Can you beat summer’s most embarrassing problem? We review the products that help reduce sweat

While the warmer weather is welcome, feeling sweaty is not.

But perspiration is part of a vital bodily function to maintain our body temperature at 37c, in turn keeping our bodies cool and preventing dangerous overheating.

‘Sweating is a thermoregulatory function — as our core body temperature goes up, the brain sends a message to the body to release sweat, which cools the body as it evaporates from the skin’s surface,’ says Dr Ross Parry, a GP at Cosmedics UK.

The average human produces up to 25ml of sweat an hour just to regulate body temperature — this can rise up to three litres an hour when our body temperature heats up during exercise or on a hot day.

However, around two million Britons suffer from a condition called hyperhidrosis, which causes them to sweat up to four times more than usual.

Perspiration is part of a vital bodily function to maintain our body temperature at 37c, in turn keeping our bodies cool and preventing dangerous overheating [File photo]

‘This is a debilitating condition, often forcing sufferers to change clothing several times a day or avoid social situations,’ says Dr Catherine Borysiewicz, a consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic in London.

One theory is that the receptors in the sweat glands become oversensitive, and so constantly fire messages to the brain telling it the body needs to cool down.

Hyperhidrosis tends to be a lifelong problem, often beginning around puberty — which is why any sudden onset of excessive sweating in an adult should always be checked by a GP to rule out an underlying medical condition.

But if your problem is simply everyday sweat — and with a heatwave forecast for the end of the month — here experts assess some of the latest products that claim to help; then we rated them.

Long-acting wipes

Sweat Block Antiperspirant wipes, £18.99 for ten,

Sweat Block Antiperspirant wipes

Sweat Block Antiperspirant wipes

Claim: A ‘prescription-strength’ antiperspirant containing 14 per cent aluminium chloride which ‘can reduce underarm sweat for up to seven days’. Simply press a soaked tissue on to your armpits and leave to dry for five minutes.

Expert verdict: ‘Aluminium chloride is a potent antiperspirant and first-line treatment for excess sweating,’ says Dr Borysiewicz.

‘The aluminium salts react with sweat to form a gel-like substance that blocks the sweat glands. This isn’t dangerous — any sweat is simply redirected to other areas. Some have raised concerns about aluminium-based compounds in antiperspirants being linked to a raised risk of breast cancer, but there is no substantial evidence.

‘It’s a relatively strong concentration here — over-the-counter products tend to be around 5 per cent.

‘Studies have found applying aluminium antiperspirants at night, when the sweat glands are less active, can boost their effectiveness — perhaps because the chemicals are absorbed properly and not washed away by higher sweat levels during the day.

‘This is a reasonable option and the wipe could be easier to use than other products.’  


Body Balance Prevent Excessive Sweating pills

Body Balance Prevent Excessive Sweating pills

Herbal remedy

Body Balance Prevent Excessive Sweating pills, £17.99 for 30,

Claim: Each capsule provides 50mg of sage essential oil which the maker claims will reduce excess sweating. Take one a day.

Expert verdict: ‘Sage has been used to treat sweating for centuries and is even approved by German health authorities for the treatment of hyperhidrosis, but at much higher doses,’ says Dr Borysiewicz.

‘However, most studies on sage are looking at hot flushes in menopause — it’s too much of a stretch to say it would also help excess sweating, as these are issues with different causes. 


Sweat zapper

Dermadry Total, £291,

Claim: This machine uses a mild electrical current (directed on to the skin using wires and stick-on patches) to interrupt signals between the nerves and sweat glands, which the maker says retrains them to produce less sweat — when used twice a week for 15 minutes.

Dermadry Total

Dermadry Total

A survey by the manufacturer found that ’98 per cent of users saw a significant reduction in excessive sweating’.

Expert verdict: ‘This technique, known as iontophoresis, is safe and effective for hyperhidrosis of the palms, soles of feet or armpits,’ says Dr Borysiewicz.

‘Iontophoresis is used in the NHS for excess sweating. With an at-home gadget such as this, people will be able to access the treatment more easily.

‘We don’t know exactly how it works. One theory is that the current disrupts nerve transmission, reducing the function of sweat glands; another is that it somehow makes sweat glands more acidic, which appears to reduce the volume of sweat.

‘It tingles a little, though not uncomfortable, and requires a long-term commitment because the symptoms come back if you stop using it. On the downside, it’s expensive and it doesn’t work for everyone.’ 


