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How can you stop sweat from running into your eyes while at work in 40+ degree Celsius weather?

I work at an outdoor mall and must wear a uniform and we are not to alter our wardrobe while on shift! That said, we can not wear a bandana, although baseball caps are worn by those who work exclusively outdoors.

Are there any tricks to stop the sweat from getting into my eyes? I carry a handkerchief in which to wipe down my brow, but that often make the situation worse by rubbing the sweat right into my eyes. Salt in your eyes stings and makes it somewhat difficult to see.

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How to stop sweat from running into your eyes while at work in 40+ degree Celsius weather?

Try using Vaseline on your forehead.

Apply petroleum jelly, lip balm, antiperspirant or even lip stick (in an emergency) to our forehead.

Applying waxy substances to your face might seem strange, but runners and cyclists swear by it.

Applying waxy substances to your face might seem strange, but runners and cyclists swear by it.

Before a workout, apply a thin line of clear lip balm or petroleum jelly above your eyebrows. Angle the line slightly downward on each side so it points toward your ears. This way, sweat rolls off the side of your face, not down into your eyes.

These products are invisible, lightweight and easy to wear during a workout. Just be sure to use a separate lip balm or jelly for your forehead. You don’t want to get germs from your mouth on your face. - Applying waxy substances to your face might seem strange, but runners and cyclists swear by it.

You will have to reapply the petroleum jelly every now and again (periodically) to maintain effectiveness.

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  • 13
    "You don’t want to get germs from your mouth on your face." Uhhhh. What? You do every time you lick your lips. That's an insane level of germ paranoia!
    – Atario
    Jun 29 at 6:33
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    @Atario the other way round would make more sense, at least judging by how grimy my skin can get after a day on the bike. I think it might be a copy-editing error in the original
    – Chris H
    Jun 29 at 13:45
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    @ChrisH Unless you're face planting a lot, you're already getting all of that in your mouth/nose anyway by breathing. Jun 29 at 16:34
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    @user3067860 some of it, but the actual mud splatters probably not, and anyway far less at a time.
    – Chris H
    Jun 29 at 19:10
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Sweatbands are available in a number of colours that may match your uniform and be acceptable as an unobtrusive and necessary accessory for unusual weather (work) conditions. They are light, cheap, and very absorbent. They work.

sweat / headband

Good luck.

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  • 4
    Great thought, but we can not add to our external clothing! +1 anyway, as this be helpful to others.
    – Ken Graham
    Jun 28 at 0:37
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    I think the demands made on you are unreasonable given the circumstances. Something about working conditions…
    – Stan
    Jun 28 at 0:41
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    I'm sure that BC has groups that would support your reasonable requests during an astonishing heat wave.
    – Stan
    Jun 28 at 0:43
  • Dully noted! But the question still stands.
    – Ken Graham
    Jun 28 at 0:54
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    I think if you stick with the black one, it might be acceptable. Combined with a hat, it's nearly invisible. I could see the objection to the brightly colored ones, but you might be able to talk them into a non-descript black band. Jun 28 at 15:09
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Wear a bandana under your hat.

This way, you are abiding by your employer's wardrobe requirements while still being able to sop up your sweaty head.

One advantage of this technique is that you can swap out for a fresh bandana whenever you like. Store them in a refrigerator for a nice, but temporary, cooling effect.

I recommend folding the bandana in half diagonally and then fold it over itself several times until you have a rectangle with pointed ends. Then tie it around your forehead.

You can ask what types of hats are allowed, as some will conceal the bandana more than others.

If this technique does not conceal the bandana sufficiently, you can simply cut a bandana (or any piece of absorbent fabric) to the shape of the inside of your hat and fasten it (if needed) with a couple pieces of hook-and-loop fastener (or a couple safety pins). If you go this route, I recommend cutting a couple holes in it to improve its breathability.

Another solution is to approach this from a different perspective by exploring ways to keep cool.

In extreme heat while working on metal roofs, I've packed the inside of my hat with flexible ice packs. Of course, that didn't stop my boots from melting, but that's another story...

You can also purchase cooling vests that have replaceable cooling inserts. These are often used by people with illnesses that are exacerbated by heat (e.g. multiple sclerosis), but anyone can buy them.

