Antiperspirants are used as a means of combating body odour and sweat (which also includes excessive sweating) which is caused by the growth of bacteria. Another type of substance used in the same way is deodorants which are available in different forms. Antiperspirants are applied underneath the arms whereas deodorants can be used on other parts of the body such as the feet. The one you use will depend upon the type of excessive sweating you have.

These are available as aerosol sprays, creams, gels and roll-ons.

Over the counter antiperspirants

These include the most common brands such as ‘Sure’, Right Guard’,‘Lynx’,‘Nivea’ and ‘Impulse’.

We all use antiperspirants or deodorants as part of our daily hygiene routine and these are effective at preventing sweat as well as masking the odour.

What is the difference between antiperspirants and deodorants?

Antiperspirants help to prevent sweat whereas deodorants disguise the smell of sweat only. They work by blocking the sweat glands which stops sweat from being released onto the skin.

We recommend that you try antiperspirants to start with as these are often more effective.

Prescription antiperspirants

These are strong forms of antiperspirant which are usually prescribed by your GP although they may be available from your local pharmacy. These antiperspirants contain a high amount of aluminium chloride which plugs the sweat glands thereby preventing sweat from reaching the skin. They also reduce the size of these glands.

These strong antiperspirants are insoluble which means that they are not absorbed by the body.

Prescription antiperspirants are used before you go to bed. Ensure that the affected part of your body is dry before you apply this to prevent any skin irritation.

If you are applying this to your face then avoid getting it in your eyes. Men must avoid shaving their face 24 hours before and following using aluminium chloride.

Make sure that you rinse this antiperspirant off first thing in the morning.

Examples of prescription antiperspirants

The most well known antiperspirants used to treat excessive sweating include:

  • Odaban
  • Anhydrol Forte
  • Driclor
  • PerspireX
  • Zeasorb Absorbent Powder
  • Magicool


This antiperspirant has been designed to help sufferers of excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). It contains around 20% aluminium chloride which helps to prevent hyperhidrosis. This is available as a spray although a foot powder and hand lotion has recently appeared on the market. It is used for general hyperhidrosis and has also proven to be successful at treating focal hyperhidrosis, in particular axillary sweating (armpit sweating).

A couple of sprays are needed at most and any excess spray must be wiped off with a soft tissue. Only spray this on the affected areas of the body unless you have general hyperhidrosis in which case you can spray your entire body. Apply carefully to dry skin. If you are using this on your face (facial sweating) then use a soft pad or cotton wool bud to prevent it from reaching your eyes. Apply this to your skin at night and then wash it away in the morning. Read the instructions carefully.

This is available on prescription only if you have excessive sweating but if you want to use Obadan for other reasons then you can purchase this from an online pharmacy, the Odaban website or any major supermarket, e.g. Tesco.

Some people find that they develop a skin rash as a result of using Obadan but this may be due to overuse of this product. Your GP can advise you about any potential side effects.

Anhydrol Forte

This aluminium chloride based product is also available on prescription and via a pharmacy. It works in a similar way to Obadan by obstructing the sweat glands which then stops sweat from reaching the skin. It is available as a roll-on deodorant. This is applied in the same way as Obadan except this must only be used in cases of focal hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating in certain areas of the body). This helps to prevent any adverse effects to the sweat glands caused by this blockage.

Do not shave before using this antiperspirant. Only apply this to dry skin (do this at night) and rinse this off in the morning. Do not use this with sore or inflamed skin. If you develop an allergy to any of the ingredients contained in this product then stop using this and ask your GP/pharmacist for advice.

Skin irritation is a known side effect of anhydrol forte.


This roll-on deodorant also contains aluminium chloride and was developed to treat cases of excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). This chemical partially blocks your sweat glands which stops unwanted sweat and odour. This is available on prescription or over the counter at your local pharmacy. It can also be purchased online.

It is applied in much the same way as Odaban and Anhydrol Forte in that it must be used on dry, unbroken skin and left overnight. Wash this off in the morning, preferably when having a shower. Use it each night for the first two weeks before reducing this to a couple of times a week. This product discolours clothing if it comes into contact with these so ensure that you have washed this off and thoroughly dried your skin before you get dressed.

Skin infections or irritation are side effects of using Driclor.


This strong antiperspirant is another option for treating excessive sweating. It works in a similar way to Obadan, Anhydrol Forte and Driclor and can be bought online or via a local pharmacy. It contains aluminium chloride which acts as a stopper in the sweat glands thereby preventing sweat from being released onto the skin. This stopper is removed after a couple of days as cells are shed by the body which means that you have to reapply this antiperspirant every few days. This is often used to treat focal hyperhidrosis, for example excessive sweating of the hands and feet although it can be used on other affected areas. Remember to use this on no more than 10% of your body area as overuse can cause overheating and dehydration due to an inability to sweat.

Apply this to at night to dry skin and wash off in the morning with soap and water. Apply a couple of strokes of the roll-on to your affected skin each night for the first week then reduce this to a twice weekly basis. Do not use this with other products as this increases the risk of skin irritation. Skin rashes are a side effect of using PerspireX.

Zeasorb Absorbent Powder

This is another strong antiperspirant which is used to treat excessive sweating, skin infections and rashes. It is available on prescription but can also be purchased online or via your local pharmacy. It works in a similar way to Odaban, Anhydrol Forte, Driclor and PerspireX in that it blocks sweat glands, which prevents moisture from reaching the skin (or what we know as sweat).

This product is available as a powder and is commonly used for excessive sweating of the feet although it can be applied to other areas of the body.

It is applied to dry skin and then left to remove any excess moisture. Do this twice a day especially if you have a skin infection. Avoid inhaling or consuming this powder but if you do then seek urgent medical attention. Side effects of Zeasorb include skin irritation, hives (skin rash), tight chest and breathing difficulties. Swelling around the face is not uncommon. If you experience any of these allergic reactions then obtain medical advice as soon as possible.


Here is another type of strong antiperspirant which is effective at treating excessive sweating and other similar conditions. It is available as a spray which is applied to the affected skin.

This spray helps to reduce body temperature and the amount of sweat lost but is not a cure for excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis). What it does do is to minimise the effects of excessive sweating, skin rashes, hot flushes and other forms of skin irritation. Sunburn, insect bites, eczema and heat rash also benefit from this product which cools the skin, thereby reducing any inflammation and easing the discomfort.


Whichever antiperspirant you use make sure that you follow the instructions carefully, especially as there is a risk of an allergic reaction, i.e. skin rash from using any of these products.

If you are uncertain as to which antiperspirant to use then ask your pharmacist or GP for advice.

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