A quick spray of anti-perspirant can leave you feeling fresh and confident for whatever the day has in store. On this page we take a closer look at how anti-perspirant works—including the role aluminium plays in helping you stay sweat-free—and the best way to apply the product.
Don’t forget, ‘deodorant’ and ‘anti-perspirant’ are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually very different products.
|Helps prevent body odour||Helps prevent sweat|
You can read more about the differences between the two here.
On this page you can find out more about:
- How to choose the best anti-perspirant for:
- How to apply anti-perspirant for best results
- How the aluminium in anti-perspirant works
- How natural or free from anti-perspirants work
- How to remove anti-perspirant stains from clothes
- Frequently asked questions
How to choose and apply the best anti-perspirant for you:
How to choose the best anti-perspirant for sensitive skin
If you’re prone to sensitive or easily irritated skin, it’s worth taking a little time to choose an anti-perspirant that’s less likely to aggravate the condition.
Below are five things to look out for when choosing the best anti-perspirant for sensitive skin:
- Alcohol-free-alcohol helps to give that lovely cool feeling on your skin when you apply anti-perspirant and it allows the product to dry faster. Unfortunately, for some of us, it can also dry out the skin and cause irritation under your arms. This is why many anti-perspirants no longer contain alcohol.
- Aluminium-free-aluminium chloride is superb at helping to prevent sweating, but some people can be more sensitive to this ingredient. If you know you’re likely to have a reaction to using anti-perspirant with aluminium in it, look for one which uses natural astringents instead, such as Soft & Gentle’s 0% Aluminium anti-perspirant.
- Fragrance-free-fragrances help mask unpleasant smells and are commonly found in deodorants, but many anti-perspirants also contain fragrances to help keep you smelling great. Some people might be more prone to be irritated by fragrances, so if you’re sensitive to strong fragrances or specific fragrance allergens, look for a product specifically formulated to offer fragrances suitable for sensitive skin. If you prefer to have an anti-perspirant that smells amazing, as well as being kind to your skin, try Soft & Gentle’s Skin Protect range, which has been approved by the Skin Health Alliance. This dermatologically-tested range features wonderful scents such as Orange and White Ginger and Sheer Rose and Lavender.
- Skin sensitivity accreditation-check the anti-perspirant packaging to see if the product has been dermatologically tested and is suitable for sensitive skin. This means the product has been tested on sensitive skin, under dermatological supervision, to see if it causes any irritation. All of Soft & Gentle’s products have been tested to ensure they’re suitable for sensitive skin.
How to choose and apply the best anti-perspirant for excessive sweating
If you find you sweat a lot, there are a few things you can try to ensure your anti-perspirant keeps you feeling as fresh and dry as possible.
If you’re worried about the amount you sweat and feel that you sweat excessively, then it’s always best to speak to your GP. They will be able to diagnose any underlying health issue such as hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and advise you on the best treatment.
Clinical-strength anti-perspirants are available, but unless you experience excessive sweating, the following should help to keep your sweat in check:
- Format-roll-on anti-perspirant is easier to apply more accurately than spray anti-perspirant so you can be confident you’re covering your entire underarm area.
- Active ingredients-aluminium salts (such as aluminium chlorohydrate) are the active ingredients that give anti-perspirants their sweat-stopping powers.
- Application-check the anti-perspirant packaging to see if the product has been dermatologically tested and is suitable for sensitive skin. This means the product has been tested on sensitive skin, under dermatological supervision, to see if it causes any irritation. All of Soft & Gentle’s products have been tested to ensure they’re suitable for sensitive skin.
How to choose and apply the best anti-perspirant for unpleasant body odour
Body odour can zap your confidence, especially in high-pressure situations or if you’re about to board a busy tube. Making a few savvy choices around how you buy and apply anti-perspirant means you can banish your body odour and enjoy great-smelling freshness.
- Active ingredients-anti-perspirants usually contain aluminium salts which help prevent you from sweating. This is super important when it comes to smelling fresh as body odour is caused by bacteria feeding on your underarm sweat (we know, it’s gross!). By reducing the sweat, you reduce the amount of bacteria, and therefore the amount of odour.
- Deodorant-did you know that some anti-perspirants also contain deodorant? Deodorant contains antimicrobial actives which help to kill the bacteria that makes sweat smell, as well as containing scents that cover up any unpleasant odours. Choosing an anti-perspirant deodorant means you have a double-defence against poor-smelling pits!
- Scent-a heavenly scent will help cover-up any unpleasant odours.
- Application-applying anti-perspirant at night will allow time for the active ingredients to plug your sweat glands. For an added top-up of lovely-smelling freshness, why not apply your favourite deodorant in the morning?
How to apply anti-perspirant for best results
There’s more to applying anti-perspirant than a quick post-shower spray or swipe. When and how you apply your anti-perspirant can make a big difference to its effectiveness.
