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Style hacks: Take control of your yellow stains

by Style Team
31 Jul 2017 | 2:10 PM

Picture this: You and your bros are watching a basketball game. You all gather round the TV screen intently and as the team you are rooting for makes the winning shot, you all jump and start high-fiving each other.

But, they're not. You're left hanging in the air and as they stare at you, faces filled with disgust and amusement, you realize there is something wrong. A wave of anxiety washes over you and as you turn towards your raised arm, you see a patch of sweat on your pits yellower than the sun.

"Nice stain, dude." One of them breaks the silence, and the room erupts in laughter.

All About Sweat

Armpit stains are the worst, and the problem is that you'll never know if it's already staining your shirt unless you do something embarrassing like go for a high-five or try to wrap your arms around your girl. No, it's not that she doesn't like you anymore, she just doesn't want a sweaty armpit over her shoulder.

Your first excuse would be that it's a glandular problem, but as funny as it sounds, sweat isn't actually what causes those nasty stains. Sweat itself is a clear fluid, even when it leaves the body. It's the bacteria that live on your skin that cause it to turn yellow and stain. Sadly, you can't fight your body's natural functions; you can't exactly stop yourself from sweating.

"So, if I can't fight science, what do I do?," you cry in anguish. Fortunately, there's something you can do about those abhorred armpit stains, and it's all about prevention.

You are what you eat

Again, you can't stop yourself from sweating but there are ways you can reduce the amount of sweat you pump out of your pits. It might surprise you but what we eat (or what we aren't eating) actually affects our body's sweat production.

Water is the tried and tested thing that reduces sweat. The thing is, sweat is there to cool you down. It's almost a no-brainer. After all, if you've been running or walking for miles under the hot sun, what's stopping you from collapsing from exhaustion? That's right, sweat. By drinking lots of water, you reduce the amount of sweat you make since it cools you down and replenishes the water that your body has lost.

Aside from water, eating fruits and vegetables rich in water is a great way to reduce sweat. Watermelon, grapes, tomatoes, and celery are just some of the fruits and veggies you should be munching on if you want to prevent sweat stains.

On the other hand, you should also reduce the amount of sweat-inducing food that you're probably eating too much of. Spicy food and anything processed or full of sodium are things you want to avoid; fast food in particular is something you should eat in moderation as your body takes twice the amount of time digesting these, and that makes you sweat more.

Preventing the Stain

One of the simplest ways to prevent white marks and yellow stains is by wearing an undershirt. An extra layer between your skin and your suit is often more than enough to prevent an embarrassing stain from forming. This also acts as an indicator that you're starting to sweat like a fountain, and it'll give you enough time to rush to the bathroom and prevent your crisp white suit from being contaminated by your sweat.

This isn't foolproof, though, and considering how hot it gets in the Philippines, sometimes this won't cut it, even if your undershirt has built-in sweat guards. Using deodorant is a great way to reduce stains since most of the ones on the market actually have antiperspirant in them already. The difference between the two is basically this: deodorant reduces the smell while the antiperspirant prevents sweating. If you really want to prevent pit stains, get one that is specifically made to reduce wetness.

Trim and clean

Let's face it. No self-respecting  man would want to shave his armpit hair. But, if you really want to prevent stains from happening, you might have to. Shaving your armpit hair prevents sweat from clinging to the hairs of your armpit, and this will reduce stains from forming significantly. If you really don't want to shave your pits, at least trim them.

Finally, it's very important to wash your shirts and suits immediately after you wear them. Sweat stains are more difficult to remove if you let them settle. Make sure to use a stain remover or detergent before you wash them as the stains will actually get worse if you don't.

As the old saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." You may not be able to stop yourself from sweating, but you can prevent the stain from happening.