Antiperspirants help to reduce the production of sweat. Aluminium salts – the active ingredient found in antiperspirants – dissolve into the moisture on the skin’s surface. This forms a gel, which temporarily sits on top of the sweat gland, reducing the amount of sweat released.
Antiperspirants that contain alcohol also help the active ingredient to dry faster and create a pleasant, cool feeling.
An antiperspirant can also be a deodorant, because it can help to control sweat and contain a fragrance at the same time. But deodorants only mask body odor; they don’t help to prevent sweating.
To combat body odor, some antiperspirants also contain antimicrobials that work to kill the bacteria that cause BO. Slowing the reproduction of these bacteria neutralises bad smells, so you stay fresher for longer. Some antiperspirants also contain added skin conditioners that make your underarms feel soft.
Antiperspirants and deodorants come in four main formats: aerosol, stick, roll-on and cream. Aerosol sprays are quick drying and convenient. Sticks are a solid block of product and have the largest application surface, making them good for heavy perspiration, whereas roll-ons are easy and precise. Creams allow for a precise measurement application, while moisturising your skin and delivering sweat protection.
There is no scientific research to suggest that any of the ingredients used in antiperspirants and deodorants are damaging to your health. Antiperspirants and deodorants are effective, rigorously tested and safe to use on a regular basis.
Some newspaper or internet stories warn that antiperspirant and deodorant use may be linked to breast cancer. However, cancer experts, charities and world health authorities say there is no credible evidence to support this.
Some people may find that they are sensitive to antiperspirants or deodorants, particularly in the armpit area. Reactions can include irritation or rash. Sensitivity to antiperspirants or deodorants is most commonly caused by the fragrance or perfume that is added to mask the smell of body odor, or as a reaction to other ingredients such as alcohol or aluminium salts.
If you are sensitive to perfume or fragrance, then it is a good idea to try a fragrance-free antiperspirant or deodorant. After switching to a fragrance-free antiperspirant or deodorant, you may find that the allergy clears.
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