Everyone sweats to some degree. In fact, sweating is a natural process that assists in regulating a person's body temperature. If you sweat excessively, though, you may have a condition known as hyperhidrosis.
If you struggle with hyperhidrosis, there is no doubt you've tried everything to reduce your sweating and the odor associated with it. You may have even tried applying baby powder to stop sweating, which is usually recommended to those with sensitive skin.
But does baby powder stop sweat?
Here's a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of using baby powder to control sweating.
What is Baby Powder Made of?
Traditionally, baby powder is made of scented talcum powder. Talcum powder is a very fine grade version of the mineral talc, and contains magnesium, oxygen, silicon, and asbestos. The fragrances used in baby powder keep you smelling fresh and can mask body odors. And because it is designed for an infant’s sensitive skin, baby powder does not cause skin irritation.
Talc is an astringent that constricts body tissues and an absorbent that leaves a dry surface, which is why many people use talcum powder for sweating on a short-term basis. Talcum powder is also used in many deodorants and antiperspirants.
Baby Powder as a Deodorant
Although it’s normal to sweat while performing various activities, those who suffer from hyperhidrosis are constantly plagued with excessive sweating and body odor issues even when they're not physically active.
While baby powder is a reliable and safe product when used to keep a baby’s sensitive bottom dry, it is really not a solution for those suffering from hyperhidrosis. The amount of baby powder deodorant you would need to stay dry would leave you breathing in unhealthy quantities of talc.
Baby powder may seem like a good sweaty feet powder option, but this product is designed for use on baby skin, so it is extremely mild. Although some powders can help absorb sweat, this does not stop the accumulation of the bacteria which leads to the odor in the sweat.
Athlete’s foot is a common fungal skin infection that is typically associated with sweaty socks. While using a foot powder for sweaty feet can help keep your feet dry during a workout, this is not an effective treatment for those who are suffering from athlete’s foot. For this specific skin infection, it is recommended to use medicated antifungal cream, powder or spray.
Baby powder helps smooth your underarm skin and keep it cool. It has soothing and anti-friction properties that may be helpful if you have problems with chafing.
While baby powder for armpit sweat is not a recommended substitute for antiperspirants, applying baby powder under your arms can help absorb underarm sweat and help prevent odor. This may not replace your deodorant but it can keep you fresh and dry for a short period of time.
Benefits and Dangers of Talcum Powder
Two of the biggest benefits of baby powder are its lubricating and absorbent qualities. Baby powder absorbs moisture well, helping keep your skin dry. Its lubricating qualities cut down on friction, which prevents chafing and rashes.
However, one of the health issues connected with the use of baby powder is that the grains of talc are so small that the body readily ingests and absorbs them. As a result, regular use of baby powder has been linked to a number of health concerns. While medical professionals disagree on the scope of these dangers, there have been several large jury awards in cases linking baby powder to cancer.
Benefits of Talc
• Talcum powder’s tiny grains absorb moisture and reduce friction. This minimizes sweating and chafing, and can help prevent fungal infections.
• Talcum powder has natural cooling, soothing, and anti-irritant properties that make it an excellent aftershave.
• Because talcum powder absorbs oil, it can be used as a dry shampoo that leaves your hair grease-free and smelling great.
• Sprinkling talcum powder on sensitive areas can help prevent and soothe chafing and rashes.
Talcum Powder Side Effects
When inhaled, the tiny grains of talc can coat your lungs and cause wheezing, coughing, chest pain, and difficulty of breathing. Johnson & Johnson baby powder products warn that powder should be kept away from the child’s face to avoid inhalation.
Baby powder should not be applied on skin with open sores or wounds. Do not apply talcum powder to a rash where the skin is broken or bleeding, as this can lead to inflammation or infection.
Talcum Powder and Cancer
Asbestos, one of the primary ingredients of talcum powder, has been linked to breathing problems and cancer when inhaled. Scientists are still performing studies to determine the relationship, if any, between talcum powder and cancer.
So far, researchers have not found scientific proof of a link between talc and cancer. This has not stopped juries from awarding large sums to plaintiffs who developed cancer after using baby powder. Johnson & Johnson lost a $417 million verdict after being sued by a woman who developed ovarian cancer after years of baby powder use.
