Sweat Too Much? How underarm sweat stains can hold us back and how to prevent sweating from affecting our lives
Sweat Too Much?
How underarm sweat stains can hold us back and how to prevent sweating from affecting our lives
If you have ever had to deal with even a little excessive sweat, there is no getting around having to deal with underarm sweat stains.
And while we know that excessive sweat and sweat stains ruin clothes, few recognize they can ruin your life.
The negative effects of excess sweating can be significant, are numerous, and can reach into many areas of life.
Most people don’t recognize the devastating negative effects of even a little excessive sweating.
For example, have you ever worn a sleeveless linen dress in the heat of summer?
(Side note:IMO, linen is the paparazzi of fabric; it tells all and gives the most unflattering image of you to the world.
But more about fabrics in another post.)
But back to the topic, excessive sweating.
Much like the Butterfly Effect, a little excessive sweating can wreak havoc in many areas of your life.
The far- reaching consequences of underarm sweat or excessive sweating in other areas are seldom recognized or talked about.
And this lack recognition around excessive sweating stifles conversation on this issue making sufferers less likely to seek help due to embarrassment.
Trust us, you are NOT alone.
You might even be shocked to hear what others admit to me about their struggles with excessive sweating in one on one conversations.
But back to my point; sweat stains are a part of life because underarm sweating is a part of life.
Sweating is an important and necessary function of your body.
Trying to eliminate necessary and essential functions from your body will only lead to more complications.
I think the effort to stop sweating is a futile, misplaced effort.
Waging a war against sweat is like trying not to poop for the rest of your life.
(My apologies for being indelicate but the truth isn't always pleasant.)
But I get it.
I grew up down south where just watching the weather report can cause body temperature rises due to the heat and humidity predicted.
I have been fighting this battle to reduce sweating for years.
And I don't even have hyperhidrosis.
I sweat just enough for it to be noticeable.
And that is how I know it is a huge problem.
A little sweat goes a long way.
How many times have I been unable to wear colors or styles due to worry over excessive sweating?
Enough to motivate me to file a patent, that’s how many.
After years of efforts to stop sweating, or even just reduce sweating and get my sweat glands under control, I finally realized a better way to solve the problem with my sweat ducts.
The answer I came to is to stop fighting against my sweat glands and forcing them to sweat less, and start working with my body.
I think a better idea in the battle of body temperature and how to stop sweating is simply to find a way to prevent the sweat stains from showing and ruining our clothes, our social lives and opportunities.
So, who's with me?
Let ’s dive right in.
Let’s get this conversation going by first discussing how overactive sweat glands can impact us and some of the events that trigger excessive sweating.
1)HEAVY SWEATING CAUSES STRESS AND ANXIETY
We all have times in life where we are stressed or anxious and we experience excessive sweating. A first date, a job interview, first day at a new job, or first day in college, you get the idea.
All of these events can all be sweat triggers.
Like a verse right out of Alanis Morrisette’s “Ironic,” excessive sweating in response to stress creates even more stress over the excessive sweating which creates even more stress and sweat.
And just like that, we’ve got ourselves a good ole “Who’s on First?” or “chicken and egg” situation.
But whatever comes first, sweating excessively creates a merry-go-round of symptoms that just don’t stop. Stress creates sweating and sweating creates more stress and so on and so on.
Stress and Sweat are a package deal.
They are joined at the hip.
2006 Brad and Angelina.
Stress and sweat are so tightly linked that even our language reflects this relationship.
We use the word “sweat” as a euphemism for stress in phrases like “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” or “Why are you sweating this guy?”
This merry-go-round of symptoms can go on for weeks…
“Surely, I can find a product to help me with excessive sweating. I have technology in my hand that is better than what put us on the moon so I know they’ve figured out how to reduce sweating.”
Or for months…
“No? Ok, I just know that this athleisure trend is going to be the solution to my problems. I KNOW it.”
