Dear Dr. Paster: I stink. Yes, I’m a 16-year-old basketball player who smells.
When I take off my socks, you can smell them clear in the kitchen – and my bedroom is in the basement. This yeasty smell sickens my mom, who won’t let me take off my shoes in the car after I play.
We tried an over-the-counter yeast cream and putting on antiperspirant, but nothing has touched it. I’m afraid I’ll never find the girl of my dreams because I have BO. Help me, please.
— Lonely Jason
Dear Lonely: Don’t worry, you’ll find the girl of your dreams. But you’ll increase your chances if you don’t have that offensive odor that drives women out the door.
And get this, the more you worry about sweating the more you sweat. Fear is the great sweat releaser.
So let’s see what I can do to help “clean you up” and improve your love life.
First of all, your shoes. Alternate pairs. A sweaty shoe is a smelly shoe. Powder inside will help to absorb the moisture, but better yet, use a hair dryer. And it would be even better still if you could buy a ski-boot drier – hook it up to the shoes, set the time and they’ll be dry in a jiffy.
Next, change socks at least twice daily. Bring a pair with you to school, and halfway through the day, change into them. Put that “yeasty” pair in a zip-top bag to lock in the odor. If you spray the socks with Febreeze, it will knock down odor lickity-split.
Now, on to prevention. Ask your doctor for a prescription for Drysol or Xerac, a super-concentrated aluminum solution you apply daily. It really works – on the feet, under the arms and even on the palms. It’s not for everyone – some users get a rash, and one side effect is skin irritation – but it’s highly effective for lots of folks.
My next trick is a medication called propranolol, used for blood pressure, angina, migraine headaches, stage fright and sweating. Ten milligrams daily – what orchestra players in the Chicago Symphony use to calm their tremor – just might do the trick. Some take this every day, while others reserve it for special occasions – such as that big date you’re thinking about.
And finally, if this fails, some people use Botox. That’s right, the same injection women use to get rid of their wrinkles may shut down your sweat glands. This might seem like an over-the-top remedy, but for some people it might be just what the doctor ordered.
My spin: If you sweat, don’t take it lying down. Stay well.
Dr. Zorba Paster is a family physician, professor, author and broadcast journalist. He hosts a radio call-in show at 3 p.m. Saturdays on WBFO-FM 88.7.