Prescription Antiperspirants - Do They Really Work?
Here is what you should know before you buy.
July 5, 2012
I have absolutely no hesitation in saying "Stop Sweating and Start Living" will soon put antiperspirant companies out of business.
I was reluctant at first to endorse any product but this book was different. The remedies it suggests are all-natural and target the root causes of problem sweating.
My only complaint is that it is only available as an instant access ebook. It can't be purchased in bookstores or on Amazon.com, but I'm sure the instant download feature is popular with people overseas and those who are ready to get started.
I strongly recommend "Stop Sweating and Start Living" to anyone who sweats excessively in the underarm, hand, foot, face or back areas.
- James Chambers
Why would someone need prescription antiperspirants? Well prescription
antiperspirants are a person’s first tool to control excessive
perspiration and they work particularly well in the case of
excessive underarm perspiration which is medically described as
This is no ordinary perspiration that we are talking about
but a situation where a person’s underarm is drenched with
sweat until the perspiration actually runs down the sides of the
Such extreme underarm sweating may require long-term treatment
but the immediate solution is to apply topical prescription antiperspirants
to minimize sweating and underarm odor. Before we progress further
we should mention that underarm odor does not inevitably follow sweating problems because sweat in itself is odorless. A slightly detailed
discussion will make this point clearer so if we could have your
The human body has over 2.5 million sweat glands which are divided
into two categories: eccrine and apocrine. When we sweat and when
the sweat does not evaporate immediately the situation is ideal
for the growth of odor-causing bacteria and yeast. Since the underarm
is an area from which sweat evaporates less rapidly than from more
exposed surfaces on the body we tend to associate underarm sweating
with underarm odor.
Additionally though technically classified under sweat glands
apocrine glands chiefly secrete the chemical pheromone which gives
each of us our personal odors. However sweat is also secreted from
apocrine glands and is broken down by bacteria that grow on the
skin causing body odor or bromhidrosis.
Obviously therefore if we can minimize underarm sweating we can
also minimize the growth of bacteria and reduce underarm odor. This
is where prescription antiperspirants come into the picture. Once
again before we proceed we must make a distinction between deodorants
and antiperspirants. A deodorant as the term suggests is any product
that causes your skin to smell good but it cannot actually reduce
sweating. That is the job of a prescription antiperspirant which
affects the sweat-producing mechanism.
There are several varieties of prescription antiperspirants on the
market. In some form or other most of them include one or more of
the following ingredients: aluminum hexahydrate in alcohol tannic
acid solution formalin solution and glutaraldehyde solution. All
prescription antiperspirants can be used to control underarm sweating
In broad terms aluminum chloride hexahydrate in anhydrous alcohol
formula is a stronger version of aluminum chloride and is one of
the strongest antiperspirants available. It is widely marketed under
the trade name of Drysol (manufactured by Person & Covey Inc)
and is obtainable under prescription from a doctor for the treatment
of excessive underarm sweating. However there are also products
like Odaban Anhydrol Forte and Driclor for those with acute underarm
sweating and Certain Dri Maxim and 5-Day for milder cases of underarm
When choosing a prescription antiperspirant therefore you will
not lack for choice. Most prescription antiperspirants contain between
5% and 20% of aluminum chloride in either water or alcohol base.
It is commoner for the milder antiperspirants to use a water base
but the negative impact of water is skin irritation that results
as the chloride in aluminum chloride gradually dissolves in water
to form hydrochloric acid.
In the case of stronger antiperspirants which use an alcohol base
the presence of alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the skin that
necessitates regular use of moisturizers. However since these antiperspirants
do not use water the chances of hydrochloric acid forming are significantly
lower though not totally absent because many of these products are
available in roll-on or dab-on form in which case perspiration or
moisture may contaminate the product as they seep in through the
surface that is in contact with the skin. One way to avoid this is
to make sure your skin is absolutely dry before you apply any prescription
Tannic acid solution is another ingredient that is found in prescription
antiperspirants. Tannic acid is most commonly found in tea and a
lot of people use it as a home remedy for underarm perspiration by
bathing the area in tea sans milk sugar or lemon. Though the tannic
acid may form stains they are usually removable with soap and water.
Tannic acid is also found in branded products such as Ivy Dry Zilactol
Glutaraldehyde 10% aqueous (in water) solution can be made by any
qualified druggist and should be applied to the underarms using cotton
swabs. While a fairly effective mode of controlling underarm sweating
glutaraldehyde produces a brownish discoloration which means you
cannot display your underarms in public. That is the strong drawback
indeed and one that makes glutaraldehyde more suited for treatment
of excessive sweating of the feet than the hands or underarms.
Yet another kind of prescription antiperspirant is the 5% to 10%
formalin solution but owing to its strong and unpleasant odor and
its tendency to cause skin allergies in some people it is among
the least used prescription antiperspirants.
How do antiperspirants work?
That is a big question. Most doctors will tell you that antiperspirants
are the first course of treatment for excessive underarm sweating
because they are the least invasive and potentially least harmful
methods. Typically antiperspirants are applied to the surface of
the skin and plug the sweat ducts thereby reducing the volume of
sweat that reaches the skin’s surface. This also causes deodorization
since the bacteria that cause underarm odor do not have a chance
to grow in the absence of sweat.
However the biggest drawback of prescription antiperspirants is
the fact that they offer only temporary relief and must be used repeatedly.
Besides if your skin reacts negatively to the prescription antiperspirant
that you use you may end up with stained or bleached underarms that
can cause considerable embarrassment. Most people with sensitive
skins who are liable to contract such skin problems as eczema are
also likely to develop allergies to prescription antiperspirants.
Furthermore anyone with a history of allergies from such substances
as dyes may also develop an allergy to prescription antiperspirants.
So the strongest antiperspirants may not always be the most suitable
for you. In fact an antiperspirant that contains fewer ingredients
and has a water base is likely to be best when you begin your hyperhidrosis
treatment. A few recent studies suggest that aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex
glycine is an effective alternative to aluminum chloride because
it is less likely to cause skin irritation or inflammation. So make
sure none of the ingredients in your prescription antiperspirant
affect you negatively.
Follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter because these
instructions may vary from individual to individual. Generally most
prescription antiperspirants are applied at bedtime when you are
likely to sweat the least. For those who shave their underarms you
must wait at least 24 hours before you apply the prescription antiperspirant.
There is always a chance that your skin will get irritated with
prescription antiperspirants and if that does happen you can treat
it with an anti-inflammation cream. However if the irritation persists
make sure your doctor knows about it.