Why an Aluminum Chloride Antiperspirant Is Right for You

Most people are baffled by the huge array of products in the deodorant and antiperspirant categories; as a matter of fact, a lot of people assume that these products are functionally similar. While there are some preparations that may perform the functions of both products, antiperspirants and deodorants yield different results. The latter is used to mask underarm smell, while antiperspirants actually inhibit sweat production.

Who Should Use an Aluminum Chloride Antiperspirant?

Prescription antiperspirants contain a higher concentration of aluminum chloride in its hydrous form, and are suitable for people who suffer from hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and when normal deodorants fail to offer respite from persistent body odor. Sweat is produced by two types of glands, eccrine and apocrine; of these, the eccrine glands can be found all over the body. They are largely responsible for producing the majority of the sweat in the underarm area and on the rest of the body. The hygroscopic aluminum chloride inhibits these cells, controlling sweat production.

How Does Aluminum Chloride Work?

Increases in the ambient temperature or in internal blood pressure will cause stimulation of the sweat glands, resulting in sweat being secreted to cool the body. When an aluminum chloride antiperspirant is applied, the active ingredient enters the cells of the epidermis and the eccrine gland ducts, drawing water into the cells. This in turn causes the cells to swell and increase in size, which squeezes the sweat glands, preventing the flow of the fluid from the cells. This is why aluminum chloride antiperspirants work better than regular formulas, which donít have this active ingredient.

How Much Aluminum Chloride is Used?

The average over the counter antiperspirant does not have more than 10% or 25% of aluminum chloride hexahydrate. The FDA requires that OTC anti-sweat preparations should not have more than 15% to 25% concentration of the active ingredients, including aluminum chloride, in order to not cause harmful side effects. Apart from this, the FDA also states that for a product to qualify as an antiperspirant it, should decrease sweat production by at least 20%. Prescription antiperspirants may have as much as 30 to 45% of active components, such as aluminum chloride.

How to Use Aluminum Chloride Hexahydrate Products

When using topical preparations that contain aluminum chloride, ensure that the area of application is dry; try wiping the area clean or using a hair dryer set on low. It is also extremely important to follow the application instructions provided by the manufacturer, as this product is considered a medication. The medication should not be applied near the eyes or in such a way that it may enter the eyes. Also, it is not recommended to use the products on broken or irritated skin, or immediately after shaving.

Precautions to be Taken When Using Aluminum Chloride Preparations

In case of a stinging or burning sensation after applying an aluminum chloride antiperspirant, wash the affected area with tap water. The application of medications that contain aluminum chloride should be reduced gradually as the desired effect is experienced. The preparation should be allowed to dry after application, or it may stain clothes. When used on hands and feet, it is advisable to cover the body parts with mitten or socks after application. Some of these products are also meant for use on the scalp; when using them, remember to wear a plastic shower cap.

When using medications that have high concentrations of aluminum chloride, it is recommended that you do not use any other antiperspirants or deodorants. Additionally, you should regularly moisturize the skin when not using the medication to prevent dryness,