Frequently Asked Questions
Sweat is natural and happens to all of us. It’s a mix of salt, water, proteins and oils that’s produced by over 3 million sweat glands all over your body. Sweating (also known as perspiration) is your body’s natural way of controlling and reducing your temperature. You actually sweat about a litre every day, but most of it evaporates, so you don’t notice. This sweat can increase to up to 10 litres a day if it’s really hot or you’re exercising hard. Excessive, constant sweating is clinically known as Hyperhidrosis. If you constantly have excessively sweaty palms, sweaty feet, sweaty armpits, you’ll find that a clinical strength antiperspirant gives you a more effective level of protection, so that you can move more without the worry of excessive sweating.
You sweat to cool down. Perspiration lowers your body temperature as it evaporates – it’s your body’s natural way of maintaining your optimum temperature. However, other factors such as illness, hormones, the environment, exercise, adrenaline and stress can also cause you to sweat – sometimes profusely – or can trigger severe night sweats.
When we get sweaty, it’s from either two types of sweat glands on the skin: Apocrine – found mainly in the underarm area – and Eccrine glands, which are found all over the skin surface. Sweating is controlled by the body’s autonomic nervous system – the part of our nervous system which is under involuntary or ‘unconscious’ control. Apocrine glands become active from puberty and are found mainly in the underarms. They produce sweat when we feel stress, pain or exercise. The sweat from apocrine glands that’s responsible for producing smelly sweat. Eccrine glands are the most abundant type of sweat gland, found all over the skin and start to function soon after birth, releasing a dilute salt solution made up of 99% water. It’s the Eccrine gland that’s responsible for the wet sensation of sweat. Sweat produced from the Eccrine glands are key in keeping the body cool by thermoregulation.
Surprisingly, sweat doesn’t actually smell. In fact, it’s completely odorless. We call the smell associated with sweat “body odor” (or BO) and it’s caused by the bacteria that lives on your skin. Your body is home to millions of harmless bacteria that thrive in moist, humid and nutrient-rich environments like your underarms, producing by-products that have a very distinctive smell. Smelly ‘sweat’ isn’t harmful to your health, but it can be a bit embarrassing. To help prevent sweaty body odor, ensure your underarms are clean and dry and use an antiperspirant regularly to keep you feeling (and smelling) fresh.
Excessive sweating is also referred to as “heavy sweating”. If you constantly have sweaty hands and feet, sweaty palms, severe night sweats, and struggle with heavy sweating every day, you may have hyperhidrosis. Only a small percentage of people who experience excessive sweating also have this medical condition. Excessive sweating occurs when you sweat, even without the triggers of heat, stress or exercise. Everybody sweats. But not everybody sweats in the same way. This is usually down to overactive sweat glands and hormones. To live without the stress of stickiness and sweat patches, choose a clinical protection antiperspirant.
Sweating is healthy and normal. But it can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, too. While you can’t stop sweating completely, you can live by these useful tips to take back control of sweating and body odor:
- Choose an effective antiperspirant that helps protect against sweat and body odor for up to 48 hours. Be sure to apply to your underarms every day.
- Apply your deodorant or antiperspirant to skin that’s completely dry.
- Apply your deodorant or antiperspirant to clean, dry skin at night to help protect against the effect of night sweats.
- Steer clear of skin-tight clothing so that your skin and pores can breathe. Ventilation between lightweight loose layers will help you stay cool and fresh, both day and night.
- Shower straight after exercise and make sure you dry yourself thoroughly after showering, as bacteria thrive in damp conditions.
- Know what triggers your sweat. Alcohol, spicy food, stress and can trigger heavy sweating so try to avoid or minimize these.
Antiperspirants help to control sweat and body odor by using aluminum salts, the active ingredient found in antiperspirants, which dissolve into the moisture on your skin. This then forms a gel, which temporarily (and safely) sits on top of the sweat gland, limiting the amount of sweat that’s released. This ‘stopper’ provides enhanced odor control and reduces unpleasant underarm wetness. A good antiperspirant like Degree will leave you feeling fresh, dry and confident to keep moving.
Antiperspirants and deodorants are actually two different products with different purposes. Knowing the difference is key to finding the protection you need. Antiperspirants help prevent sweat reaching the skin’s surface and protects from body odor so that you feel fresh and dry, whereas deodorants and body sprays control body odor without actually reducing the amount you sweat. Antiperspirants control sweat and body odor firstly by preventing sweat reaching the skin surface and secondly by reducing the bacteria that causes body. Deodorants, on the other hand, only contain antimicrobial agents to prevent body odor.
Yes, antiperspirants and deodorants are proven to be completely safe to use. A go-to hero for millions of people every single day, antiperspirant and deodorant formulas are extensively evaluated on a regular basis. Degree is always looking to provide you with the absolute best protection from sweat. There is no scientific research to suggest that any of the ingredients used in antiperspirants and deodorants are harmful for your health. Many people choose to use natural deodorant, unscented deodorant or aluminum-free deodorant. Like every personal care product, it’s all about choosing what’s best for you and your lifestyle.
