How to stop sweating through shirts

Woman with underarm sweat stains

We’ve all been there: you go to an important meeting, first date, social event, etc and everything is going great until... you start feeling the sweat coming through your shirt.

Whether it's hot or cold outside, sometimes our body temperature gets all out of whack and next thing we know, we've got sweat stains.


If this sounds like a familiar scenario for you, then don't worry - I'm here to help!

In this blog post, I'll be sharing with you some practical tips on how to stop sweating through shirts and how to keep your clothes dry no matter what.

So put away those embarrassing stained shirts; let's get ready for success without the sweat!

This is not the same old tired advice

Before we get to the good stuff on how to prevent armpit sweat stains, I want you to know that this is NOT going to be the same solutions for armpit sweat that you are tired of hearing.

I have provided a list of common "solutions" for excessive sweating I have found to be ineffective.

Why am I listing all the things that DON'T work?

So that you know that I know what you are going through.

I think many who write about how to stop sweating through shirts, or dealing with excessive sweating have never actually dealt with it.

I am in this fight with you.

And here I am.... on the internet, telling all about an embarrassing problem so you know I am in your corner and working to bring the BEST solution to you.

Ok, first on the "This isn't a real solution" list...

Natural fabrics/ breathable fabrics

While these are certainly a PART of the solution for anyone who is looking to tame their sweat glands, it is not a stand-alone answer.

You see, clothing made with breathable fabric and other natural fabrics still ABSORB SWEAT.

So while they may jolly well help keep your body temperature down on hot days, they do absolutely nothing to prevent sweat stains.

To be honest, I avoid linen like the plague.

Linen and cotton are both natural and breathable but neither block sweat stains from showing up on my clothes.

As a matter of fact, they actually make my sweat stains more noticeable since they are just busy soaking up underarm sweat.

And once a sweat stain has set in, the discoloration isn't far behind.

Whether its the yellow sweat stains on white/light colored clothing or the dark, gray stains on other colors, discoloration is another way underarm sweating can ruin our clothes.

Now my clothes show sweat stains even if I am not sweating due to the discoloration.

This is NOT a solution in my book.

Avoid spicy foods

Another useless piece of advice in my opinion.

I am not saying that spicy foods don't cause some people to sweat, therefore it causes them to have sweat stains.

I AM saying that if you have a problem with sweaty pits, cutting out tikka masalas isn't going to revolutionize your sweat glands.

I am looking for a solution that allows me to wear a dress shirt without having to worry about sweat marks.

I knew this wasn't the solution I was looking for the minute I saw it.

How did I know? Glad you asked.

Simple, I would sweat even if all I had to eat was celery and mashed potatoes.

To say these either of these is not a spicy food is an understatement.

Not that I eat that particular combo of food, but my point is this; it wasn't my diet that was causing the excessive sweating so my diet was not going to prevent sweating either.

Wear loose clothing

It's advice like this that makes me yell at my computer screen.

Really? That's your big solution?

Like I didn't already think of that?

Again, I concede that wearing loose fitting clothes can certainly help.

Obviously, shirts that aren't super fitted around your arms and allow for greater air circulation and can help when sweating through shirts.

But only minimally.

And I love a baggy top, every once in a while.

Just not every single day.

I am not a bag lady.

Everyone, and I do mean everyone, looks better in clothes that fit them well.

No one looks their best in clothes that fit like potato sacks.

Not only that, I keep going back to dress shirts.

Heaven help me, I love them.

I not only like wearing button-up dress shirts (seeing as how they have been a closet staple forever), but I also need to wear them when wearing suits.

So the radical "just wear loose clothing" advice doesn't really work on a practical level.

Wear dark clothing

This is very similar to the very frustrating and mind-numbing piece of advice above.

And for very similar reasons.

What if I am feeling happy one day and want to wear (gasp) pink?

What if I don't want to put out the Darth Vader vibe every single day of my life?

What then?

Some days demand that yellow top. Or a white dress shirt. Or a baby blue turtleneck.

