How To Apply Antiperspirant

How to apply Antiperspirant
How to apply Antiperspirant
How to apply Antiperspirant

So, you have been applying the maximum strength antiperspirant you could find to your armpits religiously everyday and it did not work?

Chances are – its not the antiperspirant, its you! How to apply antiperspirant, and when you apply antiperspirant is as important. if not more, than a particular brand of antiperspirant. Let's talk about when first.

When to apply antiperspirant?

Most people (including yours truly till recently) apply antiperspirants just like deodorant – in the morning, after the shower. That makes sense – you want to remain fresh for the rest of the day after you shower and applying antiperspirant after shower is logical. Correct?

No.. not really! The best time to apply antiperspirant is before you go to sleep, in the night. The worst time? You guessed it – in the morning after the shower!

Why you ask? Antiperspirant work by blocking the sweat duct with the aluminium molecules. For them to work the way they are supposed to, antiperspirants need a period of time when they can work on the sweat pores, without getting washed out by the sweat.  Nighttime is the time when (most of us) do not sweat. The sweat ducts are less active and the antiperspirant you apply has a chance to do it magic by plugging the pores. Once the antiperspirant has plugged the sweat pores, the effects usually last for a day or so and washing your armpits over in the morning will not cause the affect to go away.

By applying your antiperspirant in the morning, you are setting yourself up for failure. Your sweat glands are active in the morning, and the antiperspirant molecules are washed off almost as soon as they try to plug in the pores.

So, go back to the antiperspirant you rejected as not effective and give it one more try – this time, apply the antiperspirant in the night before you go to bed and chances are, the antiperspirant actually works!

How to apply antiperspirant?

The second question is how to apply antiperspirant. Most of us apply antiperspirants just like a deodorant – rub/roll/spray and done. It does not work like that.

Here's what usually happens – if you have any residual material on your skin (say previous deodorant, antiperspirant, sweat or…  whatever), the will prevent the antiperspirant mechanism to work. As previously stated, antiperspirants need a dry area where the aluminium compound can get into the sweat pore and block it. If you have any foreign material on your skin , it will make the job of the antiperspirant that much more difficult.

So, clean up the area of treatment and let it dry before you apply antiperspirant. It will most likely result in much better results for you!

I know it sounds like too much of science on how to apply antiperspirant, but what will you rather have – sweaty armpits every day, or 5 minutes of well planned antiperspirant application once a week?

Carpe Antiperspirant Hand Lotion

Carpe Antiperspirant Lotion for swaty palms

Thanks to an email from Caryn (from JustaLittleSweat), I recently got to know about Carpe Antiperspirant Lotion.

Now, I have tried several antiperspirants for hands in the past and none of them stuck (pun intended). However, Caryn's email got me a bit curious about Carpe and I decided to give it a try. I ordered Carpe from my favorite store in the world (right, Amazon) for $14.95 and got a shiny 1.35 Ounce (40 ML) pack the next day.

This post is my review of how it worked out. You must note that this is my initial experience after trying out Carpe for a few days. I still do not know the long term impact.. hopefully I will write another post once I have had chance to see this in action for some time.

Anyways.. here we go.

Carpe Antiperspirant Lotion for sweaty palms
Carpe Antiperspirant Lotion for sweaty palms

Carpe Antiperspirant Hand Lotion: Ingredients

The active ingredient in Carpe Antiperspirant Lotion is Aluminum Sesquichlorohydrate (15% ). Aluminum Sesquichlorohydrate is used as active ingredient in several antiperspirants available over the counter today (most notably the Mitchum line of products), and is found to be effective for palmar hyperhidrosis without significant side effects by atleast one study . However, there are potential side effects of this compound (including respiratory toxicity, asthma etc). It is also one of the restricted components for cosmetics in Canada.

Apart from Aluminum Sesquichlorohydrate, Carpe also contains other ingredients including Eucalyptus oil that provides a pleasant scent on application. All in all, its a relatively simple formula.

