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Best Undershirts for Excessive Underarm Sweat: Is modal the best fabric?

Updated on November 5, 2011

Undershirts to Hide Excessive Sweat

Excessive underarm sweat is an embarrassing problem. If you've tried all the anti-antiperspirants money can buy and still can't stop the sweat, it may be time to try a different undershirt. Many people think of undershirts as a barrier of protection between sweat and their outer layer. The truth is that the undershirt is barrier, all right, but it is actually an impediment to evaporation, keeping your wet. The key to ending embarrassing underarm wetness is to let the air do its job and evaporate that sweat.

There are special undershirts that have absorbent pads and make claims about hiding underarm sweat, but if you sweat excessively there is no amount of absorption that will hide your sweat. The key is not absorb the sweat; the key is to repel it, so it can evaporate. You may still temporarily "pit" your outer shirt, but the sweat will evaporate.

When you wear absorbent fabrics, including cotton, the sweat soaks into the fabric and stays all day. A better solution is to wear synthetic fabrics as your base layer. Synthetic fabrics wick moisture away from skin and expose it to the air that can evaporate it and make it disappear.

Polyester T-shirts

Not all synthetic fabrics are created equal. The most common is polyester, an old familiar friend. Polyester does its job of wicking sweat away from the body, but it leaves something to be desired in the comfort department. It can be scratchy and does not shrink in the drier. While not shrinking in the drier may, at first seem like an advantage, undershirts can be stretched out and shrinking can return them to their previous shape. Some people report an unpleasant odor when they wear polyester. This could be due to a reaction with one's deodorant or skin chemistry. Polyester undershirts are often sold as running shirts or athletic wear. You want to make sure that the undershirt is not double layered and is thin enough to wear as a base layer.

Cotton Poly Blends

There is also the common 50/50 cotton/poly blend. These shirts haves some of the advantages of both fabrics. It wicks, but also it keeps its shape. Cotton/poly blends tend to be affordable but hard to find. They are not as comfortable as cotton shirts. They can be ordered online or purchased sometimes at screen printing shops.

Modal Tees

One of the newest synthetic fabrics is modal. If you have ever felt the fabric, you will understand why people say it is worth the cost. The cost, however, is significant. It costs, often, four or five times what a good cotton undershirt costs. It is silky smooth, wicks, and feels light and cool against your skin.

Cotton Spandex Blends

Champion, among others, makes a cotton-spandex blended shirt that has many of the advantages of an all synthetic undershirt but has all of the comfort of brushed cotton. For the money, they are by far the best option. They are available at Amazon for a reasonable price.

Champion Men's Double Dry Activefit 2-Pack Crew T-Shirt

While cotton undershirts are often sold as packs, these shirts are more often sold individually, allowing you to buy one at time and try the different combinations.

Which synthetic fabric is for you? The basic pros and cons of any shirt are yours to weigh, but it is important to try each to compare. Individual differences can cause different reactions and preferences.


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