Real Talk: On a muddy summer day, your armpits aren’t the only body part that can sweat up a storm. Yes, sometimes it can get very swampy in the south.
Whether caused by sweltering heat or a skin-related issue (more on that later), an excessively sweaty crotch can be uncomfortable (and extremely embarrassing).
Here we talked to Jessica Labadie, MDa board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic and laser surgery researcher at SkinCare Physicians in Massachusetts, to get to the bottom of groin sweating (including why it happens and how to stay dry down below).
Do vaginas sweat?
Nope! The vagina is an internal organ that doesn’t have sweat glands, so you technically can’t have a clammy vagina. What some people think of as vaginal sweat is actually sweat from the external genital area, including the vulva and groin.
First of all, what causes crotch sweat?
“Excessive sweating concentrated only in the groin is a type of focal hyperhidrosis and can be due to a number of different conditions or causes,” says Dr. Labadie.
Here are some of the most common culprits of chronic crotch sweating:
“Higher temperatures make individuals sweat more,” explains Dr. Labadie.
“Vigorous exercise raises an individual’s body temperature and thus produces sweat,” explains Dr. Labadie.
“Emotional stimuli can lead to increased sweat production,” says Dr. Labadie, and that includes groin sweat.
“Friction in the groin area can lead to more sweating,” says Dr. Labadie. Sources of friction frequently include:
- Excessive pubic hair
- Underwear or tight clothing
- Excess skin and fat
- Feminine hygiene products or materials that do not breathe
5. Certain skin conditions
Dermatological problems can also induce groin sweating. Here are the most common conditions that can create sweating in your private parts, according to Dr. Labadie:
- Intertrigo, or inflammation triggered by skin-to-skin friction, which usually occurs in warm, moist areas of the body, such as the groin
- Reverse psoriasis, a type of psoriasis that occurs in areas where your skin rubs against itself
- Pityriasis cruris(aka jock itch), a fungal infection that results in a red, itchy rash in warm, moist areas of the body
- Erythrasma, a localized bacterial skin infection that usually occurs in skin folds, including the groin
- Acanthosis nigricans, a skin condition that produces thick, darker patches, usually in the creases and creases of the skin, such as the groin
- Seborrheic dermatitis, a chronic form of eczema that causes scaly patches and red skin
If you notice a rash, itching, or pain that accompanies your sweating in your groin, see a dermatologist right away, as it may be a sign of a more serious health issue, says Dr. Labadie.
6 tips to stop crotch sweating
Whatever the cause of your sweaty groin, the following strategies can help reduce wetness below the belt.
1. Try a topical antiperspirant
Just like you apply antiperspirant to prevent underarm sweat, you can do the same for your crotch.
“In general, it’s okay to use a topical antiperspirant in the groin area” as long as you avoid direct application to the genitals, says Dr. Labadie. “However, remember that this area of the body is more sensitive than other areas and therefore may be more prone to irritation.”
Dr. Labadie recommends using a gentle, fragrance-free antiperspirant like Almay Sensitive Skin Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant ($20.94 for a 6-pack, Amazon.com) or Vanicream Anti-Perspirant Deodorant ($9.99 , Amazon.com). Both are very gentle and designed for sensitive skin, she says.
2. Apply antifungal powder
A pinch of antifungal powder can help prevent profuse sweating in your pants.
Here’s why: Sometimes an overproduction of yeast contributes to the sweating problem in the groin, explains Dr. Labadie. “By choosing an antifungal powder, you can solve both problems at once: eliminate moisture and combat the overproduction of yeast in the area,” she explains.
Her favorite antifungal powders are Zeasorb Prevention Treatment Powder ($7.03, Walmart.com) and Zeasorb AF Jock Itch Powder ($10.20, Walmart.com).
3. Choose breathable underwear
To stay dry, your lower regions need some air there. And the best way to keep them well ventilated is to wear breathable underwear.
Cotton fabrics are fantastic for keeping dry and airy, as are looser underwear (read: boxers are generally better than briefs when it comes to breathability), says Dr. Labadie.
“However, if tighter clothing is needed for a specific event — like tight padded shorts while you’re cycling — I would recommend taking showers immediately after your workout,” says Dr. Labadie. “Clean and dry the area thoroughly and put on looser cotton clothing as soon as the workout is over.”
4. Avoid panty liners and towels
Some feminine products – like panty liners and pads – can produce sweat in your panties.
Indeed, “panty liners and pads contain materials that can lead to increased occlusion, wetness and irritation in an already sensitive area,” says Dr. Labadie.
So if you can, try to limit your use of these sweat-inducing products — especially during workouts — or change them frequently, she says. You can choose to use tampons, a menstrual disc or a cup.
Whether you groom your pubic hair or not is totally your prerogative. But if you’re trying to get rid of groin sweat, it might be best to keep your hair short and curly, well, on the shorter side.
Here’s why: “Excessive pubic hair can lead to occlusion and moisture retention,” says Dr. Labadie.
In other words, trimming your pubic hair can help minimize humidity and reduce sweating.
6. Consult your dermatologist
If the home remedies above do not provide relief, see your dermatologist who can assess and diagnose you correctly.
Depending on the underlying problem, “there are a few interventions at the prescribing level that may be helpful,” says Dr. Labadie.
For example, your doctor may prescribe a stronger aluminum chloride antiperspirant or an oral medication to help reduce sweating, she says.
“In severe cases, dermatologists can test intradermal injections of Botox to temporarily inhibit sweat gland secretion,” adds Dr. Labadie.