What's an antiperspirant?
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 sits temporarily 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 stop sweat and contain a fragrance at the same time. But deodorants only mask body odour; they don’t help to prevent sweating.
How do antiperspirants work?
To combat body odour, some antiperspirants also contain antimicrobials that work to kill the bacteria that cause body odour . 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.
Best form of deodorant and antiperspirant
Antiperspirants and deodorants come in four main categories: 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.
Are antiperspirants safe?
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 claim.
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Best deodorant and antiperspirant for sensitive skin
Some people may find that they are sensitive to antiperspirants and deodorants, particularly in the armpit area. Reactions can include irritation or rash. Sensitivity to antiperspirants and deodorants is most commonly caused by the fragrance or perfume that is added to mask the smell of body odour, or as a reaction to other ingredients such as alcohol or aluminium salts.
If you are sensitive to perfume or fragrance, or have a history of eczema, 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.
You can also:
- Use an emollient or moisturiser alongside an antiperspirant or deodorant to minimise skin irritation or inflammation.
- Speak with your doctor or healthcare professional for advice if you are worried about any sensitivity you experience when using antiperspirants or deodorants. For those with allergies or skin conditions such as eczema or sensitive skin, Shield offers aluminium-free products for men and women.