Carpe Antiperspirant Hand Lotion: Initial Experience

As per the directions on the pack, I washed and dried my hands before application. Once hands are dried, I applied a small amount of the lotion on my hands ans rubbed it all around for 10-15 seconds. Initially it was a bit sticky, but once it dried up I could not feel it anymore. The effect was instantaneous and my hands were dry like never before in a matter of minutes. It did get a bit too dry, and I felt a bit of itchiness due to extreme dryness. However, I will take that over sweaty hands on most days. Over next few trials, I will try to find the right amount of lotion for my condition – one that gives me dry hands without extreme dryness.

The first time after I applied the lotion, I needed to wash my hands again as I touched my pet birds. I was a bit worried that the lotion will get washed off and I will need to apply it again – but I was wrong. This stuff holds on to its own even after thorough washing. My hands were totally free of sweat for the entire evening. That was great as I had to meet a roomful of people and it was great to feel 100% dry hands while extending my hands for handshakes.

The manufacturer's website mentions that the effects of Carpe compound over time -“as long as you use Carpe, even if you wash your hands, the activity of your palm sweat glands will be increasingly reduced, leading to better and better results as you use for multiple days and weeks in a row.”

Carpe Antiperspirant Hand Lotion: Long Term Review

I am writing this after about a month since I wrote my initial experience (above). In the meanwhile, I have tried Carpe Lotion in a variety of places/situations and have had somewhat mixed results. It does work very well in most cases – the sweating on the hands is down by 80% on most days/situations and that is a great thing.

However, once in a while it simply does not work. I haven't been able to find the factors which will make it work vs. not. Stress and humidity are surely two factors that reduce the effectiveness a lot, but don't explain all the variance in my experiments. Times when I had to have an important meeting and needed sweat-less hands, that's when it failed! Other times, it was a bit cloudy/rainy/humid and the sweat broke out almost as soon as I applied the lotion.

Carpe Antiperspirant Hand Lotion: My Verdict

Overall, Carpe looks very promising and really works great! This might be the best solution to one off days when you are going for a date or interview or a social occasion and are not on iontophoresis or oral medication. This is easy to apply and can be used at the last minute instead of planning in advance.

I think this is one of the best over the counter antiperspirant solutions available for hand sweat. Nothing else I have tested came close in terms of effectiveness or ease of usage. However, it falls short of being the only thing you could rely on to get through palmar hyperhidrosis.  You'll need to supplement this with other tools in your arsenal to really manage your hyperhidrosis.

I still need to research a bit more on how safe Aluminum Sesquichlorohydrate is in the long term. As of now I am not fully comfortable recommending this to children, or people who have sensitive skins or people with history of asthma or other respiratory diseases. I  might be over-reacting to some of the stuff I found on my initial research, but better safe than sorry!

NOTE: In the comments below, you can see discussion around the research on Aluminium Sesquichlorohydrate. The manufacturers believe its safe for the concentration they have used in the product (15%). I have not independently verified it yet, but wanted to let the readers know in any case.

Go ahead.. try Carpe if you suffer with Palmar Hyperhidrosis. Its not a long term solution like iontophoresis or oral medications, but a great addition in your kit to manage hyperhidrosis.

PS: You should subscribe to Caryn's newsletter... great posts on stuff related to Hyperhidrosis! 🙂

Secret Clinical Strength

I recently received this email from one of the readers of this blog and wanted to share it with others. Thanks so much for sharing “D”!

She found the Secret Clinical Strength Gel helpful for excessive sweat on her face, and seems like it works! Good going for her and I do hope it offers a long term solution without much side effects.


Hi Rohit,

Thanks for your very useful resource.I just wanted to share my positive experience with a product not mentioned on your antiperspirant list.

It is called Secret Clinical Strength and is available at most pharmacies in the US and UK (also available at Amazon). I have found it to be very good. It contains aluminum zirconium octachlorohedrex gly at 20%. It's reasonably priced.

The best form is the clear gel which is also hypoallergenic and unscented so great for sensitive skin. I use it on my face ( Not sure how safe that is in the long term, but I'm quite desperate). Although it is said to be for women, the fact that it's unscented makes it suitable for men too.