Ready to find out how you can get the best results out of your anti-perspirant? Let’s go!
1. Make sure your under arm area is fully dry
Applying anti-perspirant to damp armpits means you won’t be getting the best out of your product. This is because aluminium—the active ingredient in anti-perspirant— needs sweat to activate its properties to keep you dry for longer.
2. Apply anti-perspirant at night
Most people probably think of anti-perspirant as an essential part of their morning routine, but the best time to apply it is actually at night. Applying the product before bed works so well because your sweat glands are least active at this time and it gives the product’s active ingredients plenty of time to get to work.
3. Let the anti-perspirant dry completely
This isn’t so much of a problem if you use spray anti-perspirant as this takes seconds to dry. If you use a roll-on, however, try to wait until the product is completely dry before putting on your clothes. This will help prevent the anti-perspirant from transferring to the fabric.
4. Don’t put on too much anti-perspirant
You shouldn’t need to apply anti-perspirant throughout the day, as once the active ingredient has got to work on your underarm pores, you’ll be protected. You only need to apply anti-perspirant once a day (or less for long-lasting products) to keep your sweat at bay.
5. Choose an anti-perspirant with long-lasting protection
Most anti-perspirants are designed to work for either 24 or 48 hours and if you follow the advice above you’ll find your anti-perspirant will last for the maximum time advertised. However, if you find you’re sweating more than normal then the effects of anti-perspirant wear off more quickly so you may need more regular top-ups. Or it might be that your current anti-perspirant no longer suits your skin so you could try a new brand.
Not sure whether to choose roll-on or spray anti-perspirant? You can find a full comparison of roll-on vs spray deodorant here, although this page is about deodorant, much of the information is relevant to anti-perspirant.
Where on your body you can use anti-perspirant
Whether it’s sweaty palms in a stressful meeting or a drenched back during a workout, sweat doesn’t just strike in your underarm area. You can apply anti-perspirant to many different areas of your body to help reduce the amount you sweat. However, it’s recommended to use a softer, more targeted format such as a roll-on or cream.
Want to reduce sweat on other areas of your body? You can find out how with our guide Where on your body you can use anti-perspirant.
How the aluminium in anti-perspirant works
The aluminium in anti-perspirants is the active ingredient that works hard to stop you sweating. But what actually is it and how does it work?
We take a closer look at the science involved in keeping you feeling fresh and dry on this page— How the aluminium in anti-perspirant works.
The difference between ‘natural’ and ‘free from’
The ‘free from’ label on beauty products can mean different things. The label could mean that the product is free from:
- MIT (methylisothiazolinone) a preservative used in some beauty products
- Animal derived ingredients
All of Soft & Gentle’s products are free from alcohol, parabens, MIT and animal derived ingredients. If you’re sensitive to aluminium, then try Soft & Gentle’s 0% Aluminium range as this contains no aluminium.
When the term ‘natural’ is applied to beauty products it generally means that the product contains some ingredients that are:
- Natural—the ingredient is derived from a natural resource
- Organic—the ingredient comes from a natural resource grown using organic farming methods
Soft & Gentle’s Skin Protect range includes natural and organic oils such as Cocos Nucifera Oil (coconut oil) and jojoba seed oil (simmondsia chinensis seed oil). The 0% Aluminium range includes natural ingredients such as horsetail and sage to help keep you feeling fresh.
What are ‘natural’ anti-perspirants?
There are very few truly ‘natural’ anti-perspirants. Most ‘natural’ products that you will encounter will be deodorants which will protect you against odour, but not sweat.
Ingredients commonly found in ‘natural’ anti-perspirants include:
- baking soda
- witch hazel
- corn starch
Natural anti-perspirants don’t contain aluminium salts such as aluminium chlorohydrate or aluminium chloride. These are the active ingredients in anti-perspirant that help to block sweat glands.
Some anti-perspirants contain natural ingredients that help reduce the amount you sweat. Soft & Gentle’s 0% Aluminium Range uses horsetail as an astringent to help close the pores and limit sweating. This product also contains sage, which will give your skincare a boost by softening your underarm area.
Are natural anti-perspirants better for sensitive skin?
Not necessarily. Some natural ingredients used in anti-perspirants, such as baking soda, can also irritate the skin.
If you plan to make your own homemade natural anti-perspirant, there’s no way of knowing how the ingredients you mix together will react with each other or your skin, so it’s always recommended to carry out a patch test first. The ingredients in anti-perspirant and deodorant products go through rigorous testing to ensure they’re safe and effective—even on sensitive skin.
How to remove anti-perspirant stains from clothes
There’s nothing that ruins a look quite like white marks or yellow anti-perspirant stains on your clothes.
To help you get ready to strut your stuff without those annoying marks, we’ve dedicated a whole page to sharing our tips on banishing stains for good!
Frequently asked questions on anti-perspirant
If you have a burning question about anti-perspirant, our FAQs will put your mind at rest.