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May 5th, 2004

Sweaty but Not Stinky

I went through four years of college and came out with a degree, but I’m still flummoxed by the very existence of non-anti-perspirant deodorant. Right there, alongside the regular ol’ anti-perspirant deodorant combinations that stop both sweat and stank are products that only stop odor. While I can somewhat understand the need for a non-deodorant anti-perspirant for people sensitive to certain smells, I cannot think of a situation where someone would think, “I really want my underarm area to smell wonderful, but I don’t care so much about those big circles that form by the end of a hard day at work.”

I’m particularly annoyed today because the packaging looks pretty much the same. It took me nearly two weeks of thinking I just had a really inefficient anti-perspirant to look at the container and realize that it was only a deodorant. Can anyone shed some light onto why this type of product exists?

In the meantime, I propose that the companies producing these monstrosities slap a big sticker on the front that reads: “WARNING: WILL NOT STOP SWEAT” or “WARNING: YOU’LL SMELL GOOD BUT YOUR SHIRT WILL LOOK LIKE YOU JUST JUMPED INTO A LAKE.”

Posted in Everyday Life

yeeshka October 17, 2006, 5:24 am

First of all: Sweat does not smell. What smells is whene the sweat mixes with bacteria under your arms, so if you smell real bad and deodorant just doesn’t cut it, try an anti-bacterial soap or for a quick fix rub purell or one-step (hand-sanitizers) under your arms. Secondly: If your scared of the Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex, there are plenty of natural deodorants. Henri Bernard has a solid and a spray, and Alba has 3 that can be found in the natural foods section. Marcelle also has one that is not natural but contains no aluminum. I’ve never tried any of them but people buy them so they must work.

Steve February 23, 2007, 5:17 pm

I used to be a sweat machine! My underarms would sweat profusely. I tried Drisol (the prescription anitperspirant) but it itched so horribly bad that I had to stop. I don’t remember why or how, but I stooped using antiperspirants and switched to just plain old deodorant! The sweating stopped completely.

For some reason, something in the deodorant caused me to sweat more! I have recommended this solution to a couple of friends with the same problem, and they have achieved the same results. Not sure if it’s an allergy or what, but for some of us, antiperspirants have the opposite effect.

2 Cents March 23, 2007, 10:57 pm

(*Is it true that you can buy antiperspirant crystals which reduce sweat in a similar way to antiperspirants? Is this a safer alternative to spray and roll-on antiperspirants?*)

In parts of Asia, people reduce their sweating by rubbing ground up crystals of alum, known locally as tawas, into their armpits. The antiperspirant crystals that you can buy, and which are often marketed as a ‘healthy’ alternative, are also made of crystal of alum. Crystal of alum is an aluminum salt, and reduces sweating in exactly the same way as a ‘modern’ antiperspirant – by mixing with sweat to form a thin coating that temporarily reduces sweating. Indeed, the active ingredients of modern antiperspirants are also aluminum salts; usually Aluminum Chlorohydrate (ACH), or Aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex GLY (AZAG). These salts have been tested thoroughly by antiperspirant manufacturers and relevant health authorities and provide the safest and most effective means of controlling sweat.

mel March 25, 2007, 2:03 pm

My favorite post is from C. After 344 posts about deodorant causing (or not causing) cancer, we get a warning that deodorant might cause cancer.

I had a roommate once that was very into natural and non-chemical items for just about everything you can think of. She had 5 or 6 of those natural deodorants, some of the brand names have been listed above. She would carry on about how much better they are for you, and how they work just as good as the “killer” deodorants, etc., etc.

One problem: she stunk. All the time. And didn’t know.

Kristin May 9, 2007, 10:22 pm

Wow. I had no idea there was this much interest in this topic! I’m a non antiperspirant user and PROUD of it! I don’t sweat all that much, and mostly I just want to have a clean smell down there. haha.

I personally was brought up to *NEVER use antiperspirants* b/c of the aforementioned reasons (clog pores, preventing toxins from releasing, cancer risks, aluminum on skin=not so good, etc.). Unfortunately, it can be hard to find good “just deodorant” deodorants! It is very frustrating. If we could shake up demand for these non antiperspirant deodorants, we would all be better off. I found one that I really loved by lady speed stick (Crystal Clean) but I now cannot find it sold anywhere. I’ve even gone so far as to write to them asking for a case to purchase!

Any recommendations for an adequate replacement??

Kristin May 9, 2007, 10:25 pm

p.s. after that last comment…i hope i’m not in denial about my “stank.” I will be doing some polling to make sure! I hope my friends tell me the truth if I smell bad…you never know. I’ve heard your sense of smell is the fastest adapting sense.

