Alexandra Burke comes clean about sweat problem

8 Sep

Sure fire hit - Alexandra Burke can bare her armpits with confidence now she is protected by Sure.

FORMER X Factor winner Alexandra Burke has announced that she suffers from hyperhidrosis, the medical term for excessive sweating. The Bad Boys singer has revealed this long-kept secret since becoming the new face of antiperspirant brand Sure, and only now feels able to discuss how the condition has affected her life.

Alexandra, 22, said: “It started around the time I reached puberty, I remember being at school noticing changes in my body; my boobs started developing, I started getting hair in places where I had none before, and I started sweating like a fat rapist.”

The condition is relatively common, affecting around one in 1,000 people, but sufferers rarely speak about their problem or seek medical advice.

While the other girls at her school only had to worry about spots or their weight, Alexandra also had to deal with the embarrassment of extreme body odour.

“I stunk like a tramp who’d been living on a landfill during a heatwave” recalls the singer, “it was so embarrassing; during breaks at school I would go to the toilet and wipe myself down with Wet Ones. I went through a whole packet a day.”

But however hard Alexandra tried to cover up her problem, the other children still noticed and taunted her constantly.

“They called me ‘Sweaty Betty’ and ‘Smelly Sue’. No one would sit next to me in class or in assembly, or in church.”

Since winning the X Factor in December 2007 Alexandra’s career has gone from strength to strength, but it all could have been very different, as her sweat problem almost cost her the X Factor crown.

She said: “The X Factor was a real challenge – the dance routines, studio lights and makeup really aggravated the problem. During the live shows I would sweat so much on stage that the crew had to mop the floor before the next contestant went on. One week during rehearsals, Diana Vickers slipped on a puddle of my sweat, fell, and bruised her coccyx.”

“At the end of the day I have learnt to live with it, but it still causes problems. You know when you wake up some times in the summer and the sheets are soaking wet, and you’re like ‘is that sweat or did I piss the bed?’ – that’s every morning for me. It’s all about managing the problem, at least with Sure I know I will be protected right through the day, even if I’m on stage”, says the singer who releases her new single, Start without You, a cover of a Lilt advert jingle from the 1990s, this week. “But I still keep a packet of Wet Ones in my bag, just in case.”

Alexandra has also turned to more extreme ways to manage hyperhidrosis. Injecting botox into the affected areas paralyses the sweat glands, preventing them for producing as much perspiration. “Me and Cheryl Cole used to go to the clinic together; she would get botox in her face, and I would get it in my armpits.” she said. “Cheryl also got her anus bleached.”

Start Without You is out now.

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