Why Your Antiperspirant Routine Isn’t Working & How to Feel Drier

We all know how to apply antiperspirant. It’s an essential part of your morning routine.

There’s nothing worse than running frantically out the door, only to remember you forgot to apply deodorant.

You know the scenario. You’re already running late, stressed out, and you haven’t even had your morning coffee yet. Then, the revelation that you forgot deodorant hits you, leaving you painfully self-conscious for the rest of the day.

But did you know that using deodorant in the morning may not even be working for you?

See how to stop sweat marks, even if you forget deodorant.

Swiping on underarm protection before starting the day is as ubiquitous as brushing your teeth. But if you’re applying antiperspirant in the morning, you’re not getting the full sweat-blocking effects.

There’s a right way to apply antiperspirant — and most of us get it wrong every single day. Here’s why it doesn’t work and how to apply antiperspirant correctly.

Why Your Morning Deodorant Routine Isn’t Working

First, deodorants and antiperspirants are not equal.

Deodorants merely mask the smell by killing bacteria that causes body odor. Antiperspirants attack sweat at the source. Aluminum, the active ingredient in antiperspirants, clog your sweat ducts and stop your glands from producing sweat.

If you’re only applying deodorant, you’re just treating the odor, not the sweat itself. And, if you shower after waking up, your morning deodorant or antiperspirant ritual is even less useful.

When you wake up, your body immediately starts sweating (whether you realize it or not). But aluminum, the active ingredient in antiperspirant, can’t penetrate wet skin.

That means putting on antiperspirant while you’re sweating or right out of the shower won’t do much to stop your sweat. And constant trips to the bathroom to slather on more deodorant won’t help, either. The aluminum can’t pass through sweat or water to clog your sweat ducts, rendering antiperspirant essentially useless.

Luckily, we can help.

How to Apply Antiperspirant

Here’s how to apply antiperspirant to reap the full benefits.

Apply Deodorant at Night

First, there is a right time to apply antiperspirant. And it’s not in the morning.

Although you might not be concerned about sweat marks in your sleep, swiping on antiperspirant before bedtime is more effective than applying it in the morning.

When you apply antiperspirant at night, your sweat glands have more time to absorb the aluminum. Because your body temperature cools down at night, you sweat less, giving your antiperspirant a fighting chance to absorb into your skin and block your sweat glands.

Here’s the kicker. Once the antiperspirant has infiltrated your armpit pores, you don’t have to reapply in the morning – even if you shower. Because the aluminum has entered your pores and isn’t sitting on the surface of your skin, water won’t wash it off.

However, showering after putting on antiperspirant at night reduces its effectiveness, so make sure you give it time to work its magic.

Make Sure Your Pits Are Clean and Dry Before Applying

Antiperspirant is stronger than standard deodorant and can irritate sensitive skin. Don’t use the product immediately after shaving or on broken or irritated skin.

If you shower at night, make sure your pits are completely dry before applying antiperspirant.

Stop Sweat the Natural Way

Want to stay natural and skip the aluminum? Thompson Tee is a patented sweat proof undershirt guaranteed to block sweat marks. The undershirt blocks wetness and odor and protects your outerwear, keeping you fresh and confident all day. Paired with a natural deodorant, you’ll never worry about underarm odor again.

See how a Thompson Tee conceals your armpit sweat. Try one risk free today and take 20% off with code TEES20.

How to Stop Sweating : 10 Tips & Treatments

How far are you willing to go to stop embarrassing sweat?

Are you willing to shock your sweat away with electrotherapy?

Believe it or not, some people are.

Fortunately, there are also plenty of less intense ways to prevent sweat.

This article provides a quick overview of common sweat control methods.

From natural remedies to advanced surgical procedures and everything in between, here are 10 ways to deal with unwanted sweat:

1. Avoid Sweat-Inducing Foods

The first step to reducing sweat is to watch what you eat. (I know, this one is pretty difficult cuz dangit, who doesn’t love food?)