DW May 13, 2007, 5:08 pm

This thread’s clearly rumbled on for a few years, but I’ve been dealing with primary hyperhidrosis for even longer and hope I can add a few pennies’ worth:

First, I use non-anti-perspirant deodorant each day because I like the smell. I don’t need the anti-perspirant because I use a product of 20% Aluminium Chloride Hexahydrate once a week. This completely stops (I mean completely) underarm sweating. I don’t see the need to add extra different chemicals each day when the weekly dose stops the damn wet patches.

For people seriously worried about sweating, please just go and see a pharmacist or doctor. There are two types of excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis. The first, ‘primary’ or ‘focal’ hyperhidrosis affects the underarms, hands or feet, and is found in as many as 3% of adults. It can be dealt with by using over-the-counter medicinal products like Driclor/Drisil, and Certain Dri which contain aluminium salts in stronger concentrations than normal anti-perspirants. They are applied overnight for the first week, and washed off each morning. After sweating stops, you may need to use it only once every few weeks. It can cause mild skin irritation, but I’ve always followed the instructions closely and never had a problem. These products are odourless (see below). Secondary hyperhidrosis affects all parts of the body, and is usually a sympton of metabolic, neurological or other illness, or hormonal changes such as the menopause. Some of these can be treated or alleviated to help with excessive sweating, so I would seek advice from a doctor.

Risks in the use anti-perspirants are possible. A good scientist would never rule out anything, only state that no evidence exists to the contrary. No correlation has been demonstrated (and it has been investigated) between the use of antiperspirants and breast cancer, Alzheimer’s or other diseases. Although the substances involved are potentially dangerous if ingested or inhaled in sufficient quantities, this is not the method or concentration used in underarm application. Skin application of aluminium through use of deodorant has been shown several times not to result in higher brain concentrations of this metal. Moreover, the body does not rely especially on sweating to release toxins (and emphatically does not require exclusive use of the armpits to remove the small amount that it does!), nor does it drain blocked pores into the lymphatic system; they just stop producing sweat. Given the small area concerned, and the infrequent application of these substances, the risks are small, even if they were real (which they don’t seem to be).

Hope this helps a few people. Advice like this has made my life much more comfortable. Meanwhile, to go back to the original point, the reason non-anti-perspirant deodorants should exist is because the usual varieties of anti-perspirant just aren’t good enough, and the decent ones are odourless. It’s always nice to smell good!

Melanie June 19, 2007, 2:14 pm

After a bout with a benign lump in my breast, I was told that women should avoid anti-perspirants because they do not allow moisture to leave the body and can cause lumps in breasts. I have never had another lump since I’ve switched to non-anti-perspirant deoderant so before you diss this concept maybe you should consider it a women’s issue.

Debiny August 2, 2007, 7:42 pm

I have used deodorants my entire life, due to the warnings and because I don’t really sweat much and did not require anything stronger. Now that I’m in my 40s, there’s a little more work involved in being fresh and smelling good. So I bought Secret Antiperspirant Gel. I just started using it less than a week ago and now have two painful lumps under one of my arms. I have read a lot of threads, some of which are pretty scary. At any rate, I am certainly going to find other ways of smelling fresh, rather than resorting to an antiperspirant.

By the way, if you’re here to critique spelling or insult people, then it really doesn’t matter what you put under your arms. Try being nice. Someday you might be the one with a medical condition, looking for good advice, not comments from twerps. Be nice. It looks really great on you. 😀

shy December 7, 2007, 5:47 am

I am in the same situation as DW. I suffered from hyperhidrosis and was sweating profusely under my arms no matter what I was doing or what kind of situation I was in. Now, I use Drysol (i think i spelled that right) under my arms once a week at night. Yes, it burns/itches and whatnot when you first put it on, but it is SO worth it not to have to wear jackets all the time and keep my arms down out of paranoia. I still use a deodorant even though I never sweat anymore (at all. unless i forget to use the Drysol for a while, but then it’s still mild sweating when it’s hot). I’m used to putting something under my arms and I feel weird without it. And I like smelling nice, especially in a region that was previously so embarrassing.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I’m a female, which made it all the worse to wear fitted tops and end up with rings of sweat under my arms. Not very ladylike.

Simple December 16, 2009, 12:00 am

No one probably ever reads this thread anymore, but what the hell?

I don’t like using antis… they just don’t work all that well, they stain white shirts, and while correlation does not imply causation, I’d rather play it on the safe side.

If you sweat a lot, invest in some dri-shields/dress shields. You can wash them. They keep your underarms from looking like you jumped in a lake. These can work in conjunction with deodorants! Hurrah!

You can use natural alternatives. I like Henri Bernard. They use alum, but it sits on top of the skin (something to do with the salt mineral being to big to be absorbed into pores, iirc), unlike anti-perspirants.

If none of these appeal to you, a person can dust on baby powder (tip: invest in a make-up brush). The downside is that you have to apply it more often, so it’s a bit of a hassle.

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