sweat week

How to Deal With Ball Sweat, According to Dermatologists

Photo-Illustration: Rob Frogoso for New York Magazine

When it comes to leaving the house in hot weather, dermatologist Dr. Michele Green reminds us of an all-too-relatable scenario: “Walking outside only to be drenched in sweat in some of the most uncomfortable areas moments later.” Anyone who’s experienced ball sweat — and the chafing it can cause — knows it falls at the top of the uncomfortable-areas list. And testicle sweat can result in problems beyond chafing: “The combination of sweat and friction can lead to a fungal infection,” Green adds.

Much like dealing with underboob sweat, experts say the best way to treat and prevent ball sweat may require a combination of things: products to stop sweat, others to prevent chafing, and powders to soak up any extra moisture. But the dermatologists we spoke to note there’s no one-size-fits-all solution: Light sweaters might only need a swipe or two of a product that stops sweat, while the heaviest perspirers among us may benefit from having two or three different things in their arsenal. Below, Green and three other dermatologists share the stuff they recommend for handling testicle sweat. To help you find what you’re looking for, we’ve separated the products into categories based on what they do: stop sweat, prevent (or treat) chafing, and absorb excess moisture.

Best products for stopping ball sweat

The first line of defense against ball sweat is to apply a product that ideally stops it from pooling before any chafing (or worse) starts to occur. This cream-to-powder deodorant recommended by Green is technically not an antiperspirant because it doesn’t contain aluminum (which remains the only FDA-approved ingredient for stopping perspiration), but it does contain a moisture absorbing tapioca starch that she says “provides protection against sweat.” The formula also contains ingredients like macadamia nut oil, vitamin E, and aloe that “soothe the skin,” she adds.

While the Anthony product above can be applied all over the body (including to the testicles), those looking for something specifically formulated for use on balls — or something that’s just more affordable — may prefer this cream-to-powder product recommended by dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman. It’s also aluminum-free and has some of the same ingredients as the Anthony deodorant, including tapioca starch and aloe. But Jaliman notes this also contains colloidal oatmeal to deliver a cool, soothing feel post-application.

Best products for preventing (or soothing) chafing

According to dermatologist Dr. Hadley King, “the groin is particularly vulnerable” to chafing that can occur when sweaty “skin rubs against more skin or clothing.” Two ways to prevent the friction that leads to chafing are to treat hot spots with stuff that helps keep them dry (like the deodorants above or the powders we’ll get to below) and to apply an anti-chafing product that “creates a barrier between your skin and clothing to reduce friction.” To those in the market for a chafe-preventing product, King suggests Body Glide, a swipe-on stick she also recommends for minimizing underboob chafing. It’s best applied after any sweat-stopping deodorant dries. If you’re looking for ways to adapt your wardrobe to prevent ball chafing, King says to seek underwear with “smooth seams to avoid rubbing.”

Dr. Samer Jaber of Washington Square Dermatology says that anyone already experiencing irritation from ball chafing can slather a bit of this diaper-rash cream on their bits in the evening. He told us it soothes and reduces redness on contact, using zinc oxide to create a barrier that protects skin from excess moisture and aloe to calm inflamed areas.

Best powders for absorbing excess moisture

As we mentioned above, the heaviest sweaters may require more than a sweat-stopping product to ensure their groin area stays as dry as possible. That’s where moisture-absorbing powders come in. This one formulated specifically for use down there comes recommended by Jaber, who says “it helps absorb sweat and kills the fungus that can worsen irritation.” It’s not the first powder from Zeasorb we’ve heard about: Lots more dermatologists recommended another powder from the brand to folks dealing with underboob sweat.

While many dermatologists told us Zeasorb powders are safe and effective, their active moisture-absorbing ingredient is talc, which some may want to avoid. Should you be one of those people, Jaliman recommends this body powder. It isn’t specifically made for use on the groin area, but she says it certainly can be, and the product uses zinc oxide to sop up sweat instead of talc. It also contains lavender oil, for those who’d prefer a bit of a scent.

Anyone experiencing itchiness caused by excess moisture should consider this talc-free powder from Gold Bond. As Jaliman explains, it “contains menthol that helps with itch” while also absorbing moisture and eliminating odor.

With additional reporting by Karen Iorio Adelson.

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How to Deal With Ball Sweat, According to Dermatologists