend is not the best bet.[1][2]

Dress in Layers

One great method to use when you sweat a lot is to dress in layers. This applies to what you wear in the summer. If you are planning to wear a short sleeved shirt you can wear a cotton undershirt to absorb sweat and prevent stains. This also gives you the ability to shed clothing as the day heats up, and possibly prevent sweat from affecting all of the clothing you have with you.[3]

Another strategy some people use is to wear specific, absorbent undergarments or pads that soak up sweat so it doesn’t bleed through to clothing. This may not be something you choose to do every day, but it might be a good idea if you are dressing up or in a situation where you need to wear less breathable clothing on a certain day.

Color Strategies

This won’t prevent you from sweating into your clothes, but it may help hide any sweat stains you do accrue. The obvious trick is to wear darker colors to conceal stains, and this does work. However, you can also wear bold prints, like bright florals or plaids, to cover up any stains. Very light colors are often effective in covering up stains as well.

Footwear

This one is especially important because your feet are the foundation of your body. If you have sweaty feet, you should try to air them out when you can, just to let the skin breathe. When you do need to wear shoes you should try to find shoes made of natural materials like leather. According to the Mayo Clinic website, it is best to wear athletic moisture wicking socks as often as possible. It is also imperative to change socks frequently so your feet are not sitting in sweat for long periods of time. It can be tough to wear flip flops because of slippage, so wearing sandals with straps may be an easier option.[2]

Use Antiperspirant Wisely

If you have hyperhidrosis, then you are probably familiar with antiperspirant. If not, then you should invest in some. Applying antiperspirant properly is an important step in preventing sweat from taking over your wardrobe. You should ideally apply it at night to dry skin. Antiperspirant applied at night continues to work through the next day and is much more effective than when applied right after showering in the morning. The aluminum chloride (or neutralized salt) that is the active ingredient in your antiperspirant works best if given 6 to 8 hours to work on skin and people with primary focal hyperhidrosis are less likely to sweat and rub off antiperspirant at night.[1] If you aren’t how to choose the right over-the-counter antiperspirant, read up on the active ingredients and talk to your doctor to find a solution.

If you have hyperhidrosis and you are struggling with finding clothes that work for you, know that you are not alone. Many people struggle with this problem and there are effective treatments and solutions to manage your sweat out there.

Sources
  1. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.
  2. Hyperhidrosis. (n.d.). Retrieved April 18, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperhidrosis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20367173
  3. Cherney, K. (n.d.). 6 Hacks for Getting Dressed When You Have Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating). Retrieved April 18, 2019, from https://www.healthline.com/health/diagnosing-hyperhidrosis/tips-for-dressing#1
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