You’re Using the Wrong Deodorant

Know when it's time to find a new stick to stop sweat and odor.

By Julia Savacool, Men's Journal

The underarm hygiene industry rakes in $18 billion a year, so it stands to reason that a lot of research goes into perfecting the formula for anti-smell, anti-sweat, and anti-itch. But a surprising 81 percent of men still experience underarm issues that affect their confidence, according to a new Dove Men+Care survey. “Generally speaking, sweating is as much a psychological and social problem as a medical one,” says Anthony Rossi, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. “For guys who sweat a lot when they are nervous or in an emotionally charged situation, it feels like they’ve lost control of their body. They want to feel in control.” Are you one of them? Here’s how to tell if your sweat protection needs an upgrade.

You have a rash.

Those little red bumps around your armpits could be an allergic reaction to your product. “We commonly see cases of allergic contact dermatitis where the person is allergic to the fragrance or the propylene glycol in their antiperspirant,” says Dr. Rossi. Also, “the anti-wetness ingredient, aluminum salt, can itself be an irritant,” says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “If you are getting a rash, try switching to a fragrance-free product or a product with a lower concentration of aluminum salt.”

Your shirts have underarm stains.

If you’ve got sweat marks, your product is not working. Step one: Deodorant users should switch to antiperspirant. “Deodorants reduce odor, while antiperspirants reduce wetness,” says Dr. Zeichner. If you are already using antiperspirant and not getting results, consider a clinical formula. “Rx topicals such as aluminum chloride, also known as Drysol, are a good place to start,” says Dr. Zeichner.

Your shirts smell.

If your deodorant isn’t removing your B.O., you may need to try a different brand. It’s not the sweat itself that stinks. Your perspiration is essentially scentless but it is a breeding ground for bacteria on your skin. “The smell is caused by skin bacteria feeding off the sweat and breaking it down, which causes the odor,” says Dr. Zeichner. Look for deodorants that don’t just contain fragrances that mask smell, but actually include antimicrobial ingredients that reduce the skin bacteria, suggests Dr. Zeichner.

You reapply more than twice a day.

Most people get through an entire day without applying twice, but if you have an active job or intense workout, you may need the double dose. If you’re going for the triple play, however, it could be time to look into prescription-strength products. “Normally, people apply morning and afternoon, and maybe at night, but if that really isn’t stopping the wetness, you may have a clinical condition,” says Dr. Rossi.

What now? “Beyond prescription-strength antiperspirants, your doctor can prescribe an oral medication called glycopyrrolate, a pill that reduces sweat stimulation from the inside out,” says Dr. Zeichner. “It is known as an anticholinergic medication.” The bad news: Its can also cause a dry mouth. Another option: Botox. Not just for wrinkles, Botox is actually FDA-approved for the medical condition hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, and works by blocking the message from being transmitted from your nerves to your sweat glands to make sweat.

You’ve been using the same stuff for a year.

Not the same stick (although that would be a problem too). What we’re talking about is switching up brands every six months to a year. As with shampoo, your body adjusts to various chemical formulas, and over time, they become less effective. Switch for a few months to a different brand with a slightly different formulation; when you go back to your old standby, it should work better.

Bonus Tip: Don't put it on in the morning.

Little known fact: Antiperspirant works best if applied at night. “We tell people to apply their antiperspirant before bed because it basically shuts down the sweating and helps you get ahead of the issue,” says Dr. Rossi. Also, “sweat levels are lowest at night, which makes the antiperspirant more effective,” adds Dr. Zeichner. Applying the product at night gives the active ingredient, aluminum chloride, time to work its way into your sweat ducts and essentially clog them, blocking the sweat. If you apply it in the morning, your body is already producing new sweat, making it harder for the product to work its way in.

See more at: Men's Journal


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Men's Magazine: You’re Using the Wrong Deodorant
You’re Using the Wrong Deodorant
Know when it's time to find a new stick to stop sweat and odor.
Men's Magazine
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