What to Do When Your Antiperspirant Doesn't Work

July 27, 2023 5 min read

antiperspirant doesn't work

When your antiperspirant doesn't work, it can feel like a losing battle. Even after applying antiperspirant, you may start to notice sweat stains on your clothes or a lingering odor, leaving you feeling self-conscious and frustrated. The truth is, there are several reasons why your antiperspirant might not be working as effectively as it should. Keep reading to learn what makes antiperspirant work, why antiperspirant stops working, and what to do to remedy the situation.

This article was originally published in September 2022, and updated in July 2023.

Ejis Sweat Proof Products

What Causes Excessive Sweating?

Most people sweat from physical exertion, hot or humid weather, stress, or anxiety. But for others, sweating can be excessive and uncontrollable. Excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis, is a medical condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the sweat glands produce more sweat than the body needs to regulate temperature.

Hyperhidrosis can be caused by various factors such as genetics, hormonal changes, certain medications, medical conditions, and stress.

One of the most common areas for excessive sweating is the underarms. This can be due to the high concentration of sweat glands in this area. In some cases, the sweat glands may be overactive, leading to excessive sweating and body odor.

How Antiperspirants Work

Antiperspirants work by blocking sweat ducts, preventing sweat from reaching the skin's surface. Most conventional antiperspirants contain aluminum-based compounds that react with sweat to form a gel-like substance that blocks the sweat ducts. The blocked sweat ducts reduce the amount of sweat that reaches the skin's surface, effectively controlling body odor.

Antiperspirant products come in different forms such as sprays, roll-ons, and sticks.

They also come in different strengths, with some products being formulated for mild sweating and others for excessive sweating.

Why Your Antiperspirant Stops Working

Despite their effectiveness in controlling sweating, antiperspirants may not work as expected for various reasons. Here are some common reasons why your antiperspirant might not be working.

Problem: You apply antiperspirant incorrectly.

Most of us shower in the morning and swipe on antiperspirant after drying off. Yet, this conventional way of applying antiperspirant may be why it seems like your antiperspirant doesn’t work.

Also, applying antiperspirant on wet skin or not waiting for it to dry before dressing can reduce its effectiveness.

Solution: Apply antiperspirant at night instead.

In general, people sweat the least when they sleep. The body is inactive, in a climate-controlled environment, and free from stress... conditions that usually trigger sweat.

Because of this, applying antiperspirant at night to clean skin allows the formula to work while you sleep. It also has less chance of washing away from sweat. And always makes sure your skin is dry before application.

Problem: You’re Using the Wrong Formula

Using the wrong antiperspirant product can affect its effectiveness. For instance, if you have excessive sweating, using a mild antiperspirant may not be enough to control sweating. You need to choose a product formulated for excessive sweating and apply it correctly.

Find an antiperspirant formulated to treat your level of sweat production. If you sweat more than usual, then look for products with higher levels of aluminum chloride. 

Solution: Find a formula that works best for you.

First off, make sure you are using antiperspirant - not deodorant - to stop sweat. As we previously explained, antiperspirant contains aluminum salts specifically to stop or reduce sweat. Conversely, deodorant is designed to combat underarm odor.

Find an antiperspirant formulated to treat your level of sweat production. If you sweat more than usual, then look for products with higher levels of aluminum chloride. Many times these over-the-counter products are labeled “clinical strength,” which are available without a prescription. If a clinical-strength antiperspirant doesn’t work, then ask your doctor about a prescription-strength antiperspirant.

Consider your skin type. If you have sensitive skin, choose a product that is gentle on your skin. Some products contain fragrances and alcohol that can irritate the skin, making antiperspirants less effective.

Problem: You are wearing the wrong clothing.

We’re not talking about wearing turtlenecks in the summertime. We’re talking about wearing clothing that traps heat or moisture and does not ventilate. Additionally, clothing that is too tight may also contribute to excessive sweating.

Solution: Wear clothing that works for you.

Wear natural fabrics, such as cotton, linen, and wool, because they are breathable. Breathable fabrics allow air to circulate, heat to escape your body, and moisture to dry out. Look for clothing that is made from lightweight or thin natural fabrics. They are more likely to absorb moisture and draw it away from your skin. This allows your body to cool off.

In addition to wearing natural fabrics, try an Ejis sweat proof undershirt (buy in our shop or on Amazon) to stop sweat from reaching your clothes. The underarm sweat proof protection is all one piece, which helps prevent leakage. 

antiperspirant stops working

Problem: You experience high levels of stress or anxiety.

You're probably already familiar with the effects of stress and anxiety. However, when your levels of stress and anxiety increase, your body temperature increases too which can make you sweat more. (In fact, nervous or stress sweat makes the body secrete about 30 times more sweat than normal.)

Conversely, when you sweat a lot, your anxiety may increase because you feel embarrassed or self-conscious about it around other people.

Solution: Learn ways to calm your nerves.

Managing stress and anxiety can help reduce sweating and improve the effectiveness of antiperspirants. If you sweat more when you are stressed or anxious, look for ways to relax. Here are some suggestions:

  • Take a minute from work to decompress and get centered by taking a short nap. This helps to clear your mind, so it's easier to focus on the tasks at hand.
  • Practice meditation during your break and reflect on what is most meaningful in your life.
  • Physically release stress through activities like jogging, power walking, or even kickboxing. This type of exercise carries can help you maintain a healthy attitude throughout the day.
  • Distract yourself by listening to calming music during times of high stress.
  • Talk to a counselor or trusted friend about the situations in your life that are causing stress or anxiety.

Problem: You have an underlying medical condition.

In addition to hyperhidrosis, certain medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism, and diabetes, can cause excessive sweating, making antiperspirants less effective. Along the same lines, sweating may be a side effect of a medication.

Solution: Talk to your doctor.

If you suspect that a medical condition or medication is causing excessive sweating, it is essential to seek medical advice. There may be treatments or lifestyle changes that can help you manage excessive sweating. 

It can be problematic when your antiperspirant doesn't work. Thankfully there are ways to figure out why and what to do about it. By following these tips, you can stay cool and confident all day long.

Take Control of Excessive Sweat

Make sure you’re covered at all times by wearing an Ejis sweat proof undershirt (buy in our shop or on Amazon). Our sweat proof protection will keep your dress shirt dry even if your antiperspirant doesn’t.

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