Over-the-Counter Topical Treatments for Hyperhidrosis

For many individuals, physician intervention for hyperhidrosis may not be necessary. Instead, simply purchasing a clinical strength, over-the-counter antiperspirant can be a good first step to address your hyperhidrosis. It is important to know everything you can about hyperhidrosis so you can pick the treatment options best suited to you.
OTC Topical Treatments for Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis is a disorder that causes excessive sweating, which often creates a sense of discomfort and embarrassment that affects millions of people. Approximately 3% (some think up to 5%) of individuals suffer from a form of hyperhidrosis, that is an estimated 365 million people worldwide experience excessive sweat regardless of environmental conditions like heat. Fortunately, many medical solutions are currently available to help reduce excessive sweating and hyperhidrosis can be managed by a doctor if OTC remedies aren't cutting it.[1]

Antiperspirant, which can be found over-the-counter, is the first line treatment for hyperhidrosis. This is because antiperspirant contains an active ingredient that reduces sweat production. Many people don’t realize what antiperspirant is or how it differs from deodorant, but they are quite different. The FDA regulates antiperspirant because the active ingredients in it are considered to be drugs, while deodorant is not as strictly regulated. Deodorant is made up of an antibacterial component and a scent which is used to mask the smell of body odor. This can be helpful, especially because deodorant kills bacteria on the skin that cause sweat to smell bad, but it won’t prevent excessive sweating. Often, the best deodorants for hyperhidrosis are combined with an antiperspirant, these are called antiperspirant deodorant. These combination products work well for some, but in certain situations it is necessary to use separate products, especially in cases that involve moderate to severe hyperhidrosis.

What is in Antiperspirant?

It can be challenging to choose the right over-the-counter antiperspirant because there are so many different options available. However, understanding the active ingredients in antiperspirant can make the decision easier. Most antiperspirants use a type of metallic salt as an active ingredient because they form a superficial plug inside of sweat glands which stops sweat from escaping to the surface of the skin. Aluminum chloride is the most common active ingredient found in antiperspirants and it is usually effective. Newer, clinical strength, products often use aluminum chloride hexahydrate or zirconium trichlorohydrex as an active ingredient. These are usually used when aluminum chloride has not provided enough relief. All of these active ingredients reduce sweating in a similar way, but the clinical strength products are thought to be slightly more powerful and less irritating.[1]

Antiperspirants Available Over-the-Counter

For many individuals, doctor or dermatologist intervention may not be necessary at first. Instead, simply purchasing a clinical strength, over-the-counter antiperspirant can be a good first step to address your hyperhidrosis. Many people don't understand what antiperspirant does and how it is different than deodorant, but it is an important distinction to understand when trying to find the right over-the-counter treatment for hyperhidrosis. Antiperspirant blocks sweat from forming on the surface of the skin, while deodorant has some bacteria killing properties and a scent to mask body odor. People with hyperhidrosis need antiperspirant to help them produce less sweat. It can be difficult to choose the right over-the-counter antiperspirant, so we have compiled information on five of the most popular antiperspirants specifically made to address hyperhidrosis. The purpose of these reviews is to provide an unbiased assesment of topical hyperhidrosis treatments, no organization has paid or otherwise endorsed us to comment on their product. For each product, we will present information on five categories:

  • Treatment Area: Which area of the body this product is supposed to be applied?
  • Type: Is the product in stick, roll-on, lotion, or wipe form?
  • Application Instructions: how often to apply the product, when to apply the product, what to avoid when applying the product.
  • Active Sweat-Reduction Ingredients: What form of aluminum is in the product? What is the percentage of the aluminum in the product?
  • Price: How much is the product? How long will the product last until I must purchase it again?

Carpe

Carpe is an antiperspirant designed to reduce excessive sweating in the palmar and plantar regions (hands and feet) of individuals with hyperhidrosis. Carpe has both a hand solution and a foot solution, but both solutions are identical in terms of chemical composition. Both formulations are lotions, and each lotion utilizes the active ingredient aluminum sesquichlorohydrate. The mixture of 15% aluminum sesquichlorohydrate with 85% moisturizing creams works to reduce sweat while avoiding irritating the hands and feet. Although Carpe is specifically bottled for the treatment of sweaty hands and feet, individuals have reported the lotion is effective at reducing sweat on other parts of the body. Carpe’s website recommends applying a pea-sized amount of lotion onto your hands on an as needed throughout the day (typically 2-3 times per day), and a dime-sized amount of lotion onto your feet. A single bottle of Carpe costs $14.95, and and a bottle lasts between 4 to 7 weeks. [2]

CertainDri

Certain Dri is designed as a treatment for axillary hyperhidrosis (underarms). Certain Dri offers three types of antiperspirant, but their highest strength antiperspirant is best suited for addressing cases of hyperhidrosis. This product, Certain Dri Prescription Strength, is an over-the-counter antiperspirant that is made of 12% aluminum chloride and 88% moisturizing and anti-irritating solutions. The antiperspirant is considered a roll-on solution, and Certain Dri’s website recommends that the user apply the product at night on a dry arm to see the best results. Most individuals will need to apply the product every other night, although the product may need to be applied nightly or every third night depending on your hyperhidrosis needs. A 1.2 ounce package of Certain Dri Prescription Strength sells for $8.86, and the product will most likely last 5-6 weeks when used every other night. [3]

