Anyone who’s ever gotten dressed for work in a muggy gym changing room following an early morning workout knows that the experience is nightmarish. Pulling on a shirt over clammy skin is the worst, and the sweat that keeps trickling down your back comes direct from the (arm)pit of hell itself.
So how do you stop your body from wringing itself out like an old sponge? We spoke to our friendly dermatologist Dr. Anthony Rossi, and we’ve ranked his advice in order of your sweating severity…
The Regular, Everyday, Annoying-As-Hell Post-Gym Sweats
Rossi is quick to point out that sweating is actually healthy, and if you’re not sweating much while exercising, you need to drink more water. With that out the way, how do the healthily hydrated among us hold the sweat at bay long enough to not soak through our shirts?
The main thing is getting the temperature of your shower right. “You don’t need an ice bath,” Rossi explains. “Try a tepid, lukewarm shower.” The logic here is simple: You sweat when your internal thermostat perceives the outside temperature as notably warmer than your body. If you spend five minutes freezing yourself, your body will register the locker room as being overly warm in comparison, and start sweating to cool you down. If your shower is at room temperature, you’ll sweat less when you step out. Patting dry with your towel rather than rubbing dry also helps you cool down, as it involves less friction.
The More Extreme, Can’t-Seem-To-Stop-Sweating-Hours-Afterwards Sweats
If you notice that you’re still sweating a lot, even once back under the air conditioning, you can try a medical-grade antiperspirant. “There is a prescription deodorant that contains 20 percent aluminum chloride,” says Rossi (your average antiperspirant contains around 15 percent). “We give that to people who have chronic hyperhidrosis [literally, abnormal levels of sweat, beyond that necessary for cooling], and who have excessive sweating not just while working out but in everyday situations.”
The Help-Me-I-Just-Drowned-A-Family-Of-Squirrels-In-My-Armpits Sweat
If your body constantly resembles a tropical jungle in rainy season, you may want to consider the nuclear option: Plastic surgery. “For excessive sweating, we can do Botox for the area,” Rossi says. “It shuts down the sweating mechanism because it interrupts the neurotransmitter that causes you to sweat. For people who sweat excessively under the arms or on the palms of their hands, we inject Botox into that area to calm it down.”
An injection of botulism into the armpit should, of course, be considered a last resort, so in the meantime, try taking a nice lukewarm shower instead. Your armpits will thank you.