It can even go on for years…
“Really y’all? Nothing?!!!?! The fashion industry has NOTHING to help with underarm sweating??!! OMG, if you want anything done, you have to do it yourself. Fine. I’m starting a clothing brand.”
(That’s not exactly the whole story, but I digress…)
And that’s just one symptom on this merry-go-round of how to control excessive sweating.
Next stop is…
2) SWEAT STAINS AFFECT SELF-ESTEEM
Excessive sweat has a negative effect on self-esteem.
It should come as no surprise in this hyper-competitive age where every angle and aspect of our appearance is scrutinized, having a visible issue such as excessive sweating causes sufferers, especially women and teens, to suffer decreased self-esteem as a result.
Often times, we will choose loose fitting clothes, which don't fit well or flatter in order to hide underarm sweat stains.
And wearing ill-fitting clothes also decreases our self-esteem.
I have posted about the link between clothes and our performance. Check it out, "What You Wear Matters."
(And there is much more in this emerging area known as Fashion Psychology that explores how our clothes and style can improve how we see ourselves.)
Decreasing self-esteem is another reason it is important for treating excessive sweating.
Decreased self-esteem naturally negatively impacts our self-confidence.
And while a drop in self-confidence can start out small, it never stays small if left unchecked.
Ironically, the smaller your self-confidence, the bigger the impact to your life.
Low self-confidence snowballs until it turns into a giant force that cannot be ignored.
Lowered self-confidence can manifest in small ways until eventually it turns into bigger issues.
Which brings me to the next way excessive sweating can affect us…
3) EXCESSIVE SWEATING HINDERS SOCIAL INTERACTIONS
As I briefly stated above, when you have to deal with excessive sweating it can hinder our social interactions.
The ways excessive sweating can limit your life is endless.
But a few of the common experiences include experiencing setbacks in dating life, missing opportunities at work, inability to meet new people or join a new club or organization.
It can also hurt your existing relationships if you are too embarrassed to go out with friends or family because of excessive sweating.
A common example is first dates.
The anxiety caused by first dates is natural but when someone suffers from excessive sweating, it compounds the problem to the point it leads many to simply withdraw from dating due to embarassment.
Or maybe you are good at hiding the problem and everything seems fine but then someone moves in a little closer or suggests an activity that would expose the issue. Both of these examples can cause us to shut down, withdraw or decline which others interpret as disinterest.
Websites and organizations dedicated to helping find a solution for excessive sweating offer many testimonials of the devastating effects excessive sweating can cause.
This problem is present in a wide ranges of ages, backgrounds and lifestyles.
4)EXCESS SWEAT AFFECTS CHOICES REGARDING EDUCATION AND CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
Believe it or not, for those who experience excessive sweating it can affect major life events.
This may seem incredible to some but for those who suffer from excessive sweating, but the embarrassment and shame that stems from sweat stains can affect major life events, including career and education opportunities.
One example that kept popping up in anecdotes I read are the “job interview” stories.
Job interviews naturally cause varying levels of stress and anxiety in most people which can trigger your sweat glands to produce excess sweat.
As noted earlier, the excess sweat then causes us to become more stressed and anxious which can definitely affect our performance in a job interview.
It can also affect our confidence and how we present ourselves in the interview.
And this further illustrates how all of these side-effects of excess underarm sweat are linked together causing this merry-go-round of symptoms that is hard to stop.
It isn’t easy to convince someone that we know what we are doing if we aren’t confident in ourselves.
In other words, it’s hard to instill confidence in another person when you have none yourself.
And it is precisely these “paper cuts” in our confidence that eventually lead to much bigger wounds, even the death, of our self confidence.
But what to do about it?
HOW TO STOP SWEATING SO MUCH
Well, there are many solutions on the market but none ever worked for me which is why I ultimately decided on a better way, but we will get to that in a minute.
First, I'll walk through all the options I did try on my journey to my discovery.