Post-meal sweating can happen for a few reasons, including:

  • Signals sent from nerves in the mouth to the brain
  • Body temperature increases as the body digests
  • Heart rate and blood pressure increases

Here’s a list of sweat-inducing foods to avoid:

  • Peppers, chilis and curries: These foods contain capsaicin, which can trigger receptors in the mouth to tell your nervous system that you are hot, and then your brain sends a signal to your sweat glands to cool you down.
  • Sugar: Candy, cake, ketchup, barbeque sauce and other high-sugar foods can spike blood sugar, boost insulin production and promote sweating in sensitive individuals.
  • Simple carbs: Bread, pasta, and other simple carbs are quickly broken down into glucose and are in the same boat as sugar.
  • Processed foods: Fried foods and trans fats contain preservatives and other unhealthy compounds that may promote sweating.
  • Salty foods: Excessive sodium from salty foods can lead to electrolyte imbalances. Ultimately, the only way to restore balance is to increase fluid. output, which means more urinating and increased sweating. Try to keep your sodium consumption to 4 grams ( = 2 teaspoons salt) daily!
  • High-protein meals: Eating too much protein at one time can generate a lot of thermogenic heat and trigger sweating.
  • Caffeine: Coffee and energy drinks can increase sweating by triggering our bodies fight or flight response.

Beer, wine, and distilled spirits should also be avoided.

A 2005 Japanese study found that alcohol can increase body temperature, dilate the blood vessels, and promote sweating. (1)

According to the study’s authors, “Whole body hot sensation transiently increased after alcohol drinking,” but “Deep body temperature in the alcohol session started to decrease 20 min after the onset of sweating.”

In other words, alcohol heated the participants up so they had to sweat in order to cool down.

If you’re ready to make some radical dietary changes, it just might do the trick. If not, tip 2 requires much less will power…

2. Clinical Strength Antiperspirants

An antiperspirant will stop sweat, while deodorant will only control odor. Keep this in mind as you search out sweat remedies.

The most effective antiperspirants contain a high percentage of aluminum chloride or derivatives of aluminum chloride.

These extra strong antiperspirants with higher levels of aluminum are often called “clinical strength” or “clinical.”

Aluminum-based antiperspirants can reduce sweating by blocking the ducts of the sweat glands.

At the same time, aluminum salts have an astringent effect that causes the pores to contract. (2)

The only problem is that most people use clinical strength antiperspirants incorrectly by applying them first thing in the morning.

Instead, apply it at night before bed so that the aluminum has plenty of time to work its magic.

BUT WAIT? Isn’t aluminum bad for you? Despite reports in popular media, there is no significant causal connection between aluminum-based antiperspirants and diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer (3).

If using a clinical strength antiperspirant feels like “bringing a knife to a gunfight”, you might need to see a doctor for something a little stronger…

3. Prescription Antiperspirants

Some prescription antiperspirants contain 20 percent aluminum or more (clinical-strength antiperspirants contain only 12-15 percent).

However, there is a trade-off: prescription antiperspirants can cause side effects like itching, burning and severe skin irritation.

This is why it’s always best to try an OTC (over-the-counter) antiperspirant first.

Your dermatologist may also recommend a relatively new prescription wipe called Qbrexza, which is designed for people with hyperhidrosis: a condition characterized by extreme, persistent sweating.

Instead of aluminum, it contains a 2.4 percent solution of glycopyrronium: a compound that inhibits a class of receptors in sweat glands that trigger sweating. But, like most prescription options, there can be some fairly uncomfortable side effects and rebound excitation when its use is discontinued, which is the nature of pharmacological block of receptors.

Which takes us to the next option…

4. Hyperhidrosis Medications (Anticholinergics)

Anticholinergic medications can stop sweating throughout the body.

They work by inhibiting the neurotransmitter acetylcholine that triggers sweating.

