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Antiperspirant
Complications of Hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis Treatments
Does Aluminum Antiperspirant Cause Cancer?
Written by Katie Crissman
October 01 2020

Many people are worried about whether antiperspirant is safe, especially because it is so widely used. So, what does antiperspirant do to your body and is it bad for you? In the late 2000’s, a viral email was sent out in a mass blast discussing a correlation between antiperspirants with aluminum as an ingredient, which is a typical ingredient in over-the-counter topical treatments for hyperhidrosis, and the emergence of breast cancer. This email was forwarded to millions of individuals around the world, and the email made three primary claims:

  1. The aluminum in the antiperspirants that was applied to the underarms and under the breast was likely to enter the breast tissue through the skin, remain present in the breast tissue, and create a toxic imbalance of aluminum that led to cancerous cell division.
  2. The aluminum would also enter the skin through micro-abrasions caused by a razor when shaving, travel into the lymph nodes, and block the lymph nodes from releasing any toxic substances the body would typically release via sweat.
  3. Since women were more likely to shave their armpits and create the microabrasions, the aluminum build-up would be higher in women and be a contributing factor in what made women develop breast cancer at a higher rate than men. [1] [2]

In order to provide an unbiased review of the 3 claims regarding aluminum and cancer, each claim will be evaluated solely the scientific evidence on the topic provided by three non-profit organizations: the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, and WebMD.

Claim 1: Aluminum Enters the Tissue via the Skin and Causes Cancer

The email’s first claim is that active ingredients in antiperspirants, such as aluminum compounds like aluminum chlorohydrate, enter the breast tissue and lead to cancer. To stop sweat, these aluminum compounds block the sweat glands to prevent sweat from getting to the surface of the skin. Some hypotheses in cancer research have suggested these aluminum compounds might be absorbed by the skin and then create changes in the breast’s estrogen receptor cells. Since estrogen may promote the growth of both cancer and non-cancer breast cells, a few scientists have suggested that the aluminum-based ingredients in antiperspirants are a risk for catalyzing the growth of cancerous breast cells. However, no concrete evidence exists that the aluminum that enters the sweat gland is absorbed into the skin. One research trial that studied aluminum absorption from antiperspirants containing aluminum chlorohydrate applied to the underarms discovered that only a miniscule amount (0.012%) of aluminum chlorohydrate was absorbed. The actual aluminum absorbed according to this study and other studies is actually much less than the amount of aluminum a person absorbs just from eating typical foods with aluminum. Furthermore, no evidence indicates that breast cancer tissue contains more aluminum than healthy breast tissue. A study that observed women with breast cancer found no real difference in the concentration of aluminum between the cancer and the surrounding healthy tissue. [1][2][3]

The Verdict:

Evidence shows that aluminum does not enter the skin to a tissue-deep level or collect in the tissue. Additionally, even if the aluminum were to build up in the tissue (evidence indicates it does not), no ties between aluminum and breast cancer are shown.

Claim 2: Aluminum Particles Known as Parabens Enter the Tissue via Microabrasions and Sweat Glands, then Block Lymph Nodes from Removing Toxins

In addition to the claim surrounding aluminum, the email also claims the aluminum-based antiperspirant contains parabens that prevent lymph nodes from disposing of toxic waste. Since lymph nodes assist the body in removing possible threats to the body like viruses and bacteria, making sure all lymph nodes are functioning properly is a critical part of maintaining a healthy immune system. However, these lymph nodes are unrelated to sweating. First, lymph nodes do not release waste or toxins through sweating, and prohibiting sweating via aluminum would not affect their function. Most cancer-causing substances that enter the body are removed from the blood by either the lymph nodes or the kidneys, then flushed through the urinary tract. Second, and more importantly, lymph nodes are not even connected to sweat glands. Sweat glands are located in the skin, whereas the lymph nodes are distributed throughout key points throughout the body in a tissue level below the skin-deep positioning of the sweat glands. [1][3]

Some individuals would argue that since the majority of breast cancer cases emerge in the portion of the breast closest to the underarm (axillary) region, the parabens are driving these cases of breast cancer. However, the fact that this portion of the breast tissue has the largest mass by far means that this portion of the breast will naturally have more developments of cancer. Since the lymph nodes found throughout the breasts play a key role in the process of cleaning the blood, this area is naturally larger in mass. The underarm (axillary) nodes filter most of the liquid lymph flowing out of the breast before it goes back into the body's bloodstream. These nodes are under the arm, in the upper outer portion of the breast, and near the collarbone. The percentage of cancers in the higher outer part of the breast is proportionate to the breast tissue in that portion. There is no evidence to suggest that the location of cancers within the breast is related to using antiperspirants or underarm shaving. [1][2][3]

The Verdict:

Parabens do not enter the lymph nodes through the skin, and the lymph nodes do not even utilize sweating as a means to eliminate toxins.

