The arrival of summer brings sunshine, warm weather, and wedding season — but it also brings sweat. If you’re hosting or heading to a summer outdoor wedding, whether you’re part of the happy couple or a guest, you’re probably already wondering how you’ll keep perspiration at bay. While sweat is totally natural (and means your body is working properly!), that doesn’t mean it’s welcome. Odors, stains, wet spots, and damp brows do not fit into any wedding dress codes! The good news is that sweating, whether it’s just a little bit or a more serious condition called hyperhidrosis, can be addressed with the help of a dermatologist.
These expert-approved tips will help you feel (and smell!) fresh at your summer outdoor wedding.
Choose the right ingredients.
“I typically recommend antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride, aluminum zirconium or other aluminum salts, which work by entering the pores and reducing the outflow of sweat,” says Dr. Y. Claire Chang of Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City. “One of my go-to antiperspirants is Secret Clinical Strength Invisible Solid Antiperspirant and Deodorant, which contains aluminum zirconium for antiperspirant effect, skin conditioners to help moisturize and protect the skin, and odor absorbers to help with body odor.”
Make your antiperspirant work.
More than just applying the product, how you apply your antiperspirant will impact how effective it is. “Apply the antiperspirants on dry skin, which allows more of the aluminum product to enter the sweat pores and do its work,” says Dr. Chang. “If applying antiperspirants just once a day, the best time to apply it is at nighttime, when the underarm skin is the driest.”
Look for looser, natural fabrics.
Wearing synthetic garments and tight-fitting silhouettes to a summer outdoor wedding can cause you to sweat more, so now’s the time to splurge on natural fabrics (like silk!). These fabrics will breathe better than synthetics, and a looser shape will allow air flow around your body.
Don't forget your back!
Armpits aren’t the only part of your body that sweats. If you experience back sweat, topical antiperspirants can be applied (with help to access those hard-to-reach places!). Says Dr. Chang, “Many topical antiperspirants now come in spray or wipe forms, such as Dove Men+ Care Dry Spray, which may be easier to apply over a large surface area.”
Try extra-strength antiperspirants.
“A good place to start is with an extra-strength product such as Dove Clinical Protection or Certain Dri,” says Dr. Reena Jogi, MD, FAAD of Village Dermatology in Houston, Texas. “These have a higher concentration of aluminum chloride than most other over the counter preparations.” Expect to see results from these products within one to two weeks. “There are some limitations to extra-strength, non-prescription products,” says Dr. Arash Akhavan, MD, FAAD of The Dermatology & Laser Group in New York City. “Some patients do experience irritation or stinging, and these products do not work for everyone.”
Consider prescription options.
“If extra-strength products don’t help, see a dermatologist about prescription topical preparations of aluminum chloride,” says Dr. Jogi. “These can be applied to the axillae (armpits), on the palms, and on the soles of the feet.” Some people can also tolerate these creams on their forehead or brow, but most find it too irritating for the face. Drysol, a 20 percent aluminum chloride topical solution, is one Dr. Chang typically prescribes. “I instruct my patients to apply Drysol several times a day initially, tapering down to once every few days over the course of one to two months, so this treatment should be considered a few months before your wedding day.” A new option to discuss with your dermatologist is Qbrexza, a medicated wipe that contains glycopyrronium, an anticholinergic drug. “Qbrexza is designed to prevent your body’s nervous system from communicating with and activating sweat glands,” says Dr. Chang. Dr. Akhavan has also seen good initial results with Qbrexza. “My patients so far are reporting that Qbrexza works well, with minimal to no side effects.”
Ask about injections.
“Injections of botulinum toxin (Botox, Dysport, and Jeuveau) can dramatically help with sweating,” says Dr. Jogi. “It can be done in the forehead area, on the scalp, in the armpits, on the palms, and on the soles.” She recommends doing this at least once before your summer outdoor wedding to figure out how your body will respond, and then schedule a follow-up treatment for about a month before your wedding day to allow any bruising to heal. “I have also used Botox to help my patients with hyperhidrosis under the chest area,” says Dr. Chang. Results will last about four to six months. “Scheduling treatment for just over a month before your wedding day also allows for enough time for the injections to take effect (which can take one to two weeks), as well as to have a follow-up treatment if needed,” says Dr. Akhavan.
Fight underarm sweat with microwave technology.
miraDry is a microwave technology that permanently reduces sweating. “It is currently only approved for use in the underarm area,” says Dr. Jogi. Dr. Chang also recommends miraDry as a noninvasive treatment. “It uses thermal energy to heat and permanently destroy sweat glands, and has been FDA-approved and in use since 2011. Treatment typically takes about an hour, and most patients experience little to no discomfort during the treatment due to the local anesthesia used to numb the area,” Dr. Chang describes. And the results? “miraDry results in an average of over 80 percent reduction in underarm sweat, with immediate and permanent results.” You may require up to three total treatments, spaced three months apart, so talk to your doctor about this option six to nine months before your summer outdoor wedding.
Discuss prescription medications with a professional.
If you have a tendency for diffuse hyperhidrosis or experience significant sweating in multiple areas of the body, see your dermatologist about a prescription oral medication. “These medications tend to block the part of the nervous system that mediates sweating, and most people tolerate them very well,” says Dr. Jogi. “Again, if you are seeking treatment in advance of a major event like a wedding, see your doctor well in advance so you can dial in the proper dose.”