DuraDry

Like Certain Dri, DuraDry is also designed to treat sweating in the axillary regions (underarms) of individuals with hyperhidrosis. DuraDry is considered a stick antiperspirant, meaning that the solution is a solid block of deodorant in a tube rather than a liquid or gel solution in a tube (roll-on). When purchasing DuraDry, the individual is highly recommended to purchase both DuraDry Am and DuraDry PM. While using DuraDry PM , the user applies a stronger antiperspirant consisting of 15% aluminum chloride and 85% moisturizing and anti-irritating ingredients in the evening. The next morning, the user applies the weaker antiperspirant and deodorant combination in DuraDry AM. DuraDry AM consists of 20% aluminum zirconium and 80% moisturizing and deodorizing compounds. Although a package of DuraDry is $37.00, the fact that the solution is estimated to last for 200 underarm means DuraDry will most likely last at least 4-5 months. [4]

SweatBlock

SweatBlock is an antiperspirant wipe that allows the user to reduce sweating and treat axillary hyperhidrosis. However, SweatBlock users have reported that the wipes work to reduce sweating on other regions of the body, and possibly could be used for treating sweaty feet and hands. The active ingredient in SweatBlock is a 14% aluminum chloride solution paired with 86% moisturizing compounds and inactive ingredients. To use SweatBlock, their website recommends dabbing the wipe onto your underarms at night. The website makes the important distinction that rubbing the solution into your skin may cause discomfort, and that patting the skin with SweatBlock will eliminate. Each application of SweatBlock is supposed to last 5 days, and many customers report the solution lasting up to 7 days.

The price for a package of 8 SweatBlock wipes is 19.99 Considering that SweatBlock advises that an individual should apply the first 2 or 3 of the wipes in consecutive nights to begin the sweat reduction process means that the average time a Sweatblock package will last is 4-7 weeks. [5]

ZeroSweat

ZeroSweat is a hyperhidrosis formula that offers two solutions - one to address palmar and plantar hyperhidrosis (hands and feet), and a second method to treat axillary (underarms) hyperhidrosis. The first product, the antiperspirant for hands and feet, is a lotion that is applied typically 2-3 times per day on an as needed basis. The second product, the antiperspirant for axillary hyperhidrosis, is applied on a daily basis. The underarm product is estimated to last 3 months, whereas the hand lotion will most likely last 4-8 weeks. The price for a bottle of ZeroSweat hand lotion is $9.95, and the stick antiperspirant is $14.95. [6]

Besides the products detailed above, there are many antiperspirant products on the market that can help those with hyperhidrosis. Many antiperspirants can be used on problem areas they weren't originally intended for. This can be helpful for people who have excessive sweating in areas other than the hands, feet and armpits. There are even options for people who need antiperspirant for sensitive areas like the face and groin. Antiperspirant is also a solution doctors often propose when helping kids with hyperhidrosis. For many, antiperspirant can be enough, and for those who need more intensive treatment, there are many options available.

How to Apply Antiperspirant

It is important for anyone using antiperspirant to apply it correctly in order to ensure that it works effectively. Ideally, antiperspirant should be applied at night so that it has a chance to sink into sweat glands and plug them before the activity of the morning. Antiperspirants work for about 24 hours, so applying it at night will not reduce its effectiveness. Some studies have even reported that some of the clinical strength antiperspirants can form plugs for up to seven days.[1] It is also important not to apply antiperspirant right after showering because the water will make it harder for antiperspirant to sink into skin. However, antiperspirant does need to be applied to clean skin, so cleaning your skin, removing any other products, and waiting for it to dry before applying your daily antiperspirant is your best bet.

Dealing with Antiperspirant Issues

Antiperspirant is a lifesaver for many people with hyperhidrosis, but it can cause some functional issues. For example, it can stain clothing. Luckily, there are ways to get antiperspirant out of clothes so that it doesn’t destroy your wardrobe. Stains are already an issue for those who deal with armpit sweating, so it is always a good idea to know how to remove armpit stains from clothing as well. Some people also struggle to remove antiperspirant from skin, but it can be removed by showering with warm water and using a baking soda solution on the affected areas.

Sources
  1. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.
  2. Clutch Inc. (n.d.). Antiperspirant for Sweaty Hands & Feet. Retrieved May 24, 2018, from https://www.carpelotion.com/
  3. Certain Dri Inc. (n.d.). Certain Dri® is here for you. Retrieved May 24, 2018, from https://www.certaindri.com/
  4. DuraDry Inc. (n.d.). Stop Armpit Sweat - Prevent Excessive Armpit Sweating | Duradry. Retrieved May 24, 2018, from https://www.duradry.com/
  5. SweatBlock Inc. (n.d.). Stop Excessive Sweating and stay dry with Sweatblock! Retrieved May 24, 2018, from https://www.sweatblock.com/
  6. ZeroSweat. (n.d.). Stop Excessive Sweating. Retrieved May 24, 2018, from https://www.zerosweat.com
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