Whatever your hot-weather dilemma, we’ve got you covered

Boob sweat, BO and thigh chafing – heatwaves (much as we love them) can come with some drawbacks. On our socials, it’s rooftop bars, barbecues and picnics, but take the filter off and the more relatable truth is that we’re all just trying to get a little more comfortable, whether in a sweltering train carriage (such fun) or when attempting to peel our legs off a bench in a park (ouch).

We don’t know about you, but after the past couple of years, it seems only right that nothing should get in the way of us having a great summer – boob sweat included. So, grab a seat and an iced coffee, whack your air con on high (if you’re lucky enough to have it) and join us as we get comfortable with the uncomfortable and find out how to deal with those common conundrums we all go through when it gets hot and humid. 

Whether you’re looking for a way to keep smelly feet at bay, how to take out an ingrown hair in your bathroom (we’ve got you) or tips on keeping make-up meltdowns to a minimum, here’s our guide to keeping your cool when the temperature rises. 

Boob sweat

What causes it? 

Blame gravity, rather than your sweat glands, for what feels like extra sweat as the areas in between and underneath our breasts don’t necessarily sweat more than the rest of our body. ‘When skin touches skin, it can trap moisture and stop it from evaporating,’ explains Dr Sonia Khorana, a GP with a special interest in dermatology. Is anyone more prone to it? ‘Those with bigger breasts or women going through hormonal changes, such as pregnancy, nursing, or menopause will be affected by it more.’

How to deal with it

Reduce friction: ‘Wearing a properly fitting bra will make things more comfortable,’ recommends Dr Khorana. When it comes to your outerwear, opt for breathable fabrics, such as cotton to bring some welcome ventilation to the area and prevent sweat from getting trapped.

Use a powder: As well as towel drying around and under your breasts after showering, Dr Khorana recommends using a powder to mop up any excess and to keep you feeling dry for longer. Try Johnson’s Baby Powder, £1.50 – its handy 100g size makes it great for sweat control on the go.

Use an antiperspirant: They’re not just for your underarms. Roll-ons and sticks are likely to give you the precision you require when targeting boob sweat. Try Mitchum Advanced Triple Odor Defense, £3.20, for its quick-drying and no-marks results.

Use a panty liner: Yes, really. They do wonders for soaking up sweat. Just opt for a slimline option, such as Flo Natural Bamboo Liners – Ultra-thin, £2.35, to stick inside your bra for stealthy sweat management. A curveball option? Breast pads. ‘They’re meant for breast milk leakage, but work well for boob sweat, too,’ says Dr Khorana. Try Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads, £6. Who knew?


What causes it? 

It’s a summer’s afternoon, it’s muggy, you’re feeling not so fresh and wondering if everybody else can smell your personal pong (it’s highly likely they can’t btw). BO can make many of us feel self-conscious, but rest assured we all experience it at some point – summer makes conditions ripe. ‘BO occurs when the bacteria on our skin mixes with sweat,’ explains consultant dermatologist, Dr Shaaira Nasir. Interesting fact: eating too much strong smelling or spicy food, or drinking too much coffee or alcohol can make it worse*. ‘BO can also be linked with excessive sweating, which can be treated by a dermatologist,’ says Dr Nasir.  

How to deal with it 

Keep BO zones clean: ‘Wash armpits and the groin area at least two times a day with soap or soap substitutes, and dry,’ says Dr Nasir. 

Keep it short: We’re not ones to tell anyone how to wear their body hair, but if you’re looking to reduce BO, Dr Nasir recommends shaving or trimming your armpits and pubic hair regularly. 

Use antiperspirants and deodorants: Dr Nasir’s top pick? Driclor Antiperspirant Roll On, £6.19. It’s a harder core option for those who’ve found traditional antiperspirants lacking.

Wear natural, breathable fabrics: ‘Wearing synthetic materials can make BO more noticeable,’ says Dr Nasir. Breathable options, such as cotton, can help when it comes to airing things out throughout the day.

Back acne or ‘bacne’

What causes it? 

While facial acne is the most common type of the skin condition, back acne affects more than half of people with acne according to the NHS. It’s surprisingly common, and is caused when the sebaceous glands in the skin produce too much sebum, which mixes with dead skin cells, blocking the hair follicles.  