Claim 3: Aluminum Percentages are Higher in Women and Correlates to Higher Breast Cancer Rates in Women

Breast cancer development rates are directly correlated to the mass of breast tissue. Research has shown that aluminum rates do not hold a statistically significant impact on breast cancer development. When compared to males, females have approximately 100 times the mass of breast tissue as males, and uncoincidentally, develop approximately 100 times the amount of breast cancer cases as males. Additionally, males are 100 times less likely than females to develop breast cancer since males have one one-hundredth the mass of breast tissue that women have. Furthermore, hormones also affect breast cancer development. Males with genetic and metabolic conditions that lead to increased estrogen levels possess a greater risk of developing breast cancer. This correlation and the research surrounding the relationship between estrogen and breast cancer highlights a natural connection between estrogen and breast cancer rates. [1][2][3]

The Verdict:

Females have the nearly identical amount of aluminum in their tissue as males, and the frequency of breast cancer diagnoses are correlated to the mass of breast tissue.

Conclusion:

Since the idea that there is no link between aluminum antiperspirants and cancer is also supported by the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, WebMD, and dozens of other non-profit organizations, the factual links to aluminum and cancer are nonexistent. Considering that these non-profit organizations operate with a primary goal of researching cancer to discover prevention and treatment methods for the disease, these organizations value discovering and spreading scientific truth over any potential profits made from scams surrounding antiperspirants. After considering that both private sector and public sector non-profit groups that have spent hundreds of millions of dollars researching a potential link between aluminum and cancer have also agreed the link is simply nonexistent, nearly no credible evidence or organization stands behind the faulty belief that aluminum antiperspirants cause cancer. [2][3] Don't be afraid to use over-the-counter topical treatments to treat your hyperhidrosis or to manage it with a doctor. Many people don't even know what antiperspirant does and how it is different from deodorant, so claims about antiperspirant causing cancer may lead many unimformed people to fear a safe and effective treatment. You need to advocate for your own health and learn everything there is to know about hyperhidrosis and its potential treatments in order to make informed decisions about your medical care.

Sources
  1. Antiperspirants and Breast Cancer Risk. (n.d.). Retrieved June 28, 2018, from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/antiperspirants-and-breast-cancer-risk
  2. Antiperspirants/Deodorants and Breast Cancer. (n.d.). Retrieved June 27, 2018, from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/myths/antiperspirant-fact-sheet
  3. Watson, S. (n.d.). Antiperspirant Safety: Should You Sweat It? Retrieved July 28, 2018, from https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and- treatments/features/antiperspirant-facts-safety#1
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Antiperspirant

What You Need to Know About Carpe Clinical Regimen

By Katie Crissman /

One of the newest clinical strength antiperspirants to hit the market is Carpe’s Clinical Grade Regimen - it combines several high performing products with a specific care routine to provide long term sweat reduction for even the heaviest sweaters. Read on to see if Carpe Clinical Regimen is right for you!

Antiperspirant is great - for most people. You apply it once a day and it stops your sweat! It’s easy. But, what if that’s not what happened? You bought it, read the label, and used it exactly as directed and, unfortunately, you’re still sweating - excessively. If this is you, then you’ve come to the right place. There are products specifically made for heavy sweaters who haven’t had luck with traditional antiperspirants. These products typically include the words “extra strength”, “clinical strength” or “prescription strength” and they are, thankfully, available over the counter without a doctor’s prescription. 


The difference between clinical strength products and their weaker counterparts are the active ingredients they use. Clinical strength lines typically use one of several newer types of metallic salt ingredients that are known to be both stronger and less irritating than aluminum chloride (which is the standard active ingredient in antiperspirants) [1]. While there are many clinical strength products on the market, we are going to focus on a new clinical strength regimen that combines a strong active ingredient with a specific care routine to get excessive sweating under control. 