Common anticholinergics for sweating include:

  • Benztropine
  • Glycopyrrolate
  • Oxybutynin
  • Propantheline

According to a 2019 report, anticholinergics are only recommended after topical treatments have failed. (4)

This is largely due to the possible side effects of:

  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Constipation
  • Urinary retention
  • Dizziness due to drop in blood pressure on standing up (postural hypotension)
  • Cognitive problems (confusion)
  • Heart rhythm disturbance.

If the long list of side effects is more than you care to risk, you might consider taking a metaphorical “chill pill” (i.e. treatment #5 Relaxation Techniques).

5. Relaxation Techniques

According to Gallup’s 2019 data, 55 percent of Americans experience chronic stress, and the more stressed you are, the more likely you are to sweat. (5)

Sweating happens for two main reasons:

Reason #1: the body has to cool down.

Reason #2: the brain initiates the stress response.

Fortunately, relaxation techniques, like mediation and spending time in nature can reduce stress.

While it’s true that some of us sweat more than others, everyone is more likely to sweat when they’re stressed.

However, by engaging in stress-reducing activities, you can train your brain to stress less and your body to sweat less.

As long as we are channeling our zen to stop sweat, we might as well go one level deeper… by sticking needles in the skin, of course.

6. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicinal practice that involves inserting long, thin needles into the skin to stimulate the nerves and lymph nodes.

Practitioners believe that excessive sweating may be caused by heat accumulation in the stomach as well as spleen deficiencies.

While on face value this procedure sounds painful and sweat-inducing (needles…hello!), at least three modern studies indicate that acupuncture can effectively reduce sweating in patients with hyperhidrosis. (6)

If you’re the type that runs from needles, you’ll love #7 (pun intended)

7. Get Regular Exercise

Exercise optimizes the body’s stress response and makes you less likely to experience stress-induced sweating.

For example, one human study found that intense exercise can increase the sweating threshold post-exercise. (7)

In other words, you’re less likely to sweat after having a hard workout.

At the same time, people who exercise a lot actually sweat more during workouts than people who don’t.

According to Dr. Yoshimitsu Inoue of Osaka International University, “Fit people not only perspire more, but they also start sweating sooner during exercise.” (8)

In his 2010 study on exercise and sweating, Dr. Inoue also found that men tend to sweat more than women. (9)

The ultimate takeaway here is that being in shape helps normalize the sweat response so that you sweat more during exercise and less while you’re at rest.

8. Natural Astringents

Several natural products possess astringent properties that cause the blood vessels in the pores to tighten and contract.

Some of the most well-known natural astringents include:

  • Apple cider vinegar: Not only is apple cider vinegar a mild astringent, but it can also kill odor-causing bacteria by balancing pH levels in the body. Rub it directly into the skin or take two teaspoons with raw honey (DON’T FORGET THE HONEY ;)).
  • Sage: An herb of the mint family that contains an astringent called tannic acid. Plus, it also possesses potent antibacterial and antifungal phytochemicals. Brew it into a tea and dab it under the armpits and feet.
  • Witch hazel: Apply it directly to sweaty areas as a natural astringent.
  • Black tea: The leaves and stems of the Camellia sinensis plant contain astringent tannic acids. Brew it into a tea and dab it wherever sweating occurs. However, it’s best not to drink it due to the caffeine content, which can promote sweating.
  • Chamomile: In addition to having mild astringent properties, several studies show that chamomile can reduce stress hormone production and relieve anxiety. Drink it as a tea or take a chamomile bath to promote relaxation. (10)

Although there isn’t much peer-reviewed research supporting the efficacy of these treatments, they’re still worth a shot if you’re starting to run out of options.

9. Wear Breathable Clothing

When all else fails, it doesn’t hurt to have a few wardrobe tricks to reduce (and hide) sweating.

For starters, choose to wear light, breathable clothing with plenty of ventilation.

However, when sweater weather comes around, moisture-wicking fabrics like bamboo and cotton can be your best friend.