Prescription antiperspirants or prescription creams
I first tried the anti-perspirants with insane levels of aluminum chloride and even prescription antiperspirants.
And yes, it did decrease the underarm sweat.
But it also made my underarms itch like the devil so I looked like a monkey scratching my underarms all day.
Not to mention the rash it gave me.
And while it did reduce sweat in my underarms, I still wasn’t able to wear sleeveless designs because of the unsightly rash due to the aluminum chloride.
Plus there was another side effect that I didn’t anticipate.
Since sweating is necessary and vital function of our body, if we clog our sweat glands in one area, it is just going to find another way to escape.
That was was through my back.
I have come to learn that is a VERY common side effect for those trying to reduce excessive sweating.
So now I had broken out, itchy armpits, was scratching like a monkey, AND began to sweat excessively from my back.
Needless to say, this was not the outcome I was looking for.
Next idea please.
Disposable sweat pads
Sweat pads seems like a simple enough solution to help with sweaty armpits and sweat marks.
And at first, it seemed to me the only draw back was that you can’t wear them with sleeveless designs.
But then I tried them.
The placement is all important as you want them to fit well and move with you throughout the day.
Because if they aren’t in the right place, then they can’t absorb sweat.
And in my experience, the adhesive wasn’t strong enough to stick for very long.
This caused the pads to move around, bunch up or just come loose altogether.
Nothing like realizing one of them is missing and hoping this thing didn’t fall out while others noticed but were too embarrassed to tell you that you had something stuck to the bottom of your shirt. Nightmare.
Botox injections and other medical treatments
There is also botox injections and even sweat-gland removal for overactive sweat glands.
I never tried these because I had already learned that by trying to sweat less in one area was much like the cartoon depiction of someone trying to plug a hole in a sinking boat.
These efforts would only produce sweat in another part of my body.
I knew from hard experience that these medical treatments may help control sweating in my underarms but would only create constant sweating somewhere else on my body.
Sweat blocking undergarments.
Tried these too.
And while they do work without severe itching, rashes or re-routing sweat to a different part of the body, I found that this wasn’t the perfect solution either.
They ALL have sleeves in them making sleeveless designs impossible.
None of them have deep necklines meaning I couldn’t wear a plunge neckline without exposing the undergarment.
And I’ll admit, a plunge neckline isn’t something that I wear regularly but this actually made the problem more urgent.
I usually only wear plunge necklines for special occasions or formal occasions, i.e. even more reason you don’t want to show sweat stains.
Also, the undergarment was another layer of clothing, which only made me sweat more due to body heat, especially in the summer.
Plus, the undergarment moved and bunched up under my outer garment, causing my clothes to not fit well.
I found myself constantly pulling, tugging and straightening my clothes.
So rather than rage a losing war, where “winning” means compromising or removing a vital function of your body, or wearing uncomfortable undergarments, I finally decided to stop waiting for someone else to present the solution I had in my head for years.
I decided to do it myself.
And Elizabeth Reagan was born.
And creating sweat-blocking clothes is one of our core reasons for existing.
No more worrying about disposable sweat pads that can get bunched up or come loose.
No more worrying if your undershirt is peeking out from underneath your outfit.
No more extra layers of clothing that only serve to increase body temperature which increases sweating.
No more uncomfortable bunching and wrinkling of your undergarment.
No more worrying if everyone else can see that you are wearing sweat protection.
No more trading underarm sweat for back sweat.
No more worrying about sweat spots on your back or torso.
No more holding back due to embarassment.
Finally a solution that solves all of those problems!
My patent-pending liners are built in to the garment so fit is never an issue.
My liners offer light protection for the whole garment with a moisture wicking fabric with concentrated protection in the underarms to block and absorb moisture.
My liners are light-weight, made with breathable fabric and help keep you cool rather than making you hot.
My liners are part of the garment so there are no more worries about others being able to see if you are wearing sweat protection.
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