‘Good bacteria’

Star Cloud Probiotic deodorant, £11.95 for 45g,

Star Cloud Probiotic deodorant

Star Cloud Probiotic deodorant

Claim: This natural deodorant contains arrowroot and lactobacilli bacteria, ‘designed to work with your skin’s own microbiome (balance of good and bad bugs) and support your good smelling bacteria’.

Expert verdict: ‘The theory behind this product is a good one — if you have a healthy, balanced microbiome, then no single population of ‘body odour-causing’ bacteria can take over and cause a stink,’ says Dr Borysiewicz.

Sweat is naturally odourless, the odour is produced when bacteria that live on the skin break down proteins in the sweat, producing pungent gases.

‘This product combines probiotics — good bacteria — with arrowroot, which contains a type of starch that good bacteria feed on,’ says Dr Borysiewicz.

‘There is also shea butter, an effective moisturiser and rosemary oil, which has antibacterial benefits and smells pleasant.

‘Its worth a try if you want to combat bad odour. But note it is a deodorant [an odour reducer] not an antiperspirant, so it won’t do much to reduce sweat.’ 


Absorbent T-shirt

Men’s back sweat-proof undershirt, £29.99,

Men's back sweat-proof undershirt

Men’s back sweat-proof undershirt

Claim: Made from micro modal fabric this top is ‘designed to help with back sweat’ and features an ‘impenetrable sweat-proof barrier’.

Expert verdict: ‘Back sweating is difficult to treat, because it’s not easy to apply anti-perspirants, and Botox and iontophoresis machines — where a mild electrical current is used to disrupt sweat ‘signals’ — aren’t very effective because it’s such a large area,’ says GP Dr Ross Parry. 

‘This top is discreet and will provide a barrier, so it will take longer before you sweat through to your shirt.

‘But as with all clothing, if you suffer from hyperhidrosis, you will sweat through both layers eventually, because you’re not inhibiting the natural tendency to sweat.

‘Back sweat is best approached by wearing natural fabrics — such as pure cotton or silk, which will allow any excess heat to escape and reduce sweating — and taking frequent cool showers.’ 


Underarm patch

Dandi underarm sweat patch

Dandi underarm sweat patch

Dandi underarm sweat patch, £8.99 for ten,

Claim: ‘An absorbent and discreet solution to underarm sweat,’ promises the maker of these patches (made from a material similar to waterproof plasters). You apply a new one every day.

Expert verdict: ‘These are not an ideal daily solution for excess sweat as the glue in this type of patch can often irritate skin. Plus they don’t stop the sweat — they just trap it next to the skin, potentially causing sweat rash,’ says Dr Parry.

‘Patients should try aluminium chloride-based products to block the sweat.

‘A long-term treatment in the underarm area is Botox, which will block the communication between the nerves and the sweat glands.’ 


Silver socks

Sweatguard silver socks, £10.82 for two pairs,

Sweatguard silver socks

Sweatguard silver socks

Claim: These socks contain silver fibres ‘known to kill more than 400 bacteria and fungi’ to tackle sweaty foot odour. They are also made from ‘hydrophobic [water-repelling] yarn which wicks moisture’.

Expert verdict: ‘Foot odour is caused by the bacteria that live on our feet breaking down the protein in sweat and releasing stinky gases,’ says Dr Parry.

‘Silver socks are a sensible idea, because this precious metal is scientifically proven to fight against this bacteria, so it should help with any smell.

‘The fibres might help sweat evaporate faster, but they won’t stop the sweating process, so if your feet sweat excessively, the moisture will eventually soak through them.

‘To stop the actual sweat if you have hyperhidrosis, you will need a foot antiperspirant containing aluminium chloride.’ 


Anthony No Sweat body defence

Anthony No Sweat body defence

Body cream

Anthony No Sweat body defence, £20 for 90ml,

Claim: A ‘cream-to-powder’ product that promises to soothe skin while absorbing excess sweat using tapioca starch and ‘preventing friction and chafing’.

Expert verdict: ‘This will keep skin feeling soft, and the starch will absorb some excess moisture, which may reduce chafing and irritation — but the effect will be pretty small,’ says Dr Parry.

‘It helps manage the sweat rather than stop it, so it’s only really useful for those who have mild sweat issues.

‘Nor are there any anti-bacterial ingredients, so it won’t help prevent nasty smells. It also contains citrus oils and alcohol, ingredients which both can irritate more sensitive skin types.’