How to deal with it

Be workout-wear aware: Sweat and close-fitting clothes make for the perfect recipe for back spots, especially when combined with the hotter temperatures of summer. ‘Wear loose-fitting workout clothes made of cotton or sweat-wicking fabric and wash them after each use,’ recommends Dr Khorana. The same goes for when you wash yourself. ‘Shower and change clothes ASAP after working out (or doing anything that causes you to sweat),’ she adds.

Cleanse your skin gently: ‘Astringents and abrasive products may worsen acne,’ says Dr Khorana. ‘Instead, use gentle, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic skincare products.’ Wash the area with a mild soap or cleanser and lukewarm water.

Reduce friction: Ensure your back is a no-rub zone to keep things cool, calm and collected. ‘Avoid using anything that rubs against your back, such as a backpack,’ says Dr Khorana.

Seek out specialist products and advice: If you have mild acne, pop in to see your local Boots pharmacist for a chat about treatments that could help. For moderate or severe cases, book in with your GP, a dermatologist or the Boots Online Doctor Acne Treatment service for prescription medication (charges apply for treatments provided) and to find the best option for your needs. These include topical retinoids or antibiotics and azelaic acid.

For more advice, check out our answers to your most googled questions about acne. 

Smelly feet

What causes it?

Unglamourous? Yes. Universal? Absolutely. ‘Like BO, smelly feet are caused by bacteria mixing with sweat,’ says Dr Nasir. ‘A wet, sweaty environment is great for bacteria to grow. This can accumulate in shoes and socks.’ Giving us even more reason to not wear socks with sandals. 

‘Other causes could be wearing the same shoes repeatedly or athlete’s foot,’ she adds, as well as a condition called hyperhidrosis, which is excessive sweating that isn’t necessarily related to exercise or heat and occurs even when your body doesn’t need to cool down. But there’s good news – if you think you have this, you can seek potential treatments via your GP or a dermatologist.

How to deal with it

Keep feet in good condition: A top tip from Dr Nasir? Keep nails short and clean (to reduce odour-causing under nail build-up), wear clean moisture-wicking socks (they tend to be made with sportswear-drying tech and you can even find some made of antibacterial fabrics) and mix up your shoe choice daily.  

Try a foot powder: Designed to be peppered onto feet and shoes, this operates much in the same way as a body powder to help absorb sweat and reduce odour. Dr Nasir’s top pick? Boots Odour Control Foot Powder, £3.99.  

Have a shoe spray on standby: If you need to freshen up on the go or have a pair of summer sandals that you just can’t part with because they go with everything (sames), a quick spritz of deodorising shoe spray should hit the mark. Try Scholl Fresh Step Shoe Spray, £3.99, for an instant boost.

Thigh chafing

What causes it?

When it comes to thigh chafing, the summer burn is real. Uncomfortable during and painful afterwards, it can leave your inner thighs red, raw and, sometimes, bleeding. ‘Chafing happens to the skin when it experiences increased friction,’ explains Dr Khorana. ‘It can lead to dryness, irritation, blistering, or breakdown of the skin and is more common in the summer months due to moisture in the area.’ 

How to deal with it

Reduce moisture: ‘Try to keep the area as dry as possible,’ recommends Dr Khorana. Dry off skin at regular intervals throughout the day to keep chafing to a minimum.

Create a barrier: ‘Try coating your inner thighs with an emollient or chafing cream,’ says Dr Khorana. It’ll act as a barrier to protect rub-prone zones. Try Dr Khorana’s top pick, Lanacane Anti-Chafing Gel, £6.30. It’s non-greasy, dries clear and is fragrance-free, making it ideal for such a sensitive area. Vaseline Original Petroleum Jelly, £2.99, is also a great go-to when it comes to prevention and relief, and is small enough to carry in your bag for top-ups throughout the day. 

Use body powder: Applying baby powder after your shower can also help absorb excess moisture throughout the day for happier, healthier skin.

Make-up meltdown

What causes it?

Other than the obvious, such as humidity, heat and sweat wreaking havoc with our handiwork, it could also be down to continuing to use the same products in the summer that served us well in the winter. ‘If I want something to stay put, I tend to go for oil-free options when it comes to base products,’ says make-up artist, Adeola Gboyega. Thick layers of make-up are more likely to slide off, too. With the change in seasons, comes the opportunity for a change in daily staples…

How to deal with it

Use a primer: Give your make-up extra grip to keep your look on lockdown. Try MAC Studio Fix Mattifine 12-hour Shine Control Primer, £28. ‘It reduces the appearance of pores, controls oil and improves the wear of foundation,’ says Adeola. We’re stocking up.

