Antiperspirant Deodorants: The First Line of Defense Against Sweat


**We acknowledge that antiperspirant is commonly referred to as deodorant, but they are in fact two separate products: antiperspirants are designed to stop sweating while deodorant blocks odor. For the purposes of this blog, however, we’ll be referring to the product as antiperspirant deodorant.

industrial-deodorantsSweating is a fact of life for all of us. Everyone sweats, but some sweat more than others. Those who sweat excessively may have a condition known as hyperhidrosis.

Hyperhidrosis is a condition in which the nerves that trigger sweating to regulate the body’s temperature (a process known as thermoregulation) become hyperactive. This hyperactivity leads to the body producing significantly more sweat than required to cool down. Hyperhidrosis most commonly affects the hands (palmar), feet (plantar) and underarms (axillary), but it may also affect the face (which produces excess sweat and causes facial flushing).

How Does an Antiperspirant Deodorant Stop Sweat?

When applied to the skin, the antiperspirant deodorant is grabbed by the sweat and pulled into the duct in the skin’s surface. Once in, the antiperspirant deodorant creates a shallow plug in the duct that triggers the body to stop producing sweat. The effects of antiperspirant deodorant can last up to 24 hours and will diminish over time.*

Types of Antiperspirant Deodorants

Antiperspirant deodorants have different types of application methods for various parts of the body. These include:

  • Aerosol spray
  • Cream
  • Gel
  • Powder
  • Roll-on
  • Wipes

Antiperspirant deodorants come in different strengths depending on the amount of metallic salts (such as aluminum chloride) they contain. They are available over-the-counter (OTC) and by prescription. It is important to note that antiperspirant deodorants designed to treat hyperhidrosis are more effective on the underarms than the hands and feet. This is due to the thickness of the skin on those parts of the body, making absorption more difficult.

In the U.S., all OTC antiperspirant deodorants sold contain 15 to 25 percent of a metallic salt. Regular OTC antiperspirant deodorants, including Degree©, Dove© and Secret®, have less of a concentration of the metallic salts than their “clinical strength” counterparts. However, both regular and clinical OTCs have less of a concentration than prescription.

Prescription antiperspirant deodorants, such as DrysolTM, contain the highest metallic salt level (typically chloride hexahydrate), making them the most effective antiperspirants (the majority lack deodorizing properties). However, the amount of metallic salt they contain can also result in skin irritation when not applied correctly. To avoid or reduce the risk of skin irritation:

  • Apply in the morning and at night before bed (unless the instructions or recommendations suggest otherwise)
  • Apply to the skin only when completely dry
  • Follow the instructions on the products
  • Follow the recommendations of a dermatologist

It may also be recommended that those living with excessive sweating begin with the gentlest OTC formulas. Then, they can progress to OTC clinical strength and next to prescription until the desired dryness is achieved.

If Antiperspirant Deodorant Fails

While antiperspirant deodorants may provide relief to some living with excessive underarm sweating, for others it may not be enough. If that occurs but you are still looking for a non-invasive alternative, a miraDry® treatment is the solution to your sweat problem.

miraDry is a non-surgical, FDA-cleared procedure for effectively treating underarm sweat, including underarm hyperhidrosis. This clinically proven treatment utilizes the power of electromagnetic energy to eliminate the glands that cause sweat and odor as well as remove hair from the skin’s surface. miraDry is performed in the comfort of your physician’s office with immediate results and minimal downtime.*

The Hyperhidrosis Center at Thoracic Group

At the Hyperhidrosis Center at Thoracic Group, our team of surgeons and staff has years of experience in providing relief for those living with the common types of hyperhidrosis. Our dedicated practice offers comprehensive services, such as diagnosis and creating a treatment plan that caters to your individual needs.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists, contact us today or fill out our form.

*Individual results may vary.