Expert Q&A: Underarm Sweat Problems

Underarm sweat isn't just a summertime problem-as the seasons change. Here are two common questions answered by NYC-based dermatologist Dr. Eric Schweiger.

Q: I tend to sweat a lot. What can I do to keep my pits dry?

A: To make your antiperspirant more powerful, apply it before bedtime, since it's absorbed better at night. Then glide on two more layers in the morning. You should stay drier during the day. It will also help if you upgrade to one of the prescription strength formulas such as Secret Clinical Strength, $7.49.

Q: I get yellow pit stains from sweating. What causes this, and how can I avoid it?
A: There are two causes of these stains. First, aluminum-based antiperspirants are acidic and contain compounds that can contribute to staining. In addition, sweat has trace amounts of urea (also found in urine), and this can contribute to the dyeing of fabrics. In general, a white shirt may take on a yellowish color, and dark clothes may become lighter.
Try using antiperspirants after showering in the morning and before going to bed to decrease your total sweat production. Antiperspirants work better if you do not sweat after applying. Another option is to consider getting Botox injections in your armpits. This can dramatically reduce sweating in most patients. If the yellow stains are really bothering you, stick with deodorants that have no aluminum chloride in them. Deodorants serve only to mask the odor, but will not reduce sweat production like an antiperspirant.

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