When push comes to shove, you can always turn to sweat proof undershirts.

At the same time, avoid greys, light blues and bright colors because they’re notorious for accentuating sweat marks rather than hiding them.

Now, treatments 1-9 are relatively inexpensive. The options in #10… not so much.

10. Hyperhidrosis Treatments & Medical Procedures

When searching out solutions for how to stop sweating, not every remedy is a slam dunk.

If nothing seems to work and you’re struggling to find a fix for profuse sweating, it may be time to consult with your doctor about treatments specifically developed for hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).

Here are some of the most common hyperhidrosis treatment options:

  • Botox is a botulinum toxin injection that temporarily blocks the compounds that stimulate the sweat glands. Side effects can include muscle twitching and weakness at the injection site.
  • miraDry is a non-invasive procedure where the sweat glands are blocked by electromagnetic currents. This is a relatively new procedure and the long-term side effects are not yet known.
  • Iontophoresis: A medical device where the patient places their hands or feet into an anticholinergic solution while a mild electric current passes through it. Can be effective at treating sweaty hands and feet. May cause dryness, peeling and blistering.

Other procedures include endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, liposuction and laser surgery.

Sympathectomy is the most invasive procedure and requires anesthesia. Plus, it can be dangerous, may cause Sympathetic dysreflexia, and has been associated with at least one death.

According to a study published in the journal Science Daily, roughly 7.8 million people in the U.S. have issues with excessive sweating. (11)

However, more recent reports claim that even the latest stats are inaccurate, and that the true numbers are actually much higher. (12)

If you’re one of the millions of people who struggle with embarrassing sweat, start by eating right and using over-the-counter antiperspirants.

Only opt for invasive and expensive procedures as a last resort.

While we do know a few things about sweating and hyperhidrosis, we’re not YOUR doctor. Please remember that this is not personal medical advice and you should consult with your doctor before exploring any treatments or lifestyle changes.

Last week, I walked to a coffee shop near my apartment. The sky was blue, birds chirping, air warm, and my T-shirt—totally covered in sweat. And it wasn’t just the underarm sweat you’d suspect. I looked down and saw sweat spots down the front of my T-shirt. I tried to hide them with my tote bag as a guy walked by me and kept it there until I was safely indoors and taking an iced coffee to the face.

This wasn’t exactly a surprise. I sweat—a lot. A shower is a nonnegotiable part of my workout routine, and even so, I usually continue to sweat even after I finish drying off. It drives me crazy. As Rodney Ruxin of The League would say: “Forever unclean!” Let’s not even get started on the heatwave currently assaulting New York City. I can’t even make it from my apartment to the subway without feeling that telltale trickle of sweat slide down from my chest.

This week, I decided I wasn’t going to take it anymore. I was going to beat the sweat the best way I knew how: Antiperspirant! Obviously.

I’ve waxed poetic about my love for natural deodorants before, but I knew they couldn’t (and wouldn’t) stand up to my current sweat situation. So I called in the big guns: A spray-on antiperspirant. Even though they’re often considered interchangeable, antiperspirant and deodorant are two different things; the first counteracts sweating, while the latter neutralizes B.O. Why the spray-on? Clearly, I have a lot of area to cover, and the idea of swiping a deodorant stick all over my body is, um, unappealing.

I arm myself with not one but two cans of Dove Cool Essentials Dry Spray Antiperspirant ($7, drugstore.com). Off the bat, I love the way it smells. There’s a hint of cucumber, and it makes me feel clean and fresh even though there are already small beads of sweat on my upper lip. Another bonus: I don’t feel it at all on my skin. It’s totally imperceptible. So I spray it everywhere, focusing on my underarms, my chest, and stomach, and then try to aim it at my back and totally miss. I hope my bathroom enjoys its new coating of antiperspirant. This is technically off-label use, but rules were made to be broken or something, right?

Still sweat with antiperspirant

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