sweat week

How to Deal With Underboob Sweat, According to Dermatologists

Photo-Illustration: Rob Frogoso for New York Magazine

While sweating anywhere on your body isn’t exactly pleasant, underboob sweat can be particularly icky. It happens not because this area necessarily sweats more than the rest of the body — rather, moisture tends to get trapped where your breasts meet your torso. “The skin hangs and folds on itself, leaving less air to evaporate the sweat,” explains dermatologist Dr. Rachel Nazarian. Wedge a bra band in between those folds of skin and it’s not uncommon to wind up with chafing and irritation from the wet fabric rubbing up against you.

If you’re not ready to (or can’t) go braless, dermatologist Dr. Amanda Doyle of the Russak Dermatology Group says one way to prevent underboob sweat and any resulting discomfort is to “wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing and underwear made of cotton,” which “reduces sweating and prevents sweat from being trapped under heavier garments.” But even with the right bra (or without one), underboob sweat can still occur, which is why treating it with a combination of products can be a more effective solution, say our experts. Depending on how much you sweat, they suggest a multipronged approach: anti-perspirants to stop sweat, products to ease friction and prevent chafing, and other stuff to soak up any moisture that may seep through. Below, Nazarian, Doyle, and eight other dermatologists share the things they recommend for stopping underboob sweat and minimizing any discomfort it can cause. Although the heaviest sweaters among us may require a three-product solution, the dermatologists note that some people may just require something that stops chafing, say, or an item that absorbs excess moisture. To help you find what you’re looking for, we’ve separated the products into categories based on what they do — stopping sweat, reducing chafing, and absorbing excess moisture — and, where applicable, we begin each section with anything we heard about the most.

Best anti-perspirants for stopping underboob sweat

As Nazarian explains, “topical anti-perspirants are fair game to use in this area.” Although this means you could theoretically apply whatever anti-perspirant you use on your pits to the skin under your breasts, she says you should be mindful of “using one that’s unlikely to irritate the delicate skin” there. Both Nazarian and dermatologist Dr. Heidi Waldorf say that Dove’s alcohol-free anti-perspirants are gentle enough for the task, in part because they contain moisturizing ingredients that soothe skin while the product works to stop sweat. Anyone worried about using an anti-perspirant with aluminum near their breasts should not be, according to Waldorf. “Despite rumors that abound, anti-perspirant ingredients like aluminum chlorohydrate are safe and not carcinogenic,” the doctor says.

For those who would prefer something to spray on instead of swipe on, Waldorf recommends this Dove anti-perspirant. The formula is similar to the Dove stick’s but is delivered in the form of a lightweight spray.

Anyone interested in a heavier-duty anti-perspirant should consider these clinical-strength SweatBlock anti-perspirant wipes. They come recommended by dermatologist Dr. Morgan Rabach of LM Medical NYC, who explains that their “active ingredient is 14 percent aluminum chloride.” Unlike traditional anti-perspirants, the wipes need to be applied only once a week at night to keep the area dry for up to seven days.

Best products for preventing (or soothing) underboob chafing

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The experts say that people who experience friction caused by their bras may want to apply a chafe-reducing product to the area after any anti-perspirant has set in. Dermatologist Dr. Hadley King recommends the Body Glide stick, which she says “works well to create a barrier between your skin and workout clothing to reduce friction.”