They used to call me “Stanky Bri” in high school because I sweat way more than the average guy. Right about now every year, when the mercury takes its maiden voyage above 90 degrees, I’m reminded of my predisposition to perspire like Albert Brooks in Broadcast News. It’s inappropriate everywhere but Bikram yoga class, in which I can drop 10 pounds of water weight in 90 minutes. My instructor recently requested that I purchase a thicker towel, after fellow practitioners complained that the pond of perspiration encircling my mat was encroaching upon theirs.
Of course, normal sweating is natural and serves to regulate body temperature. Excess sweating on the other hand (aka hyperhidrosis), which affects me and 3 percent of the human population, indicates an overactive cooling mechanism in the body that can produce up to five times the amount of sweat actually needed.
In other words, it can be really embarrassing to be Stanky Bri.
Which is why I was delighted when, in the process of reporting a recent story about the wife beater T-shirt, I came across Tug Samarreta, a middle-aged Midwesterner who proudly bills himself as “one of the most knowledgeable individuals on sweat-management solutions in the world.” Over the last decade, in fact, Samarreta has helped hundreds of similarly stanky guys develop game plans to discreetly sop up their sudor.
His initial advice seemed obvious (to this sweaty guy at least): Drink water; avoid caffeine and spicy food; wear light clothes that breathe well and dry fast; keep extra towels in your trunk along with an emergency change of clothes; and so on. But alas, I pressed him further — after all, not all stank is the same! Nor does it come from the same places. So I asked him for best practices on mitigating disaster in various “hot zones” throughout the male body. Here’s what he had to say…
If your pit sweat isn’t too severe, Samarreta recommends switching to a thin, lightweight undershirt with a blend of wicking and absorbing characteristics. For more excessive pitting, go with fortified tees like Kleinerts, Sweatshield or The Thompson Tee.
If that doesn’t work, try one or more of the following:
- Underarm pads: Disposable adhesive “dress shields” designed to prevent sweat through.
- Seven-day antiperspirant: Strong and effective, but can burn sensitive skin.
- Medicated antiperspirant wipes: Apply weekly, and dab under arms before bed.
- Iontophoresis: A machine delivers mild electrical currents to the armpit to temporarily block sweat; requires five to twenty consecutive days of treatment at home, each lasting about 30 minutes.
- Miradry: Using an non-invasive handheld device, a doctor eliminates sweat glands by delivering electromagnetic energy beneath underarm skin.
- Laser treatments: A doctor focuses a narrow laser beam to destroy underarm sweat glands.
- Botox: “Turns off” sweating in injection areas.
To manage core sweat, Samarreta says to closely trim chest hair with a beard trimmer; keep antiperspirant wipes on hand to target hot zones; and invest in a drawerful of undershirts with sweat-blocking fabric.
Applying an antiperspirant wipe along the forehead is a good place to start, though Samarreta cautions you should apply it regularly even if not doing strenuous activity. Alternatively, wear a hat specifically designed to manage scalp perspiration, like Headsweats or Nosweat.
Hands and Feet
Stanky paws can be similarly treated, Samarreta says, with the aforementioned iontophoresis and antiperspirant wipes like Sweatblock or Kleinerts. Wash your stanky feet daily with antibacterial soap and make sure to get between your toes. Wool and cotton socks are best for ventilation, while nylon traps moisture and leads to sogginess. For shoes, stick with something breathable like canvas.
Re: swamp ass, Samarreta suggests reading this article first, which explains how bacteria causes odor, not sweat. Clothes-wise, think tight for underwear and baggy for pants (i.e., sweat-blocking boxer briefs and linen pants). Then invest in antiperspirant wipes, talc and chassis for men and apply generously.
Manscaping is key to managing a leaky undercarriage, Samarreta notes. For the pubes, like with your chest, use a beard trimmer on a close setting. Keeping the scrotum free of hair can be both liberating and dehumidifying, he says, and advises using a regular razor and soap and water — with extra care, of course. Cause sweaty balls are still better than bloody ones.