Is being able to wear colors without embarrassing sweat stains too much to ask out of this life?

I don't think so.

Bring a change of clothes

Just no.

I know some people do it and in dire circumstances I have changed clothes as well.

I don't think I need to explain why this isn't a long term solution for sweat.

If you have a problem sweating through shirts, then stressful situations are made worse if you feel the need to change clothes to stay dry.

The object here is to not draw attention to your excessive sweating.

Guess what changing clothes during the day does?

Draws attention to yourself and makes you even more self conscious.

So... What DO I recommend to keep you from sweating through shirts?

Luckily, there are plenty of solutions on the market that may work for those who are looking to reduce perspiration and extend the life of their wardrobe.

And we saved the best for last.

So read until the end to see our favorite solution to block embarrassing underarm sweat stains.

Let's dive in to see what works best so you can stop sweating through shirts.

Specialty Antiperspirant/ Deodorant

Many people find this helps their sweat problem.

This type of antiperspirant is high in the active ingredient aluminum chloride which works to block sweat ducts in the underarm.

And since it blocks the sweat in the underarm, sweat can no longer exit the body through the skin in this area.

However, some people have discovered there are drawbacks to this solution.

When you stop sweating in your underarms, sweat will simply find another way to exit the body through the skin in a different area.

This "different area" is usually the back.

So instead of armpit sweat, you now have to deal with sweat and moisture on your back.

Aluminum chloride is also known to make some peoples' skin break out in super itchy rashes.

Itchy armpits from aluminum chloride

Another undesirable side effect from this type of antiperspirant.

Sweating or insanely itchy armpits

Not much of a choice if you ask me.

And anyone who has ever attended outdoor events on hot summer days (Hello Clemson tailgating and football), then you know that sweating through shirts can happen on your back as well as your underarms.

And it is no less embarrassing.

Sweat marks are sweat marks no matter where they show up.

While this product has worked for some, it wasn't the solution I had hoped it would be.

So I kept looking.

And found....

Underarm pad

sweater with underarm sweat pads

A sweat pad is another solution that has worked for many people.

Sweat pads are disposable pads that you attach to shirts, usually by adhesive, to block sweat from being absorbed by the outer layer of clothing.

By blocking sweat, they also block yellow stains.

Some women I know have even used panty liners as underarm pads to prevent sweat stains.

I have never had any luck going this route to block my sweat ducts.

I was never able to get a good fit with the underarm pads in my clothing.

And by "good fit" I mean finding an underarm pad that stuck to my shirts without coming loose, provided a good size area of coverage so I didn't have to wear half a dozen of them and wasn't visible from the outside of my shirts.

Because, as you can see by my criteria, a poor fit in my shirts would lead to poor performance.

The pads would not stick well, they would bunch up and become incredibly uncomfortable.

And when they were all bunched up they ceased to block the perspiration.

I've even had a few come dislodged and fall out of my shirt.

So, now I've got another reason to feel self conscious- there's a weird looking scrunched up pad stuck to my hemline or cuff. Awesome.

At any rate, this was also not the solution I had been waiting on either.

Antiperspirant wipes

I have never actually used these because the specialty antiperpsirant/deodorant never worked for me and these wipes use the same active ingredients.

Basically, these wipes are made for people who struggle with excessive perspiration in other areas of their body and wipes are an easy way to apply the product.

For example, foot sweat.

If you struggle withs sweaty feet, then you may find a wipe is much easier to apply, and you are able to get more coverage than with a traditional stick of antiperspirant.

Botox and Sweat Gland Removal

underarm injections

Another solution for those who have more sweat than they want.

One way to protect your dress shirts (and other shirts too for that matter) is to have Botox injections.

Sweat gland removal is another, more extreme and more expensive, option.

Again, I have never tried either one of these and here's why.

For starters, Botox isn't permanent and therefore requires regular injections to control sweaty armpits. So it gets expensive.

Also, while Botox has been tested and is considered safe, we don't know the long term effects of blocking sweat from one area of the body.

