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Keep Your Cool

Sweat happens. Whether you glisten on your face, under your arms, or all over, perspiring is a natural part of life--especially in the South. Read on for some natural ways to beat it.

High and Dry
Antiperspirant or deodorant? Deodorants neutralize and cover odors resulting from the bacteria on the skin breaking down sweat. They do not stop perspiration, making them more ideal for light sweaters.

Look for natural deodorants if you want to avoid chemical additives and aluminum used in many antiperspirants (widely recognized as safe, though some studies call for more research into a link between aluminum and Alzheimer's disease and cancer). Two of our favorites are Alba Clear Enzyme Deodorant and Kiss My Face Active Enzyme Deodorant.

Antiperspirants, by contrast, block sweat pores, most often using aluminum as the active ingredient. Our dermatology expert, Dr. Zoe Draelos, recommends aluminum-based antiperspirants for maximum sweat-fighting power. "Antiperspirants are most effective when applied twice daily, especially at night," says Dr. Draelos.

If you seem to sweat whether in air-conditioning or outdoors in 90-degree weather, you may need to use both an antiperspirant and a deodorant to achieve maximum effectiveness.

Beyond the Stick
High humidity affects your body's ability to do its cooling job (sweating) effectively. If the dog days of summer's bark become worse than your deodorant's bite, consider additional ways to stay dry from head to toe.

The clothing you wear has a lot to do with how much you sweat and your body's reaction to that sweat. Light, loose cotton clothing is the best for everyday wear. It allows your sweat to evaporate, minimizing smell and discomfort. One hundred percent cotton socks retain moisture, however, contributing to blisters.

Dealing with sweat can be as simple as revising your morning routine, starting in the shower. "An antibacterial soap applied to the armpits can decrease odor," says Dr. Draelos. Post-shower, try applying absorbent powder (such as baby powder mixed with a pinch of baking soda) to areas you know will perspire more.

Throughout the day, remember to stay hydrated. Abstaining from sipping won't stop the sweat and could lead to dehydration.

Healthy Benefits
Normal sweat helps to keep your body cool when allowed to evaporate.

Studies prove that the ability to control excessive sweating increases a person's quality of life, especially in women.

"Keep Your Cool" is from the August 2008 issue of Southern Living.