Still sweating even though it's cold? How to combat body odour and sweat patches

We expect to sweat in summer, but the feeling of sweating in your jumper in the colder months is pretty grim.

No one wants to show up to the office with sweat patches – or be paranoid that you aren’t smelling too great.

So how do you combat natural body odours and sweat stains, even in the colder months?

We spoke to Alistair Finch, co-founder of SANS, a natural deodorant brand, to answer that exact question.

Let yourself sweat

Let’s get this straight. Sweating may be annoying but it’s definitely not a bad thing.

Alistair tells ‘People often assume that sweat is an awful thing which needs to be avoided, and that deodorant should completely eradicate any hint of it.

‘Sweating is actually a bodily necessity – it helps us equalise, regulate our temperature, and get rid of toxins that have made their way into our system.

‘If we were to eradicate any sweat, that wouldn’t be normal or healthy.

‘Normal deodorants – the ones you find in pharmacies – are full of chemicals which can clog the pores under your arms and make it impossible for your body to sweat the way it’s supposed to.

‘Natural deodorants work to eliminate body odour, and stop bacteria from mixing with salt and water on the skin, but they actually allow your body to eliminate toxins the way it should.’

Have that morning shower

So how do you combat the smell, even if it is natural? It’s pretty self-explanatory, you just have to be strict with it.

Alistair says: ‘Often people struggle with smelling around their groin, feet and many other areas as well as the armpits.

‘The best way to eliminate odour is actually to bathe or shower on a daily basis – simple good hygiene should be enough to keep bad smells at bay.’

See a dermatologist

If you really feel you’re doing everything right, but you’re still conscious that you don’t smell great, then seeing a professional could do the trick.

Alistair says: ‘If you do this but continue to smell, I recommend seeing a dermatologist who can determine whether you have a condition which causes you to sweat or smell excessively.’

Keep your deodorant to hand

It’s probably a good life hack to keep a little emergency kit with you throughout the day, and it should definitely include a deodorant.

‘Sweat barely turns into an odour to begin with – our arms, face, legs and stomach don’t smell, so applying a good natural deodorant to the areas which do sweat should be enough to reduce any possibility of smell,’ says Alistair.

‘We should also feel comfortable to take our deodorants out with us and not feel embarrassed about using them – reapplying throughout the day is never a bad idea.

‘Every person should have a clean and sustainable deodorant they can pull out their bags wherever they are in case they need to top up.’

Natural deodorant vs chemical deodorant

Picking the right deodorant for you is more than just a preventative measure, it’s a form of self-care.

When it comes to deodorant a lot of people don’t think about what they’re putting on their skin – unlike the products you apply to your face.

Alistair says: ‘Natural alternatives do take time for your body to adjust to, if you’ve been using a normal chemical deodorant for years.

‘They can actually make your odour and perspiration worse to start with – and it may feel like they’re not working.

‘It’s actually just the transition period. It’s very common and completely normal, but of course can be uncomfortable.

‘Winter is a better time to go for it, as you’re sweating less in colder weather. It usually takes around three to four weeks for the body to regulate itself when making the change, but for some people this may be shorter.’

How to keep your underarms in the best condition possible:

1. Deodorise regularly 

Use a natural deodorant with irritant free ingredients, like the Grapefruit, Orange & Rosemary scent from SANS – which only uses ingredients like shea butter, candelilla wax, arrowroot extract, and barley seed flour. The formula will soothe the skin under your arms, and reduce any friction throughout the day. 

2. Clean the area daily 

Use a gentle body wash to help with odour in the area, especially if someone is sensitive to products. When you shave the area, go for a gentle, non-abrasive exfoliant before shaving and never shave on dry skin. Always use a shaving gel and then moisturise the area after shaving. This will hydrate and prevent post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

3. Exfoliate

If you remove the hair in this area, or not, it is important to rid it of bacteria and dead skin cells. You can choose from a range of physical exfoliants, also known as scrubs, or chemical exfoliants and active ingredients in liquid form such as glycolic and salicylic acids. Regular exfoliation of the underarm can help prevent ingrown hairs, product build-up and facilitates skin regeneration. However, over-exfoliating can cause serious damage and irritation to the skin, so stick to a maximum of two to three times a week if using a scrub and every other day if using chemical exfoliants. 

4. Hydrate and moisturise

For most of us, the underarm doesn’t come first, second or even third when thinking about skin areas to moisturise. Make applying your favourite body cream to the underarm skin part of your post-shower skincare routine. Like any other areas of skin on the body, the underarm is prone to dryness and irritation, even more so if using any hair removal method, antiperspirants and deodorants. 

5. Massage the area

The underarm is home to lymph nodes, glands that provide vital support to the immune system. Lymphatic drainage is a form of massage that relieves swelling of these glands and regulates their functions. You can try lymphatic drainage massages yourself at home in a few easy steps or visit a professional for a more thorough session.

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