Don't misunderstand me, I am not a perfectionist or a strict purist like some women are over this kind of treatment.

Some people would NEVER consider injections.

I am not that person.

But I am generally conscious of my health and I also acknowledge that while sweat has unpleasant effects on my wardrobe, it is a necessary bodily function.

It is one of the main ways our bodies detox.

I don't want to keep toxins trapped in my body for extended periods of time if I can help it.

I don't mind toxins being released, I just don't want them showing up on my clothes.

To prevent sweating isn't my goal; to prevent sweat stains IS.

Then there is the same issue that is present with specialty antiperspirant.

Sweat and moisture aren't eliminated entirely, just blocked from exiting through the skin in one area of our body.

Ultimately, sweat finds its way out in another area which is usually through the back.

I have known people, both men and women, who have had these procedures and they all report that they sweat profusely from their backs as a result of these treatments.

This is not a solution in my book.

Sweat Blocking Undergarments

There are many brands who offer undergarment shirts to help block moisture and sweat.

These are made with technical fabrics and are a staple in your wardrobe if you ever want to wear cotton or linen fabric again.

Many of those who want to wear dress shirts confidently have found wearing these undergarments are lifesavers.

I have tried these and while I was impressed with their effectiveness, it STILL wasn't the perfect solution.

Let me explain.

For starters, another layer of clothing only caused my own body temperature to increase.

More clothes equals more sweat, especially in the summer.

It was just uncomfortable with layers of fabric on and I felt like my skin needed to breathe.

Second, every one of these undershirts have sleeves.

For women who want to wear sleeveless designs, an undergarment with sleeves is not a solution.

And yes, you can have sweat stains in sleeveless designs.

Third, these undergarments did not accommodate lower necklines or a few buttons left undone at the top to give an open shirt option.

I found wearing V-necks or leaving buttons open at the top of a dress shirt wasn't possible without revealing I was wearing an undershirt not to mention it just didn't look good.

And lastly, when wearing dress shirts, it was obvious that I was wearing an undershirt.

Not a huge deal if you are a man because men usually wear undershirts.

But this is not a look most women are comfortable with.

Discretion is key.

So you must be wondering, if none of these products live up to my expectations, what could possibly satisfy my standards for a product that would help me stop sweating through shirts.

It's like the old saying goes, "If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself."

So I did.

I got busy experimenting and created my own line of sweat-proof dress shirts.

Finally, a sweat proof dress shirt

Elizabeth Reagan sweat-proof shirt

You read that right!

A line of women's dress shirts that have an integrated liner that blocks sweat stains.

This means:

-No more trading underarm sweat for back sweat.

-No more itchy underarms.

-No more ill-fitting armpit pads.

-No more expensive treatments that only block sweat in one area while increasing it in another.

-No more bulky undergarments that make you hot, uncomfortable and limit your wardrobe choices.

Our dress shirts have "Built in" liners that:

-Assure good fit and therefore increased performance.

-Are not visible from the outside of the garment so no one knows you are wearing protection.

-Allow your skin to breathe while preventing sweat stains from showing.

-Have reinforced sweat shields in the underarm area to block sweat marks.

-Allow you to wear properly fitted styles without worry of embarrassing stains; no more baggy clothes to hide the problem.

-Are lightweight, moisture-wicking and help keep your back and torso cool and dry too!

Here is an interior view of the shirt you see me wearing in the above photo

Interior of Elizabeth Reagan  Sweat-proof shirt

Don't panic. This was just a prototype. The black shields that preventing sweating (well prevent the stains...) will match the liner in your shirt.

But I was so excited that I had to show you.

Break out the champagne ladies!!

champagne toast

We FINALLY have a solution to this problem!

I could NOT be more excited!

I am going to be offering pre-sales soon for our first Classic White Button-Up so sign up for our newsletter here so you don't miss this!

For the guys!

If you are interested in having this in men's styles too, let me know!

Sign up for the newsletter, DM me on Instagram or drop a line into my email.

Get excited!

This is happening!!

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