Home Beauty Clinical strength deodorants contain higher concentrations of the ingredients that help reduce sweat and odor. Here, dermatologists debunk common misconceptions about their safety and share more insights.

Clinical strength deodorants contain higher concentrations of the ingredients that help reduce sweat and odor. Here, dermatologists debunk common misconceptions about their safety and share more insights.

by белый

Dermatologists weigh in.

Sweating is your body’s way of cooling down but there’s nothing cool about not being able to get perspiration and odor under control. If you’ve become frustrated because your underarm protection isn’t working, you’re in luck. Today, clinical strength deodorants are available (and we tested them to find the best ones) that contain higher concentrations of the ingredients that help reduce sweat and odor—no prescription necessary.

Ahead, three top dermatologists share their best advice when it comes to controlling sweat and odor.

Meet the expert

    Kristina Collins, MD, is a double board-certified dermatologist, co-owner of Austin Skin and founder of Foy by Dr. Collins. Ryan Turner, MD, is a board-certified New York City dermatologist and co-founder of TRNR Skin. Alexis Young, MD, is a double board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

“People have been concerned with a possible link between aluminum salts in antiperspirants and Alzheimer’s disease, but there have been no studies or research demonstrating a connection between the use of antiperspirants and any type of neurological disease,” says Dr. Collins. “The same can be said about aluminum salts and breast cancer.”

What Is a Clinical Strength Deodorant?

“Clinical strength antiperspirant deodorants contain higher levels of active ingredients, like aluminum salt, than traditional antiperspirant deodorants,” says Ryan Turner, MD, a board-certified New York City dermatologist and co-founder of TRNR Skin. “They’ve also been studied for specific efficacy, with their active ingredients having been proven to prevent sweat for a certain length of time in clinical trials.” Adds Kristina Collins, MD, a double board-certified dermatologist, co-owner of Austin Skin and founder of Foy by Dr. Collins, “The testing designations you see on their packaging, such as ‘clinically proven’ and ’72 hours of sweat protection’ require actual clinical testing for the company to claim.”

“Clinical strength products are an option for anyone who feels their regular antiperspirant or deodorant is not working,” says Dr. Alexis Young, MD, a double board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia University Medical Center, New York City. “For example, if you’re noticing sweat stains on your clothing or you’re experiencing body odor a few hours after applying a regular antiperspirant deodorant, these products could be a great solution.”

Ingredients to Look For

An antiperspirant deodorant contains aluminum salt, which plugs sweat glands and reduces perspiration, along with antimicrobial ingredients such as triclosan and ethyl lauroyl arginate to inhibit bacteria growth and odor-neutralizing ingredients like sodium and zinc carbonate.

 "An ingredient being used in clinical strength deodorants these days that may be surprising to some but familiar to many is glycolic acid,” says Dr. Turner. “Though it’s best known for its exfoliating properties, glycolic acid also has antibacterial properties.” To prevent over sensitizing the skin, Dr. Turner suggests avoiding application after shaving when skin can be extra sensitive and adhering to an every other day application.

Dermatologists like Dr. Collins suggest staying away from parabens, which are often used as preservatives in antiperspirant deodorants, because of the potential for irritation and endocrine disruption. Dr. Young recommends sidestepping the preservatives quaternium-15, methylchloroisothiazolinone or imidazolidinyl urea. “They’re known skin irritants,” she says.

Best Time to Apply

A clinical-strength antiperspirant deodorant should be applied overnight to completely dry skin for six to eight hours, giving the ingredients enough time to kick in. “Putting it on damp skin can turn the product acidic and cause irritation,” warns Dr. Young. For those who prefer a daytime application, “You’ll need to plug the gland prior to it producing sweat and before any sweat appears on the skin to take advantage of the product’s antimicrobial properties,” says Dr. Collins.  

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Potential Side Effects

Itchy, red, and dry skin are all possible complications when using a clinical strength product. “Especially one that exfoliates or changes the skin’s pH or if there’s shaving involved,” says Dr. Turner. “I recommend doing a patch test on the inner arm in the same spot for a few days. To further reduce the risk of irritation, avoid applying products to irritated, broken, or freshly-shaven skin and if irritation does occur, stop using the product."

"Another strategy would be to use a clinical strength product a few times per week and a regular strength product on the other days to minimize irritation,” suggests Dr. Young. “You can also apply a hypoallergenic moisturizer after the clinical strength product dries to minimize irritation.”

Types of Formulas

“While it’s all about personal choice, I prefer stick formulas because they deliver just the right amount of product without being messy,” says Dr. Young. Below, our experts share the pros and cons of the available delivery systems.

Sticks

    Pros: Less messy, distributes evenly, easily portable, stays put.Cons: Cream-based sticks may leave a white residue on skin or clothing.

Roll On

    Pros: Easy to apply, convenient.Cons: Difficult to control the amount of product being applied, can be less dense and watery, longer drying times, rollerball cannot be easily cleaned.

Creams

    Pros: Soothing to the skin, fast drying time, won’t transfer onto clothing.      Cons: Messy to apply.

Sprays

    Pros: Easy to apply, goes on clear, fast-drying.Cons: Sprays widely, tendency to not apply enough product, many contain skin-drying alcohol.

Wipes

    Pros: Easy to use, travel-friendly, not likely to transfer onto clothing.  Cons: Difficult to determine how much has been applied, often pricey, wasteful packaging.

Frequently Asked Questions

    Can you apply a clinical strength antiperspirant deodorant to other parts of your body?

    Yes. “The most amenable sites for topical application would be the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. A roll-on liquid or spray is easiest to use and leaves minimal film on the skin once dry,” shares Dr. Young, who suggests avoiding the sensitive buttock and groin areas which can be prone to irritation. “I would also stay clear of the forehead—if you sweat, the product can be bothersome to the eyes.”

    Should I look for a clinical strength antiperspirant deodorant that’s fragrance-free and not just unscented?

    Fragrance-free antiperspirant deodorants do not contain perfumes or added scents, while unscented antiperspirant deodorants may contain chemicals that neutralize or mask the odors of other ingredients. “Ideally it’s best to use one that doesn’t contain any added synthetic fragrance, which can lead to skin irritation,” says Dr. Collins. Although Dr. Turner adds, “If tolerated, those concerned with odor may want the added ‘insurance’ of fragrance.”

    What can I do about underarm irritation and discoloration?

    “One often begets the other,” he shares. “The act of shaving as well as the friction that occurs in this area can lead to irritation that can trigger post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.” Dr. Turner recommends looking for soothing anti-inflammatory ingredients in clinical strength products such as niacinamide, which also helps even out the skin tone so you’re treating two concerns with one ingredient. “Products that contain alpha arbutin, a skin brightener, can also help with discoloration while vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, can help improve uneven pigmentation,” he adds. 

 

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