Go longwear:
When it comes to your base, try a longwear foundation, but opt for a formula that doesn’t look too thick or mask-like. For an oil-free option, try Adeola’s top pick, Too Faced Born This Way Matte 24-hour Foundation, £32. And if your eyeliner tends to slide by mid-afternoon, she recommends Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, £22.

Set to seal: Lock in your base with a dusting of powder to give it extra longevity. ‘I use Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder, £34, religiously,’ Adeola tells us. Don’t want your concealer to sink into fine lines? We love using a damp Beautyblender Original, £17, to apply it underneath eyes. 

Spritz and set: A setting spray is a summer staple for keeping make-up in place. It can be used to perk up your complexion throughout the day, too. ‘I like to keep a mini setting spray in my bag to refresh my make-up and skin,’ says Adeola. Try her top buy, Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray Travel Size, £12. For a dewy finish, we love No7 HydraLuminous Fixing Spray, £13.95. Its microfine mist sets make-up perfectly to withstand whatever plans you have.

Blot: Rather than adding more layers of make-up throughout the day, you might prefer using a blotting paper to mop up excess shine. Try Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Blotting Paper, £15. Its lipstick-sized packaging means it will fit into the smallest of clutches. 

Opt for thin layers: If you do want to touch up your make-up as day turns to night, Adeola recommends applying thin layers to avoid that dreaded cakey effect and for a more natural finish. ‘Touch up your base with a little lightweight concealer, as opposed to adding more foundation,’ she recommends. Bobbi Brown Skin Concealer Stick, £26, is her fave thanks to its sheer-to-full buildable coverage and long-lasting formula. 

Red lines or patches underneath the boobs (intertrigo)

What causes it?

First boob sweat, now red lines – summer can serve up some surprises when we take our bra off in the evening. While those red lines can mean your bra is too tight (we could all do with a refresher course in measuring our bra size from time to time), red marks or patches could be because of a common condition called intertrigo, which is caused by the warm conditions underneath and in between our breasts. ‘They can be caused by yeast or bacterial overgrowth on the skin, such as candida [thrush],’ says Dr Nasir. ‘This can worsen during summer due to excess sweating and a moist environment caused by skin-to-skin rubbing.’ It can also occur in between the thighs, on the underside of the belly or armpit.

How to deal with it

Keep skin dry: ‘Wash the area regularly, pat skin dry rather than rubbing and avoid sharing towels to avoid spreading it to others,’ says Dr Nasir. 

Reduce rubbing: Keep friction to a minimum by ensuring your underwear fits well. ‘Wear a good-fitting bra and change it daily,’ advises Dr Nasir. This will help stop it from worsening and will be much more comfortable, too! 

Use a barrier cream: ‘Barrier creams help avoid friction and help with a compromised skin barrier,’ says Dr Nasir. Get extra use out of your thigh-chafing kit and apply a slick of Lanacane Anti-Chafing Gel, £6.30, onto affected areas. 

Apply an antifungal cream or powder: Options like Canesten Cream, £5.29, which contains clotrimazole (always read the label), and Daktarin 2% Cream, £4.29, which contains miconazole nitrate (always read the label) can help, according to Dr Nasir. But consider speaking to your GP or your local Boots pharmacist first to find the best option for your specific needs. 

Ingrown hairs

What causes them?

‘Ingrown hairs are caused by inflammation in the skin, which is caused when hairs try to come out from the skin,’ explains Dr Ifeoma Ejikeme, advanced cosmetic doctor and founder of the Adonia Medical Clinic

Our hair-removal habits could be to blame. ‘They can occur as a result of shaving or wax that’s been applied or removed in the wrong direction in relation to the hair growth,’ says Alice Lightfoot, spa manager at Champneys Tring. ‘During shaving, hairs are cut down at different angles and so don’t grow straight through the skin. They can curl over and grow inwards, causing an ingrown hair.’

How to deal with it

Overhaul your hair removal: ‘It’s best to go with a method that removes the whole hair from the follicle, such as waxing,’ says Alice. ‘If you’re brave enough to wax yourself, you need to ensure you apply your wax or wax strip in the direction the hair grows and remove it against the hair growth.’ No time to wax? ‘When shaving, make sure your razor isn’t blunt, you shave with a shaving cream and warm water, rather than on bare skin, and aim to shave with as few strokes as possible following the same direction.’ 

