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Sweat It Out

By Amalah

Photo by *L*u*z*a* return to nature
Hi Amy,
I am a bridesmaid in a wedding at the end of June and I’m hoping you can help me with a concern I have about, well…sweat. The wedding is in Virginia and considering we just had 90 degree temps in April, I’m guessing the end of June will be pretty toasty as well. The ceremony is going to be outside and will be an hour and a half long! My dress is long and not the lightest fabric and unfortunately I am not one of those lucky girls who never sweats. When it’s hot and especially humid, I pretty much melt and get slimy all over. So here’s my question…do you have any tricks I can try to reduce the sweating or at least keep it from soaking my dress? I would really like to avoid the embarrassment of huge armpit sweat stains or god forbid, ass-crack sweat stains.
Thanks a bunch!

For some unknown reason that I cannot possibly figure out, you people have been submitting a lot of questions about deodorant lately.
(Oh right, this nonsense.)
Despite owning alllll those deodorants, I am by no means a Sweating Expert. In fact, trying all the different brands and (gently! with love! and sprinkles!) mocking their marketing has mostly convinced me that there is very little difference between deodorants.
I personally use — I’m always appalled that it costs almost twice as much as the regular versions but it really does work better. (As do the Secret and Degree clinical versions. They’re really all the exact same product.) So if you’re a sweaty girl and haven’t yet tried one of the clinical strength deodorants, do so. In the winter I can get away with any old stick of anything, but once the humidity and heat creeps up, NO WAY. I AM NOT LIVING LIFE ALL SWEATY EVER AGAIN.
Okay. So back to this wedding day business. Perhaps you already use a clinical or prescription strength deodorant. Perhaps it still fails you under extreme circumstances, and this wedding does sound pretty extreme. (Says the girl who had an outdoor reception in AUGUST on a 100 degree day.) What to do?
First, start fighting it in the shower. So I’m not a big fan of facial scrubs, or at least not the regular daily use of them. But in this case, scrub up the morning off. Get an inexpensive facial scrub — St. Ives Apricot Scrub is a good one — and use it on your face, neck, underarms, chest, back, etc. Anywhere that you know you’re prone to sweat. You’ll slough off any dead excess skin and give your pores a good scrubbing, meaning they’ll be less likely to freak out and produce excess sweat later in the day.
Second, you can use your deodorant for more than just your underarms. Any place you know you’re prone to sweating. Lower back, behind your knees, the crook of your elbows. Allow it to dry THOROUGHLY before getting dressed, and don’t fall for the “more is better” type of application. A thin layer works just as well as a thick, goopy layer — without causing gross stains on your clothing. You can also apply it to your palms right before taking the bouquet and heading down the aisle. An clear unscented version is ideal for this kind of thing.
Don’t neglect your feet. Foot sweat might not cause the embarrassing stains, but I always find that hot sweaty feet tend to make the rest of my body quickly follow suit. Put some baby powder or cornstarch in your shoes to absorb the moisture.

And on that note, powder up your body too
. If your antiperspirant fails mid-ceremony, there’s not much you can do in terms of back-up plans, except to have a thin layer of baby powder/cornstarch already on in hopes of absorbing the moisture before it hits your dress. It’s tough to get right, since you don’t want to LOOK powdery, so maybe start practicing ahead of time to test it out. Use a big powdered makeup brush. Or head to the cosmetic aisle and check out the bronzing powders — if you can find one with a good amount of cornstarch, you might be able to use this on exposed skin and keep the white stuff under your clothes. (A very quick search suggests you might want to check out bronzers from Stila, Tarte, Ecco Bella and Sugar.) The loose mineral powders will probably not be a help, since they don’t contain any talc or talc-like ingredients. My face actually gets more shiny/sweaty when I wear them for long periods of time.
And bring supplies for afterward. Blotting papers for your face, some material for your underarms — tissues or toilet paper aren’t usually enough. Wool actually absorbs sweat beautifully, so if you’ve got an old pair of wool socks you could snip a square from them and hide it in your purse. And remember that *sweat* doesn’t actually stain your clothes — it’s the deodorant, so if you want to reapply it during the day, it’s best to rinse off the old stuff first. Adding more product on top will just increase your chances of ruining your dress.
And lastly, sweating IS healthy. These tips? Sooo not for everyday, particularly the applying antiperspirant all over your body. You need to sweat, and unless we’re talking medical-condition type excess sweating (which I don’t think we are, anyway), you don’t want to stop it completely. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and take a shower as soon as possible afterward to clean out your pores and skin.


Published May 29, 2009. Last updated May 29, 2009.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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