Thanks again for your excellent website!



Has anyone else have good/back experience with Secret Clinical Strength Antiperspirant? Please share if you can.

Sweaty Hands – Treatment Options

So you have sweaty hands?

And by sweaty I don't mean sweat in hot, humid conditions or after a round at gym – I am talking about inexplicable sweat dripping through your palms in the dead cold at christmas, or when you are in a air-conditioned room that is cold enough to need a jacket. If so, welcome to the club – its not much of consolation, but you are hardly alone. In medical speak, this is known as Palmar Hyperhidrosis and the silver lining is that sweaty hands/palms are mostly manageable without falling for miracle cures you will see splashed through internet. Read on..

Sweaty Hands and Me

A quick background about me. You can read more here if interested, but in a nutshell, I am some sort of an authority on sweaty hands! 🙂

After suffering with sweaty palms for years, I finally took it upon myself to get rid of the condition – and in the process, left (almost) no stone turned. based on what I know now, I believe that the vast majority of palmar hyperhidrosis (sweaty hands) patients can get significant comfort from sweaty palms by following a simple step by step process as outlined below.

Ofcourse, I should stress that I am not a medical professional – so please take opinion from a qualified medical professional before you act on the advise below. However, I do believe that if you are suffering from palmar hyperhidrosis, following the below mentioned steps is quite likely to help you reduce the sweating.

Treating Sweaty Hands – Step 1: Normal Antiperspirant

Start with antiperspirants. Not only they are cheap, they are also the least invasive and without serious side effects – so it makes sense to try them before you try anything else. If you need any further convincing, read these articles on hyperhidrosis treatment options.

If you are already using an antiperspirants for day-to-day underarm sweating, you can start with that. Yes – that's right, In some cases, normal antiperspirant may work. Even if they don't for you, they may provide you with some indication on whether clinical/prescription antiperspirants will work for you.

Treating Sweaty Hands – Step 2: Clinical Strength OTC Antiperspirant

If the normal antiperspirant did not cause you any significant discomfort (itching or any other reaction), and it did not provide you with enough relief, its time to move on to the step 2 – using a higher strength clinical antiperspirants available over the counter (i.e you don't need to go to a doctor to get the prescription for these).

Again, follow the procedure to apply antiperspirant for sweaty hands for a week continuously. You should ideally start to notice the difference after 3 nights. By the week's end, you should see significant reduction in sweating on palms throughout the day. If that happens, congratulations – you have just found the least invasive and cost effective solution for your sweaty palms. If it did not provide adequate comfort, move on to step 3

Where to get the Clinical Strength Antiperspirant?

Most of the pharmacies will have a few brands and you can ususally find them in the same aisle where the ususal deodorants are stocked. If you order them on Amazon, you may have more options at your disposal. It doesnt really matter for the first time though. If you find that these work for you, you can always switch brands later

Treating Sweaty Hands – Step 3: Prescription Antiperspirants

If the OTC clinical strength antiperspirants did not work for you, its time to get a bit aggressive. See a doctor (dermatologist should do), and get prescription for a high strength antiperspirants. The prescription antiperspirants have much higher concentration of the active component (aluminium chloride or similar) than that found in the OTC antiperspirants – thus they may work for more severe cases of hyperhidrosis.

Tip: In some cases, your insurance may not like to bear the cost of antiperspirants if they consider it to be ‘cosmetic” (yes, that happens!). Since antiperspirants have to be used regularly, you are better off convincing your insurance firm to bear the cost. This may require some discussion and your insurance company may want additional details from your doctor, or may want you to use a particular brand.

Treating Sweaty Hands – Step 4: Iontophoresis

Iontophoresis sounds intimidating with the technical sound – however, it is not at all complicated. This process has high success rate (especially for palmar hyperhidrosis – i.e. sweaty hands), is non-invasive and has no serious side effects. You may want to ask your doctor to give you an iontophoresis treatment. However, its actually very easy to do it yourself at home if visiting the doctor is not an option, or if doctors in your area do not have the equipment to do it.