Aluminum salts are the active ingredient in antiperspirants. That’s what makes the formula so effective at keeping you dry. Aluminum salts help prevent moisture produced by sweat glands from reaching the skin’s surface. Dry sprays and roll-ons tend to contain Aluminum Chlorohydrate, whereas sticks and gels are more likely to use an Aluminum salt called Aluminum Zirconium. These salts safely and effectively help control sweaty armpits, night sweats, and even nervous sweating. So that you can face the day with confidence. If you experience excessive sweating, look out for antiperspirants containing Aluminum Chloride; a strong aluminum salt used to treat people with mild to moderate hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating. Aluminum Chloride is extremely effective in keeping you dry but can be irritating to the skin, which can be managed with a soothing emollient cream.
Your antiperspirant also includes these key ingredients:
- Antimicrobials – Included to kill bacteria and also slow their growth so that you stay odor-free for longer
- Fragrance - Perfumes and fragrances are used in most deodorants and antiperspirants to mask body odor and give you a fresh feeling
- Skin conditioners - The moisturisers used in antiperspirants are usually Glycerin or vegetable derived oils and they help to protect your skin from drying out
- Carrier substances - For antiperspirants to be effectively applied to the skin, they need to be held in some kind of carrying structure. Water is often used as it adds fluidity to the other ingredients.
- Propellants – Used in dry sprays to transfer the product onto your skin, these propellants are usually HFC-152A, Butane, Isobutane and Propane.
- Alcohol – Infused into most roll-ons, dry sprays and gels to help the formula dry quickly.
It’s totally safe to apply deodorant after shaving, unless your skin is broken. Steer clear of applying any product to broken skin that might cause irritation.
Some people find that applying deodorant after shaving can sting a little – it’s usually down to the fragrance or alcohol in the formula. Go for an unscented deodorant or one that’s alcohol-free if that’s you. Or, perhaps you’re concerned about exposure to aluminum salts? Don’t worry, you absorb safe amounts of aluminum from food and drink every day, so applying antiperspirant or deodorant after shaving is highly unlikely to increase your overall aluminum intake.
There are no known health risks associated with using antiperspirant and deodorant. However, some people do experience sensitivity. All of us experience skin sensitivity from time to time, and some people find that antiperspirants and deodorants can irritate their underarm skin. This is generally caused by a minor reaction to fragrance, alcohol or aluminum salts. You don’t have to put up with sensitivity. Get savvy about which products to use. Give unscented deodorant, natural deodorant or aluminum-free deodorant a go.
In a nutshell, using antiperspirant does not prevent your body from sweating out harmful toxins. Experts state that around 95% of toxins are removed from the body by the liver and kidneys, not by sweat. Your body sweats to control temperature and not to remove toxins. Antiperspirants do not affect how your body sweats overall. Sweat is produced by 2-5 million sweat glands around the body, and antiperspirants and deodorants only affect a few in your armpits.
First things first. Antiperspirants are activated by aluminum salts to help reduce the flow of sweat, while deodorants mask the smell of sweat using fragrance. Whichever your choice, both are completely safe to use. Sweat mildly or hardly at all? You probably don’t need to use aluminum-infused protection, so go for aluminum-free deodorant. Sweat heavily every day? Go for a strong antiperspirant. It’s all about choosing the right deodorant or antiperspirant for you.
Whether you choose natural deodorant, antiperspirant or aluminum-free deodorant, it’s a matter of personal preference. Aluminum-free deodorants help to reduce the bacteria that cause body odor, but antiperspirants have the added benefit of controlling the flow of sweat to avoid the feeling of underarm wetness.
There is no convincing or conclusive scientific evidence to suggest using antiperspirant increases the likelihood of developing breast cancer. This view is supported by numerous cancer experts, charities and health authorities. Degree takes your health and the safety of your products very seriously. For more information, visit Can antiperspirants cause breast cancer?Opens in a new window
At Unilever, we do not test our products on animals and have complied with the EU animal testing bans for cosmetics since 2004 and support calls for similar bans to be introduced globally.
Occasionally, across our portfolio, some of the ingredients we use have to be tested by our suppliers to comply with legal and regulatory requirements in some markets; and some governments test certain products on animals as part of their regulations.
As part of our commitment to ending animal testing, we have a growing number of brands that ensure that neither their products – nor the ingredients they use – are subject to animal testing by suppliers or by regulatory authorities. These brands’ commitment to no animal testing is certified by animal welfare groups.
We use a wide range of non-animal approaches to assess the safety of our products for consumers and continue to develop new ‘next generation’ approaches. Our team of internationally recognised leaders in non-animal safety science work with regulatory authorities, NGOs, our suppliers and other scientists across the world to share these approaches, to promote their broader use and acceptance by authorities. Our leading-edge research has one clear purpose: to continue to develop new non-animal approaches that can guarantee that our products are safe, without any need for animal testing.