Considering your groin might feel overheated on the coolest of days, these summer months can lead to a level of swampiness that’s downright nasty. For the most part, we just do our best to ignore it, but ball sweat is very real and can nearly ruin an otherwise perfect summer day.
To understand why summer makes your groin region so damp, let’s talk about what’s going on when your balls sweat in the first place. “[Some] sweat glands are called apocrine sweat glands, and they’re located near hair follicles, which means they’re present in the underarms, groin, and scalp,” explains Dr. Rajani Katta, author of Glow: The Dermatologist’s Guide to a Whole Foods Younger Skin Diet. These glands produce sweat that’s both thicker and stinkier than regular sweat, which is why your basement always seems to have a more pungent odor than your living room. (These glands are also located in your butt crack, which would be… your two-car garage, I guess?)
As for what causes the overheating and resulting sweatiness, dermatologist Anthony Rossi has previously explained to us that, “The perineal area is one of those places on the body that sweats more than others. Science isn’t exactly sure why that is, but there’s certainly not much ventilation, and there’s a lot of frictional heat caused by your butt cheeks rubbing together.”
As much friction as those cheeks make, though, they’re still relatively static when compared with the skin on and around your balls, which stretches and folds and rubs together as you walk or exercise. Not only does this generate heat (think about the old trick of rubbing a stick really fast to make a campfire), it traps all that sweat the skin is churning out to combat the warmth.
Add to this the naturally increased temperatures of summer, and your shorts become a sort of moist oven where the hot air and your sweat circulate rather than escape. As well as chafing, which can lead to a rash or worse, it also makes a perfect breeding ground for bacterial and fungal infections, a.k.a. jock itch. So if your balls get extra sweaty in the summer, you need to take extra care to take care of them.
First and foremost, you want to keep things as dry as possible. It’s probably not a good idea to plug the apocrine glands in your groin region with antiperspirant, as you would with your armpits, but you can apply something to help absorb all that unwanted moisture (may we recommend our legendary Ball Spray?) It also helps to change your underwear any time you feel them getting a little clammy, and if the area is already irritated, Rossi suggests using a zinc oxide paste, which can soothe the skin and prevent it from drying out (a side effect of too much moisture, weirdly enough).
If all else fails, just spend summer sitting in an ice bucket. It’s not stupid if it works!