Discover how to use wax at home and never deal with pesky ingrown hairs again. 

Exfoliate: ‘Ingredients like salicylic acid can help, as well as soothing ingredients like glycerin,’ says Dr Ejikeme. Try an exfoliating moisturiser, such as CeraVe SA Smoothing Cream, £12, which contains both salicylic acid and glycerin.

Scrub up: If you prefer a physical exfoliator over a chemical one, try a body scrub in between shaving or waxing sessions. ‘This helps release any hairs that have started to grow inwards. Once the hair is released, it’s easy just to tweeze out,’ says Alice. Try Champneys Treatments Seaweed and Salt Scrub, £14, to bring a dose of the spa to your home. And check out our guide to the best body scrubs for more add-to-cart inspo. 

Remove them with care: ‘Some ingrown hairs can be a little more stubborn and so to remove them, we’d recommend holding a warm flannel, compress or cotton bud over the area for a few minutes after exfoliating with a scrub or exfoliating glove,’ says Alice. ‘This should help release the hair and then you should be able to go in with tweezers to remove. Ensure your tweezers are sterile and that you wash them thoroughly after use.’ Need some tweezer recommendations? Try Champneys Slanted Edge Tweezer, £8.50, or Boots Slanted Tweezers, £2. Their angled tip offers up some welcome precision. 

Discoloured toenails

What causes them?

Sun’s out, toes out. However, if they’ve been in hibernation over the past six months, there’s a good chance your toes may have acclimated to doing their own thing under cover of your woolly socks. A change of colour can be due to a wide range of reasons. Are they black or loose? This could be down to that expletive-filled time when you stubbed your toe on your desk or if you’ve just taken up running (particularly long-distance). Are they yellow, brittle and/or thickened? It could be a sign of a fungal nail infection or fungal skin infection, such as athlete’s foot. Or do you never step out of the house without nail polish? The staining of your favourite shade could be causing the discolouration.

How to deal with it

Trim them down: If you have a loose nail caused by an injury, it’s best to cut it back to where it’s still attached as this will help it to grow back normally. It can take up to 18 months for it to get back to its pre-injured glory (sorry to be the bearer of bad news here), but the sooner that you dare to bare, the better. Keeping the rest of your toenails short can also reduce the chances of the others following in its footsteps.

Speak with your pharmacist: If you suspect you might have a fungal nail infection, have a chat with your local Boots pharmacist to see if there are any treatments that could help. They may recommend an antifungal nail cream or a nail softening cream so that the infected part can eventually be scraped off.

Hat hair

What causes it?

When it comes to suncare, our headwear is the perfect partner to our daily SPF. Whether you favour a fedora, bucket hat or a baseball cap, things can get pretty humid underneath, resulting in super-greasy roots and our hat of choice staying firmly on – even after the sun sets. Want to go hat-free in the night? We promise it is possible.

How to deal with it

Target oily roots early on: ‘I’d suggest a couple of spritzes of a good-quality dry shampoo before putting on your hat,’ says hairstylist, George Northwood. ‘This will help soak up any excess oils that may be produced throughout the day.’ Bumble and bumble Pret-a-Powder Tres Invisible Dry Shampoo, £24, is George’s top pick thanks to its lightweight formula and invisible finish. ‘It can also be topped up throughout the day where needed,’ he adds.

Blot away grease: Blotting papers aren’t just great for a shiny T-zone, they can also work for your hair. ‘If your hair’s still feeling oily after prepping it with dry shampoo, I’d also suggest carrying some oil-absorbing sheets with you in your bag – they’re great for when you’re on the go,’ recommends George. ‘If it’s also feeling weighed down and limp, I’d suggest a couple of spritzes of my Undone by George Northwood Volume Spray, £15. Not only will this give it some oomph, but the subtle, clean scent will offer a refreshing fragrance to hair, which may be needed on a warm day!’

Try a detox shampoo: Keep greasy roots to a minimum. ‘As a pre-treatment for oily hair types in the warmer months, I’d recommend using my Undone by George Northwood Unpolluted Shampoo, £12,’ says George. ‘It lightly strips the hair and scalp of any build-up and pollution, and creates a fresh base that feels cleaner and lighter, so perfect for the summer months if you’re someone who struggles with excess oil.’

For more heatwave-beauty tips, five women who live in some of the world’s hottest countries share their skin-savvy secrets with us. Trust us, you’ll want to try everything.