You will need to get access to an iontophoresis machine first. If you know anyone who has a machine – ask them to lend it to you for trials. If not, its actually very easy to make one on your own for under $40. If you are not inclined to borrow or build the iontophoresis device, there is always an option to buy an iontophoresis device. Iontophoresis devices are a bit expensive, but if they work, the lifetime cost is actually not that high.

You should start seeing significant reduction in sweat on your palms after about a week or so of iontophoresis treatment. Once you get to a comfortable level, you can then gradually reduce the frequency of iontophoresis treatment (one a week or even once a month).

Treating Sweaty Hands – Step 6: Oral Medication

If antiperspirants and iontophoresis did not work for you, you can try oral medication. While I don't like using oral medication unless absolutely necessary – if your sweaty hands are impacting your lifestyle severely, it may be worth trying oral medication.

There are several prescription medications available that will significantly control sweating. They usually work across the body and not a particular area and may cause not so pleasant side effects. So, try them for a while and take your call whether the relief they bring to you is worth the cost and side effects.

Treating Sweaty Hands – Step 7: Botox

I don't usually like Botox for the same reason as I don't like oral medications – that they inject something unnatural in your body. To top it off, Botox treatment for hyperhidrosis is quite expensive and a bit painful. However, many patients report having high success rate with Botox when other options did not work.

Tip: Insurance will usually cover a large part of the Botox treatment cost. However, you need to go about it smartly and discuss this with your insurance company prior to getting the treatment. Your insurance may require you to prove that you have tried other cheaper options (oral medication, iontophoresis etc) before they will reimburse you for botox treatment.


After Step 6, if you are still not yet happy with the improvement in your sweaty hands and palms, you may want to consider the last resort – Hyperhidrosis surgery. I cannot recommend that to anyone, though I know a few cases where the ETS surgery worked well.

Drop in a comment if you followed this approach and how it worked for you.

Over the Counter Antiperspirants: A Brief Guide

Clinical Strength Antiperspirants (e.g. Certain-Dri)

Antiperspirants are usually the first line of defense for Excessive Sweating, and works reasonably well for a good proportion of hyperhidrosis patients. This post is a brief guide to buying over the counter antiperspirants for hyperhidrosis.

Over the Counter Antiperspirant for Hyperhidrosis
Over the Counter Antiperspirant for Hyperhidrosis

Over the Counter Antiperspirants Vs. Regular Antiperspirants

While you may begin with using a regular antiperspirant in the affected area, these do not usually provide satisfactory relief from excessive sweat. There are several stronger (clinical strength) and specialized antiperspirants for hyperhidrosis that  may be more effective. There are a large number of clinical strength antiperspirant options (brands, strengths, formula, form etc) available in the market. Many of really high strength antiperspirants for hyperhidrosis may require a prescription in certain markets, while others with a lower strength (but much higher than the regular ones) are available over the counter.

In USA, the FDA allows over-the-counter sale of antiperspirants containing 15%-25% aluminum (with the figure varying based on the specific compound being used).

Antiperspirant Effectiveness for Different Types of Hyperhidrosis

One thing to note is that Antiperspirants for hyperhidrosis are usually more effective for the underarm region (as compared to hands, feet or face). This is primarily because the skin on palms and feet is much thinker than armpits, thus making absorption of antiperspirant more tricky.

Update: A new set of products based on Aluminum Sesquichlorohydrate have been found to be effective for palmar hyperhidrosis. See review of Carpe antiperspirant.

There is definitely no harm in trying antiperspirants for palmar or plantar hyperhidrosis – it may work for you!

Popular over the counter antiperspirants for hyperhidrosis

In general, most over the counter antiperspirants contain some form of aluminum based compound as being the main active ingredient (though there are some exceptions) – mostly aluminum chloride or aluminum chlorohydrate. However, these compounds may result in skin irritation, so other compounds have been gaining popularity in recent years (e.g. aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex glycine). However, Aluminium Chloride remains the most popular compound in most OTC antiperspirants.