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  • Knowing you form other sizes, I was a teensy bit surprised by your boots melting. Maybe not your day job? :-) Jun 28 at 11:29
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    @MawgsaysreinstateMonica Haha... you would be shocked if you knew my entire life story. Sometimes it even surprises me when I reflect on it. Every once in a great while, I consider selling the movie or book rights, but that just feels so darn narcissistic, and I'm not sure I want to relive all the painful parts. All said, it's been a wild ride so far. Jun 29 at 1:01
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    I would love to sit down for some beers together. I have seen a fair bit in my 15 countries, 3 continents, at least one year each, but it sounds like you have experienced a lot more than I :-) Hmmm, why *not write that book? You are guaranteed at least one sale Jun 29 at 6:32
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    @MawgsaysreinstateMonica That would be fun for sure. Thank you for the first pre-sale (and pre-write!) order. Sounds like you are having an eventful experience on the ride of life too... never sell yourself short! Experience comes in all forms, and I've learned that some of it can be planned, but much of it just happens on its own if you put yourself out there. Often the best (and worst) experiences don't start off as anything big, but wind up changing our lives. Personally, I find that learning from our experiences - whatever they are, and however they feel - is a big key to a good life. Jun 30 at 1:38
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Consider using antiperspirant along your hairline and along your forehead above your eyebrows to lessen the amount of sweat from your face.

If you weren't aware, antiperspirant is not only used under your arms but can be applied to practically any part of your body.— according to sweathelp.org.

If you can, wear a slightly-oversize cap (as part of your uniform, of course) with a terrycloth strip to absorb more moisture and that you can replace periodically. You can make the cap inserts from facecloths or similar.

I'd love to know the name of the food chain that's treating their hires this way.

Good luck.

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    Is there any risk that antiperspirant could get into the eyes? Jun 28 at 12:36
  • @WayneConrad Little, if any.
    – Stan
    Jun 28 at 13:39
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    I wouldn't chance it. Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.
    – Billy C.
    Jun 29 at 20:15
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Wear something like this *underneath* your baseball cap:

Sponge on elastic

Just push it up underneath the front of the cap and pull the cap down as far as it will go over your forehead. If the pad is too big, you can easily cut it down with some scissors. I have even see these sewn into the front of the cap liner.

I don't know what the technical term is for this kind of sweatband, but here's one example (that I got this picture from), but I've seen cheaper versions.

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Maybe you can "wear" small freeze packs in order to cool your body?

enter image description here

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    That's not an answer to the question, and thermodynamically infeasible. Learn about latent heat of fusion, and the way heat energy is measured (BTU, kilocalorie etc.) and you'll see why this is horribly mis-scaled to be a viable solution. Jun 29 at 19:30
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One thing I've done while playing baseball on extremely hot days is to line the inside of my cap with a bandana and pin it into place. You can't see it from the outside but it did a couple of things for me. It blocked the sunlight from coming through the mesh portion in the rear and burning my scalp, and it soaked up sweat before it could run down my face. Most baseball caps have a little sweatband across the front, but they quickly saturate and become useless. If my bandana got too saturated, I just swapped it out for a fresh one.

The best part about it was that I could wet down the bandana before putting the hat on. Not so wet that you have water dripping everywhere, but wet enough to keep your head cool and reduce the need for sweating. This more than offset the lack of airflow caused by the bandana. Once I got hot enough that my head started sweating again, I'd re-wet the bandana. There's probably other material that would work even better than a bandana. You want something that does a decent job of holding water but isn't too terribly thick.

And if you find yourself overheating and sweating profusely, one of the fastest ways to cool down is to dunk your forearms in cool water. You have large arteries close to the surface there, so you're cooling down your blood which will get pumped to warmer parts of your body. The last time I worked an outdoor concession stand I volunteered to sell drinks. Reaching down into the ice to grab bottles kept me significantly cooler, even though the sun was beating directly onto my back and head.

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  • Re "dunk your forearms in cool water.": Evaporation works as well. Jun 30 at 15:26
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Apply chapstick (wax used for lips) to your eyebrows.

I don’t know if this works, my eyebrows are big enough to work in the hot Australian weather.

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Consult an eye doctor.

Get a written note from a physician that sweat in your eyes is injurious to your health and that the doctor therefore prescribes that you wear a bandana to prevent injury.

An employer would be pretty stupid to ignore a warning from a doctor. As well they would probably be forbidden from punishing you for following doctor's advice.

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