What is the Best Way to Stop Underarm Perspiration?

Amanda R. Bell

At least 3% of the world's population experiences excessive sweating in their armpits. There are many ways to stop underarm perspiration or extreme underarm perspiration which is also known as axillary hyperhidrosis; the best way to do so varies by person. An antiperspirant with aluminum chloride as one of the main ingredients can be purchased at many different retail outlets without visiting a doctor and can help to stop underarm perspiration. If this does not work, a prescription for a stronger antiperspirant, electrical treatments, or botox injections in the armpits can be helpful. In very severe cases, the best way to stop underarm perspiration may be to undergo surgery.

There are various ways to try to stop underarm sweating.
There are various ways to try to stop underarm sweating.

Using an over-the-counter antiperspirant containing aluminum chloride can be an option for those with only minimal underarm sweating. Unlike deodorants, which only mask underarm odors, the aluminum chloride found in antiperspirants stops underarm sweating at the source. The aluminum sinks into the epidermis. After coming in contact with water, the sweat ducts that have absorbed the aluminum chloride swell, thus making it difficult for sweat to be expelled.

A prescription-strength antiperspirant may be necessary to control excessive sweating.
A prescription-strength antiperspirant may be necessary to control excessive sweating.

Prescription strength antiperspirants generally work the same way. The main difference is the amount of aluminum chloride in the product; prescription versions usually contain at least a 10% higher concentration of the main ingredient. Unlike over-the-counter products, those prescribed by a doctor are typically applied before bed in limited quantities and not washed off the next morning. This allows time for the product to sink into all of the sweat ducts under the arm, thus providing more even and lasting protection.

A diagram of the human skin, including sweat glands.
A diagram of the human skin, including sweat glands.

When antiperspirants fail to work, an at-home electrical treatment prescribed by a doctor may help to stop underarm perspiration. This treatment, known as lontophoresis, uses water as a conductor, sending small electrical currents into the sweat glands, causing them to swell and limiting perspiration. A doctor prescribes the equipment, and typically recommends 10- to 20-minute home applications two to three times a week for two to three weeks; weekly maintenance treatments follow. The treatments are typically not painful.

Using antiperspirant is a good way to stop underarm sweating.
Using antiperspirant is a good way to stop underarm sweating.

For many people, botox has been shown to be the best way to stop underarm perspiration. The standard treatment includes 20 injections in each side in various parts of the armpit, i.e., 40 injections in all. The treatment lasts up to six months, essentially paralyzing the sweat glands, and putting a stop to underarm perspiration.

As a last resort, surgery can be done to eliminate underarm perspiration. Known as thoracic sympathectomy, the nerves connected to the sweat glands are basically rerouted, thus significantly reducing underarm sweat. Depending on the severity of the sweating, each of these treatments can help those suffering from axillary hyperhidrosis. The best way depends on the severity of the perspiration as well as a person's body chemistry. Consulting a knowledgeable medical professional is a good first step.

Some deodorants work to reduce body odor while others work do this and prevent the body from perspiring.
Some deodorants work to reduce body odor while others work do this and prevent the body from perspiring.

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Discussion Comments

chrisinbama

@dinoleash: If you are bathing and using deodorant regularly then maybe you are not using the right deodorant for you. Most people tend to pick out their deodorant based on the scent or the price. You might pick out a nice vanilla deodorant but it is not going to stop your sweating problem.

It’s a good idea to look for heavy strength antiperspirant. It’s a little more expensive but it is well worth it. If that doesn’t work then I would recommend what the last comment said; talk to your doctor. There are creams and medications that could help you. Good luck!

DinoLeash

I have a problem with severe underarm sweating. I am 16 years old and it can be embarrassing. I bathe regularly and I use antiperspirant/deodorant, but I just can't seem to get rid of my sweat. I never stink, I just sweat rapidly. Does anyone have any more suggestions as to how I can stop this problem?

christym

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when trying to stop perspiration is thinking that deodorant alone will work. Deodorant is great for odors but it really does nothing to prevent perspiration. Antiperspirants are necessary for stopping perspiration.

Another thing is to make sure that you are not applying antiperspirant when you are dirty. You should make sure that you have showered first and then apply your antiperspirant/deodorant. It’s okay to reapply as needed but showering first helps out a lot.

Good hygiene is also important in smelling fresh and clean. If you have excessive underarm perspiration and antiperspirants aren't working, you can talk to your doctor about prescription cream that you apply under your armpits.

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