Ew! Beauty: Boob Sweat

How to prevent + treat it

Illustrated by Liz Riccardi

Let’s face it: Along with summer’s heat, humidity, and other sweat-inducing qualities comes a ton of gross beauty problems. From dry, cracked feet to ingrown hairs and chafing, there’s a lot that can hold you back from living the confident poolside life you’re destined to lead. But don’t worry—we’re talking to experts about how to fix them. Welcome to Ew! Beauty.

It's mid-July, and you're walking to go meet your friends. The temperature seems unseasonably warm, and you're starting to heat up. Then you feel it: A tiny bead of sweat runs down to your stomach, and you know it's just the beginning. Your chest is about to become Niagara Falls, and it seems like there's not much you can do about it. We've all been there, and we all will inevitably be there again.

Sweating isn't bad. In fact, it's actually good for you: It flushes your system, releases toxins, and works to cool down your body. But, as we all know, it can leave you smelling somewhat unfavorable, sticky, and generally uncomfortable, especially when it pops up in unexpected places—like under your breasts. While it may not feel like a natural place for sweat to form, it's completely normal. "Sweat accumulates anyplace there is skin on skin—under heavy breasts and in other skin creases," says Dr. Heidi Waldorf. "Because the skin is in contact with other skin, the sweat can't evaporate." 

While our body may produce sweat for a reason, there are ways to prevent it from occurring in certain places on an everyday basis. Wearing loose-fitting, breathable clothing will help your body stay cool. If you're exercising, opt for moisture-wicking fabrics that divert perspiration away from your body. "If you sweat heavily in that area all the time, try using Dove Dry Antiperspirant Spray after showering on the affected skin," Dr. Waldorf advises. Dove claims the formula can protect you from sweat for up to 48 hours, depending on activity and the environment. If profuse sweating is still an ongoing concern, Dr. Waldorf suggests booking an appointment with your dermatologist to see if receiving Botox injections for hyperhidrosis, a medical condition that causes one to sweat excessively, is right for you.

Aside from creating stains on shirts and not feeling great, sweating can sometimes cause serious problems. "Moisture in skin folds can lead to irritation, inflammation, and infection. The most common condition is intertrigo, which presents as redness with moist scale," says Dr. Waldorf. If you are suffering from intertrigo, you can treat the area with Triple Paste, Desitin, or 1 percent hydrocortisone creams twice a day. Got pustules (heat rash)? That's probably a yeast infection, which, along with fungal infections, can be treated with over the counter anti-yeast or antifungal creams. Consult your dermatologist if the problem gets worse, and make sure to stop any topical treatments a few days before your appointment so your doctor can perform an accurate culture.

While it sounds terrifying, boob sweat—and any excessive sweating in atypical areas—isn't a problem as long as you take care of it. The best way to prevent problems like this from occurring is to make sure to clean the skin after sweating. "Normal cleansing with Dove body wash is fine," says Dr. Waldorf. "The key is to make sure the area is dry afterward."

Stay dry, friends.