Table: Popular Over the counter Antiperspirants for Hyperhidrosis

Brand Forms Pricing Compount Strength Amazon Link
Certain Dri Roll on, Solid, Pads Low aluminum chloride. not very strong (~15%)   
Odaban Spray, Lotion Medium aluminum chloride. Stong (~20%)   
Drysol Dab on, Solution Medium aluminum chloride. Stong (~20%)
Maxim Wipes, Roll-on Low aluminum chloride. Deodorant
Driclor Roll-on, Solution Low aluminum chloride. Stong (~20%)
SweatBlock Wipes High aluminum chloride. not very strong (~14%)
Dove Solid Very High aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly (20%) Strong (~20%)
Secret Clinical Strength Clear Gel Medium Aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex Gly Strong (~20%)
Carpe Antiperspirant Lotion Lotion High Aluminum Sesquichlorohydrate Medium (15%)

Disclosure: I may earn some commission from Amazon if you choose to click the above links to buy the products mentioned. However, please know that the commission played no role in determining the products mentioned above.

Also check out this post about various hyperhidrosis treatments comparison

Antiperspirants For Hyperhidrosis

How Antiperspirant Works

Antiperspirants For Hyperhidrosis

Antiperspirants are the least invasive, inexpensive and easy to use of all the hyperhidrosis treatments. These are generally considered to be the first line of treatment, especially for hyperhidrosis impacting  underarms, hands, feet, and sometimes face. Experts normally recommend that they be tried first before moving to more invasive options such as Iontophoresis or Surgery.

Note that antiperspirant is not same as deodorant. Sometimes people use deodorant wishing to reduce sweat, but deodorant does just what its name implies – i.e., it ‘deodorizes' and sets boundaries for the odor-causing bacteria and therefore minimizing odors.Deodorant cannot prevent sweat from breaking out.

How Antiperspirants for Hyperhidrosis Work

The main “active” ingredient in all antiperspirants is aluminum based. This aluminum-based compound may consists of several different forms of aluminum such as Aluminum chlorohydrate, Aluminum chloride, Aluminum hydroxybromide or Aluminum zicronium tricholorohydrex glycine, in addition to many others.

When an antiperspirant is applied to the skin it prevents or blocks sweat from reaching the surface of the skin, thus reducing undesired sweat. Once an antiperspirant is applied to the skin, perspiration in the underarm grabs and dissolves the antiperspirant particles, pulling them into the pores and forming superficial plugs that are just below the surface of the skin. When the body senses that the sweat duct is plugged, a feedback mechanism stops the flow. The plugs can stay in place at least 24 hours and then are washed away over time.

Antiperspirants for Hyperhidrosis
Antiperspirants for Hyperhidrosis

Side Effects of Antiperspirants for Hyperhidrosis

Antiperspirants are generally safe (unless you have any specific reaction to them);. However, aluminium chloride (a common ingredient) may cause mild to moderate skin irritation.

How To Get Antiperspirants for Hyperhidrosis

Antiperspirants are available either over-the-counter (OTC) or by prescription from your dermatologist.

  • Over-the-counter antiperspirants are available in different strengths with “clinical” strength products offering the most sweat protection. Brands offering clinical strength include Secret, Gillette, Degree, Dove, Arrid, and Sure, as well as PerspireX, Certain-Dri and Hydrosal. See: Summary of popular OTC clinical strength antiperspirants
  • Prescription antiperspirants (e.g. Drysol) often contain aluminum chloride hexahydrate as an active ingredient. These are among the most effective antiperspirants but can cause skin irritation.

So, Should You Try Antiperspirants for Hyperhidrosis?

If you haven't' yet, yes!

Antiperspirants work for a lot of people, and are the least invasive – so they deserve a try.  Experts recommend a systematic approach to combating hyperhidrosis with antiperspirants. Start with the most gentle-to-the-skin formulations (traditional over-the-counter products) and progress to clinical strength over-the-counter antiperspirants, and then try stronger and stronger products (such as prescription formulations) until relief is found.