Q: I suffer from chronic sweating and my bog-standard deo isn’t cutting it. I still get embarrassing, sometimes yellowish, patches on my shirt and they’re often accompanied by a pretty bad small. I’m not unhygienic - I shower twice a day - but that doesn’t seem to help matters. What can I do to control the problem short of visiting my GP?
Our expert Ahmed Zambarakji answers your questions below:
A: If market research is anything to go by, you’re not alone in your man shame. According to a survey by toiletries giant Unilever, some 75% of guys are wary of their underarm situations - even adamant anti-groomers admit that sweaty pits are the most offensive social faux pas of all.
The great irony about your pits (and everyone else’s for that matter) is that sweat is actually odourless. It’s only once the nutrient-rich sweat from the apocrine glands comes into contact with bacteria breeding on the surface of the skin that your unique blend of man stink becomes apparent to you and everyone else in the room. Your particular problem of profuse sweating sounds like it might be hyperhidrosis, a condition whereby the body produces more sweat than it needs to maintain body temperature.
The reasons for this kind of heavy sweating can include an imbalance in the bacteria of the gut, an overactive thyroid, an increased metabolic rate or an inability to digest certain foods. Or you could be really overweight. Or you could be necking too many apocrine-gland stimulators such as coffee, which sends your glands into smelly overdrive. But before you run to your GP, you’ll probably find you can manage your problem with the right product.
The first thing to establish is the difference between an anti-perspirant and a deodorant. While the former blocks the secretion of sweat from glands (that’s still a relatively safe job as your underarms constitute just 1% of your total body area), the latter simply masks or neutralises the smell like a sort of body Febreze.
In the 21st century you can get products that are both anti-perspirants and deodorants, like Nivea’s Silver Protect (£1.99 for 250ml). These products can usually keep up with a hardcore session at the gym and unpredictable bouts of ‘stress sweating’, as well as the random outbursts from which you suffer. The formula contains ions, which massacre the bacteria responsible for your pit pong. No sweat.
Find Ahmed at theexfoliator.com
(Image: Rex Features)