What is antiperspirant for? From the name itself, you can pretty much guess it's against ("anti") perspiration, or more simply, sweat. So you know the main fact about antiperspirant. But there are other things you probably didn't know about that little stick that you throw into your gym bag. Read on to find out more.

How do antiperspirants work?
Antiperspirants contain compounds made of either aluminum or methenamine. These compounds work to plug the sweat ducts. Your body senses that your sweat ducts are plugged, so it sends a message to reduce sweat flow. When you apply antiperspirants topically to the skin, you're essentially reducing sweat from coming out onto your skin, helping to prevent wetness and odour.

What's the difference between antiperspirant and deodorant?
Deodorant doesn't work the same way as antiperspirants. Deodorants help reduce body odour by killing off odour-causing bacteria (body odour comes from sweat mixing with bacteria that live on our skin) or including fragrances to mask odour. However, they do not help reduce sweating. So if you're trying to combat sweat, your best bet is to use an antiperspirant. If sweat and smell worry you, then you may want to choose a product that is both an antiperspirant and a deodorant. Some antiperspirants are also scented to keep you smelling fresh.

Are antiperspirants effective?
Yes, antiperspirants are effective at reducing sweat.

When and how should I apply antiperspirant?
Before applying antiperspirants, make sure the area you are applying on is completely dry. Then apply a light layer of the antiperspirant to the skin, making sure to cover the skin where you tend to get wet.

Antiperspirants work best when applied at night to the affected areas. Before bed is the best time because people sweat less at night, so when you apply the antiperspirant, little or none of it gets washed away by sweat. When you sweat less, it also means more of the antiperspirant is absorbed into the skin, allowing more sweat ducts to be plugged. Wash the antiperspirant off in the morning to help prevent skin irritation. If irritation isn't an issue, you can just leave it on; the antiperspirant should work throughout the day even after a morning shower.

Will antiperspirant irritate my skin?
Skin irritation and discomfort may occur with antiperspirants. To help prevent this:

  • Wash off strong antiperspirants in the morning after you've left it on overnight.
  • Do not apply antiperspirant on recently shaved skin; wait 24 to 48 hours.