Carpe Clinical Regimen -  What It Is and How It’s Different

One of the newest clinical strength antiperspirants to hit the market is Carpe’s Clinical Grade Regimen. It’s different from other prescription grade products because it combines several strong products with a specific care routine to ensure maximum product performance. It’s also different from Carpe’s other products because it uses a stronger active ingredient and delivery system. The system is geared toward people who experience intractable armpit sweating, but Carpe also makes products for people who struggle with other types of sweat. The Carpe Clinical Grade Underarm includes three specific products that, when used together, have been found to be highly effective at reducing sweat production. These products include:

  • Carpe Clinical Grade Underarm Antiperspirant 
  • Carpe Clinical Grade Exfoliating Wash
  • Carpe Clinical Grade Underarm Wipes[2]

Carpe Clinical Grade Regimen uses an active ingredient called Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY (20%) combined with other soothing inactive ingredients to effectively stop sweat in its tracks while reducing skin irritation.[3] Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex is a newer generation metallic salt that stops sweat production and is known to be more effective than other types of active ingredients antiperspirants typically use. One study mentioned in the journal Dermatologic Clinics found that antiperspirants using Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex were, on average, 34% more effective than antiperspirants that used aluminum chloride as an active ingredient.[1] Carpe’s traditional products use an active ingredient called Aluminum Sesquichlorohydrate at 15% which is effective, but less potent than Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex.[4]


It’s important to note that Carpe’s Clinical Grade Regimen provides a long term impact on sweat reduction from making short term lifestyle changes. This is because the results build up over time and peak at about 4 weeks. It takes 4 weeks of using the Carpe clinical grade products once each morning and every other night to see the full effect of what they can do. This is typical of all antiperspirants as their effects tend to build up with consistent use. Consistently using antiperspirant products is especially important for those with hard to treat sweat problems because it can be the difference between treatment success or failure.[1][2] 


If you’re frustrated with the way your current antiperspirant is working or how it isn’t working, then consider giving Carpe’s Clinical Grade Regimen a try! It’s active ingredient is comparable to other prescription strength products on the market but it’s multistep system with easy to use wipes is completely unique! Remember, an easy to use, consistent antiperspirant routine is going to give you long term sweat reduction so it’s important to find a system that works for your lifestyle. 


Sources
  1. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Amsterdam: Elsevier Pub. Co., 2014. Retrieved from https://www.elsevier.com/books/hyperhidrosis-an-issue-of-dermatologic-clinics/pariser/978-0-323-32607-0>https://www.elsevier.com/books/hyperhidrosis-an-issue-of-dermatologic-clinics/pariser/978-0-323-32607-0
  2. How It Works (Clinical). Carpe. https://mycarpe.com/pages/how-it-works-clinical
  3. Clinical Underarm  PM Wipes. Carpe. https://mycarpe.com/products/clinical-grade-underarm-antiperspirant-wipes?variant=34814174724229
  4. Underarm Antiperspirant for Excessive Underarm Sweating. Carpe. https://mycarpe.com/products/underarm-antiperspirant-tube?variant=39247505358981
Antiperspirant

8 Random & Interesting Facts about Excessive Armpit Sweating

By Daniel McCarthy /

8 Random & Interesting Facts about Excessive Armpit Sweating

Our worries about shirt stains, sweaty underarms, and smelly armpits may dominate how we think about excessive armpit sweating. Hey, we may even avoid thinking about these all together. But guess what? There are some random and interesting facts that just may change how you think about excessive underarm sweating! Let’s take a look: 

Fact number 1: Sweat by itself ISN’T smelly

Sweat is often associated with smelliness. But by itself, it doesn’t smell AT ALL. The reason sweat can smell (in places like your armpit) isn’t really about sweat. It’s about the sweat glands (and hair)! Apocrine glands are the biggest of sweat-producing glands and are usually located near hair. It’s this combo that leads to smelly armpits.

Fact number 2: Excessive armpit sweating is as old as cavemen

Hang with me here. Excessive underarm sweating is connected to the fight-or-flight response ingrained in even the most ancient of human predecessors. This excessive armpit sweating response has helped humans survive for millenia. And yep, it means our cavemen ancestors likely had sweating armpits, too. Even though they didn’t have to worry about shirt stains like us, we have the benefit of products like carpe underarm and antiperspirant in general to help with our excessive armpit sweating.  

