Finding an antiperspirant that is both effective and safe for sensitive skin can be a challenge.
It’s important to remember that it’s best to get your doctor’s approval with any antiperspirant, even over-the-counter ones. And before trying a new product on sensitive skin, do a patch test to make sure you don’t experience irritation or an allergic reaction.
Learn more about what to look for in an antiperspirant, how they work, and whether they are safe.
5 things to look for in an antiperspirant for sensitive skin
1. Contains aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex and aluminum sesquichlorohydrate
Products with these ingredients not only provide more sweat protection but also cause less irritation.
- Aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex:
- Blocks sweat ducts at a more superficial level compared with other products.
- Produces much less hydrochloric acid (HCl), which is a chemical that causes skin irritation.
- Aluminum sesquichlorohydrate:
- Used in some of the newest antiperspirants in the market, and also considered good for sensitive skin.
Aluminum salts in antiperspirants are sometimes dissolved in alcohol to make them dry quickly and feel cooling to the skin. However, alcohol can lead to excessive dryness and irritate sensitive skin.
Parabens can cause skin irritation, especially in the underarm area.
If you are sensitive to perfume or fragrance or have a history of eczema, it’s a good idea to try a fragrance-free antiperspirant.
5. Comes in cream form
Antiperspirant creams that come in jars or tubes are often packed with ingredients that hydrate the skin, which can minimize irritation.
How do antiperspirants work?
Antiperspirants help decrease sweat production. Active ingredients, such as aluminum salts, dissolve into the moisture on the skin’s surface. This forms a gel, which temporarily sits on top of the sweat gland, blocking the amount of sweat released.
Some antiperspirants also contain deodorant properties, such as antimicrobials that work to kill odor-causing bacteria. Slowing bacterial growth neutralizes bad smells, which means you smell fresh for longer.
Are antiperspirants safe?
Years ago, concerns were raised as to whether antiperspirants and deodorants may be linked to breast cancer. However, thorough testing and studies have shown that antiperspirants are not damaging to health and are both effective and safe for regular use.
Like any other ingredients used in cosmetics, aluminum salts are strictly regulated and subject to stringent safety controls and scientific testing. So, whether you prefer conventional antiperspirants or aluminum-free deodorants, you can be confident that they are safe for use on the body.
If you have sensitive skin, consider the following precautions when using antiperspirants:
- Avoid applying antiperspirants to mucus membranes (mouth, nose, eyelids, genitals, anus).
- Antiperspirants can cause irritant or allergic contact dermatitis, and skin around the underarm area is particularly prone to developing these reactions because it is thin, delicate, moist, and occluded. If you think you may be allergic to a certain ingredient, consider using less concentrated formulas.
- In rare cases where a hair follicle is blocked over a long period, a cyst may develop. Infected cysts can damage sweat ducts and form painful hard lumps that may need to be surgically removed.
- People at risk of developing a reaction to an antiperspirant include those with:
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
International Hyperhidrosis Society. Antiperspirant Basics. https://www.sweathelp.org/hyperhidrosis-treatments/antiperspirants/antiperspirant-basics.html
Massick S. No, You Shouldn’t Worry About Aluminum in Your Antiperspirant. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/aluminum-deoderant