Sweating is normal for all human beings. However, nobody appreciates walking around with a bad smell, which is mostly caused by sweating. As a result, most people look for ways to control body odor. Because of its easy application, the use of antiperspirants has been one of the most commonly used methods in controlling body odor. Only a few people understand how antiperspirants work and tend to mistake them for deodorants.
Another common mistake is that most people assume that it is the sweat itself that causes the smell of body odor. The fact is that body odor is caused by the bacteria residing in the skin when it starts to feed on sweat, particularly the oily sweat normally secreted by the apocrine glands. Antiperspirants work by keeping these bacteria from digesting the sweat and causing unpleasant odors.
Antiperspirants have been proved to work well on the underarms, hands or feet, however, iontophoresis
could be the best solution for you when dealing with Hyperhidrosis.
How Antiperspirants work
The main purpose of antiperspirants is to prevent the user from sweating, which is one of the major factors that creates unpleasant body odor. Antiperspirants stop the sweat in body areas where it is applied - most commonly the underarms. Antiperspirants contain aluminium ions which work by making the sweat glands tighter and hence prevent the excretion of sweat. As a result, unpleasant body odor is significantly reduced. On certain occasions, however, the aluminum compounds may cause allergic reactions on the skin.
Once the antiperspirant has been applied, the cells on the skin's surface will absorb the active ingredients contained in the product. Water then flows into the cells along with the active ingredient, which, in this case, is mostly aluminum. As the water content rises, the cells begin swelling and applying pressure on the adjacent sweat ducts. As a result of the swelling, the sweat ducts narrow down and get in the way of sweat flow. The condition is only temporary, but ultimately, water flows out of the cells. This continues to a certain point until the dried up sweat ducts return to their usual condition.
Most people use antiperspirants to keep away unpleasant smells resulting from sweat reactions or to prevent sweat from seeping through lightly colored clothing, which could cause embarrassment. Unfortunately, the harmless bacteria present on the skin causes the unpleasant odor, and it thrives in damp, warm areas with low oxygen as is characteristic of the underarms. The antiperspirants work by blocking sweat so the underarms remain dry. In most cases, the action of the antiperspirants is felt as soon as it is applied. However, various products on the market last for different time durations. Nevertheless, quite a number of these products are created to last for at least one day or until washed off in the shower.
The majority of antiperspirants are available for different skin types, but nearly all antiperspirants are made using aluminum as the main component. Most manufacturers strive to use different concentrations of aluminum so as to accommodate varied skin types. It is therefore important for individuals to determine their skin type and use antiperspirants appropriate for their skin.
One of the advantages of antiperspirants is that they are economical to use, especially the ones that are made to last an extended time. As such, it is advisable to choose antiperspirants that are a good value for the money. You must also consider skin tolerance. Hence, products should not be used that are harsh on a particular skin type. Furthermore, antiperspirants that contain no dyes or fragrances are especially good since they are not likely to stain clothing. It is advisable to stay away from antiperspirants that contain preservatives.
Another important note to make is that some antiperspirants are made for specific areas of the skin. Included are products for the shoulders, neck, forehead, hands and soles of the feet. It is important to use the correct product because antiperspirants for the sole may be harsher than products designed for the forehead. Since it is important to ensure the product is used appropriately People should always avoid antiperspirants that cause irritation to their skin. An ideal antiperspirant is made using high quality oils that correspond with the respective skin type it is made for.
On many occasions, people mistake antiperspirants for deodorants even though they are quite different. Despite the fact both antiperspirants and deodorants are meant to eliminate body odors. Deodorants work by blocking the odor that emanates from the bacteria that grows in the underarms. Antiperspirants, on the other hand, work specifically against sweat via their aluminum content. However, there are some deodorants that also contain antiperspirants.
Types of Antiperspirants
Antiperspirants are created in various forms. The most common forms include spray, stick, and cream as well as roll on antiperspirants. Unlike the stick, cream, and roll on forms, spray antiperspirants do not leave any residue likely to stain clothing or armpits. Nevertheless, all these forms act effectively to reduce sweating and control body odor. 24 hour antiperspirants are particularly effective in keeping the underarm from sweating for a long period of time.
In addition, antiperspirants are available over the counter and by prescription. Over the counter antiperspirants usually contain less than 20% of the active ingredient, commonly, they contain about 3-8%. It has been proven that good quality antiperspirants are capable of significantly reducing the production of sweat. It is, however, thought that spray antiperspirants may be less effective since quite a considerable amount may be lost in the air as it is sprayed on the body.
On another note, it is recommended that people with sensitive and delicate underarm skin avoid using antiperspirants. Also, individuals who are susceptible to dye, fragrance, and contact allergy need to avoid the use of antiperspirants. Furthermore, people at risk of razor burn and eczema are also advised to avoid using antiperspirants, especially the stick, roll on and cream forms.
Antiperspirants and Breast Cancer
It is fairly common to read or hear speculations about a connection between the use of antiperspirants and breast cancer. The theories stipulate that when aluminum blocks the excretion of sweat in the underarms, it could contribute to breast cancer. A number of theories stipulate that regular use of aluminum can also contribute to Alzheimer disease since it causes the deposit of aluminum into the brain.
On the other hand, some studies indicate that there is no increased risk of breast cancer among individuals who use antiperspirants as compared to those who do not. Nevertheless, other researchers stipulate that the constant use of antiperspirants may lead to the build up of potentially harmful ingredients in breast tissue. Even so, the study did not indicate that these ingredients were causal factors in cancer. Plus, the study is known to be cited by individuals who are against antiperspirants.
Despite all these speculations, you need to realize that most manufacturers spend a lot of time and money making sure that these products are safe and effective before they are made available to consumers. Nearly all countries also have regulatory authorities that make sure that products are safe to use before they are released to the market.