No Sweat! Is aluminum harmful?
Some people sweat more than others. The right deodorant can help.
Photo by Becca Matimba on Unsplash
Sweating can be embarrassing, smelly and just downright messy. We’ve all been there. An awkward situation, a really hot day, or a workout at the gym, and all of a sudden our body temperature rises, our face gets red, our palms get clammy, and sweat pours out of our armpits, staining our brilliant white tees. This is the body’s natural response to activity level, stress and extreme temperatures that helps us cool down.
What if you were constantly sweating excessively without anything to trigger it? This actually is a medical condition called hyperhidrosis. These people produce more sweat then the average person and they have an over-stimulation of sweat glands. This embarrassing disorder can lead to awkward social situations and can cause people to withdraw from normal daily activities.
So what causes it? Hyperhidrosis can be caused by certain medical conditions (like metabolic disorders, obesity, and menopause) or can be a side effect of medications (like antidepressants). Unfortunately, in most cases of hyperhidrosis the cause is not known. Approximately 3% of Canadians suffer from the disorder and of that only a third seek help from a healthcare provider, as most don’t know that it is a treatable condition.
While deodorants work to mask odour from sweating, they don’t work to prevent sweat production. Antiperspirants that contain aluminum are the most effective way to treat mild to moderate hyperhidrosis. Aluminum blocks the sweat gland ducts to block the sweat. It can be applied to any affected area (face, palms, armpits and feet) once daily at bedtime. Full benefit may be seen in a week or two. Choosing a product with a lower concentration of aluminum to start with can help reduce the chance of skin irritation. Once sweating is controlled, application can be reduced to once every one to three weeks.
For those folks that are sensitive to the irritating effects of aluminum there are other options available. Natural deodorants, or “aluminum free” deodorants contain plant based ingredients and essential oils that absorb the moisture rather than block the pores which may help reduce sweating and eliminate odor. All of these options are readily available at most pharmacies. Don’t sweat the small stuff, consult your pharmacist for advice on which product works best for you!
You might also enjoy this article on overuse of antibiotics by Heather.
Author: Heather Cross is a registered pharmacist in Nova Scotia and is an occasional contributor to Optimyz and Silver Magazines.