Effect of antiperspirants on whole body sweat rate and thermoregulation

J S Burry, R L Evans, A V Rawlings, J Shiu
International Journal of Cosmetic Science 2003, 25 (4): 189-92
It is well established that the evaporation of sweat from the human body surface is the main mechanism by which heat balance is maintained following a rise in body core temperature. Since the introduction of the first brand name antiperspirant in the United States during the early 1900s, antiperspirant products designed to control underarm wetness have grown to represent one of the largest cosmetic categories in most global markets. However, although axillary sweating only constitutes less than 1% of whole body sweat rate, consumers, particularly in hot countries, have begun to articulate the concern that antiperspirants may interfere with the body's natural cooling process. To investigate this, we undertook carefully designed experiments that measured the effects of axillary antiperspirant application on whole body sweat rate and body core temperature, following a regimen of exercise-induced heat stress in a hot environment in human volunteers. Our data show clearly that although antiperspirant prevents sweat production in the axillary area, this does not impact the ability of the body to thermoregulate following a rise in body core temperature. Thus, recent consumer questioning over this aspect of antiperspirant use appears to be unwarranted.

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