Fact number 3: Famous people worry about excessive armpit sweating too

Michael Gary Scott, fearless and deliciously cringeworthy leader of Dunder Mifflin Scranton on the show The Office, is perfectly played by actor Steve Carell. Carell seemed to play the role with such ease, comfort, and confidence that nobody would ever know he was worried about excessive underarm sweating due to his hyperhidrosis. Co-star Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute on the show) even pointed out that the set temperature was a cool 64 degrees to keep Carell’s sweaty underarms from becoming the focus of the scene. 

Even though Carell’s excessive armpit sweating wasn’t part of the show, I like to think Michael’s approach to sweat stains could be summed up by his famous line:  “I knew exactly what to do. But in a much more real sense, I had no idea what to do.” 

Fact number 4: Other celebrities combat hyperhidrosis too

Steve Carell is not the only notable person looking for the best sweat prevention. As a longtime vampire and real-life human with hyperhidrosis, Robert Pattinson is another actor who combats hyperhidrosis (and werewolves) on the regular. 

Like Pattinson and Carell, Halle Berry also has hyperhidrosis. Famously, Berry confidently showed her sweat stains on the Ellen Show back in 2010. So when you’re feeling a little self-conscious about your own excessive underarm sweating, remember you too can confidently move through your day like Berry barring her pits for the world. 

Fact number 5: Ventilation over here please!

If you’re still worried about how to get rid of pit stains, some ventilation could provide a brief respite. Because we sometimes get pesky pit stains, it can feel like our excessive underarm sweating is due to our pits proclivity to produce the most amount of sweat. Yet, this annoying issue is more commonly attributed to a lack of ventilation, although sweaty armpit causes cannot be narrowed to one thing. Still, a little ventilation and clinical strength antiperspirant can go a long way in dealing with pesky pit stains and excessive armpit sweating. 

Fact number 6: An underappreciated aspect of a non-meat diet

Sometimes even the best antiperspirant and deodorant may not feel like enough to help with excessive armpit sweating and underarm smell. That’s okay though because there are other interesting ways to approach this issue. A 2006 study showed that women found mens’ armpit odor “more attractive, more pleasant, and less intense” when these men ate a non-meat diet [1]. If you haven’t already thought about eating less meat, the improved aroma of your pits (and the kitchen) may be another reason to eat a non-meat diet. 

Fact number 7: Fashion matters

Choosing clothes is a fashion statement for many. And while fashion may matter more to some than others, there’s one interesting reason we can all get behind to choose our clothes. Our clothing choices can help deal with excessive underarm sweating. That’s right, there are clothes, materials, styles, and pads that all can help with excessive armpit sweating as well as excessive sweating and shirt stains in general. 

Fact number 8: You aren’t alone

An estimated 2-3% of the US population suffers from axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive underarm sweating). Even though this percentage may seem small, 3% of the US population is right around 10 million people. That’s like all of NYC combating excessive armpit sweating at the same time. It can be easy to feel isolated in dealing with hyperhidrosis, but there’s some comfort in knowing many others are dealing with the same worries. 

Sources

 

  1. Havlicek, J., & Lenochova, P. (2006). The Effect of Meat Consumption on Body Odor Attractiveness. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/chemse/article/31/8/747/364338
Antiperspirant

7 Effective Tips to Stop Sweaty Hands

By Daniel McCarthy /

7 Effective Tips to Stop Sweaty Hands 

Not sure how to stop sweaty hands and excessive sweating? You aren’t alone! Whether you’re working from home, gaming, or just trying to get your phone to recognize your thumbprint, it can get pretty dang annoying to constantly worry about how to stop having sweaty hands. In this article, we’ll cover 7 effective ways to help you stop sweaty hands:

    1. Reduce your stress
    2. Try (the right) antiperspirant
    3. Iontophoresis
    4. Check with your doctor about underlying conditions
    5. Medications
    6. Give a Botox shot 
    7. Take a more surgical approach

1.  Reduce your stress 

This one is often easier said than done - but it can help a lot. Research has shown that higher levels of anxiety cause sweat glands to become more active [1]. This is particularly true for hand sweating. 

Figuring out how to stop sweaty hands looks different for each person, but there are some relaxing activities that can either prevent sweat or help control it once it’s begun. Some possible activities to reduce your stress include listening to your favorite music, getting enough sleep, and exercising daily. Other helpful techniques include deep breathing and stretching. Everyone is different, so try some of these other tips to find what works best for you. 

2. Try (the right) antiperspirant

You’re relaxed, but maybe you’re still trying to work out how to stop having sweaty hands? While reducing stress is a beneficial home remedy, it should be combined with other easy-to-use remedies. Some home remedies, such as baking soda or apple cider vinegar, may help with hyperhidrosis, but the next best step is over-the-counter antiperspirant

Antiperspirants are great at preventing clam hands and often work better than deodorants to stop excessive sweating. Antiperspirants for hands are especially important in how to stop sweaty hands. Others prefer anti sweat wipes. Finding the right hand antiperspirant is an important step to combat sweaty hands. 

3. Iontophoresis

    Hate needles? Need to figure out how to stop sweaty hands? Iontophoresis may be for you. This method uses mild electrical currents to treat your hands while they’re submerged in water. And although iontophoresis sessions may be performed at a doctor’s office, some people choose to purchase their own iontophoresis machines for at-home treatment [2].  

    While this method can be a bit harder on the wallet, if you can pay upfront for a machine, you may save by avoiding paying for every visit to the doctors. However, if you don’t see progress after a few weeks, talk to your doctor to discuss how to stop your sweaty hands from affecting your daily life. 

    4. Check with your doctor about underlying conditions

    It can be easy to write off sweaty hands as a reaction to anxiety or nervousness. But sometimes sweaty hands can be caused by underlying conditions. These conditions might include diabetes, low blood sugar, overactive thyroid, infections, and other issues. To learn more on how to stop sweaty hands that may be connected to underlying conditions, it is best to talk to a medical professional about your hyperhidrosis needs. 

    5. Medications

    In addition to talking about your underlying conditions, a medical professional may also suggest a prescription to help with sweaty hands. More specifically, your dermatologist may prescribe an oral medication for hyperhidrosis like a series of pills known as anticholinergics, which help your body produce less sweat. Like pills, topical creams may also be prescribed to help reduce excessive sweating. These creams are made up of solutions that will decrease the amount of sweat released, including hand sweat. If medications don’t cut it for you, you may need to take one of the two steps below. 

    6. Give botox a shot

      You may be thinking, I’m not sure how to stop sweaty hands, so why are you recommending botox? While many may not associate botox with hyperhidrosis, it can significantly reduce excessive sweating, including in your hands [3] . While botox may solve how to stop having sweaty hands, this method can cause temporary pain or weakness of the hands, so it is crucial that you consult a medical professional for appropriate botox delivery. 

      7. Take a more surgical approach. This one is only for serious sweaters who have tried everything else.

      If you can’t figure out how to stop having sweaty hands after trying these first six tips, you might consider surgical treatment for primary focal hyperhidrosis. While botox is a less invasive surgery, significantly more invasive procedures include endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy​ or an endoscopic lumbar sympathectomy. These names may be hard to pronounce, but these surgeries can provide significant relief for people with certain kinds of severe hyperhidrosis. Of course, try less invasive options first, and talk to a medical professional before deciding to take a more surgical approach. 

      There may be no one-size-fits-all solution for how to stop sweaty hands, but hopefully one of, or a combo of these tips help you enjoy life a bit more and worry about sweat a bit less. 

      Sources

      1. Huddle, J. R. (2014). Hyperhidrosis: Causes, Treatment Options and Outcomes. New York, NY: Nova Science.
      2. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Amsterdam: Elsevier Pub. Co., 2014. Retrieved from <a href=https://www.elsevier.com/books/hyperhidrosis-an-issue-of-dermatologic-clinics/pariser/978-0-323-32607-0>https://www.elsevier.com/books/hyperhidrosis-an-issue-of-dermatologic-clinics/pariser/978-0-323-32607-0</a>
      3. Lakraj, A. A., Moghimi, N., & Jabbari, B. (2013). Hyperhidrosis: anatomy, pathophysiology and treatment with emphasis on the role of botulinum toxins. Toxins, 5(4), 821–840. https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins5040821
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