Alternative to Baby Powder for Sweat
While talcum powder remains a useful part of many people’s sweat control routines, there are many concerns over talcum powder’s known and possible side effects. People who rely on talcum powder for dryness are wondering if its benefits are worth the possible risks, no matter how slight they may be.
Luckily, there are many other ways to control excessive sweating and body odor. Besides baby powder, deodorants like cornstarch, tapioca starch, arrowroot starch, rice powder, and baking soda can be safe, effective, natural anti-sweat powders.
Corn and Other Starch Powder Alternatives
The revelations about the dangers of talcum powder have led many people to turn away from it and toward cornstarch powder for sweating. This type of powder is highly effective at absorbing both moisture and odor. Baby powder with cornstarch is also good for minimizing friction from skin-on-skin contacts, such as on the upper thighs or under the arms.
The downside is that cornstarch powder can be extremely messy. Excessive sweating can make the powder clumpy and less effective. The powder can also leave white streaks on your clothing that can be difficult to get rid of later. In addition, the powder is not as effective as antiperspirants.
Here are two other starch alternatives that have the same effect as cornstarch for sweating:
Tapioca Starch - Tapioca starch is made from the cassava plant and is used as a corn starch alternative. Tapioca starch absorbs moisture and oil and has the same anti-chafing properties as baby powder.
Arrowroot Starch - Arrowroot powder has a similar texture and consistency to cornstarch but is made from the arrowroot plant. It doesn’t contain corn, or the pesticides commonly used on corn, which leads to many parents and people with corn allergies using arrowroot starch instead.
Many deodorants and antiperspirants contain baking soda as an active ingredient. Baking soda is alkaline and it makes your armpits an inhospitable place for the acid-loving bacteria that cause body odor.
To use this for preventing underarm sweating, dry the area then apply baking soda. Let the baking soda sit for 30 minutes, then rinse with water.
Rice powder, also called "rice starch," was used in makeup products before talcum powder. It is also used to prevent sweating, but it clumps up when exposed to moisture and humidity. You will need to store your rice powder in an air-tight container to keep it from becoming lumpy.
Talc-Free Baby Powder
Legal issues have caused many baby powder manufacturers to reformulate their products. As a result, there are now many varieties of talc-free baby powder available on the market. Most of these are formulated with cornstarch or kaolin clay. These talc-free powders are generally as effective as baby powder for sweat.
Best Baby Powder Alternative for Excessive Sweating
Excessive sweating negatively impacts self-esteem, causes anxiety and depression, and has a direct impact on our social lives and overall comfort.
If you are dealing with hyperhidrosis, you need a stronger solution than baby powder. Deodorant sticks, sprays, and gels such as those from Duradry are specially formulated to safely and effectively address the problem of excessive sweating.
Duradry offers a complete excess sweating solution to deal with the heaviest sweating problems in three easy steps. Our comprehensive solution has been proven and can control excessive sweating within a week.
Apply Duradry PM at Bedtime
Duradry PM is a neutral-scented gel antiperspirant that contains 15% aluminum chloride as its active ingredient.
Apply Duradry PM 1-2 times a week before bedtime. The gel blocks your sweat glands while they are less active, and is unscented so it won't disturb you or your partner.
Apply Duradry AM in the Morning
Put Duradry AM on when you wake up for all-day protection you can depend on. Duradry AM contains 20% aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex glycine as an active ingredient, along with moisture-absorbing arrowroot and odor-neutralizing sage derivatives. Duradry AM is talc- and silicone-free, and comes in several different scents.
Use Duradry Wash for a Deep Clean
Duradry Wash deep cleans your pores and eliminates bacteria that cause body odor. It helps keep you smelling fresh throughout the day with the help of bergamot and grapefruit, which are potent natural deodorizers. Duradry Wash is also infused with nourishing vitamins and minerals that lock in moisture for glowing skin.
Effectiveness of Antiperspirants
Antiperspirants work very well to help minimize the effects of excessive sweating. Many contain specialized ingredients, such as aluminum chloride, which is known to help reduce the effects of excessive sweating. Although antiperspirants are primarily designed for underarm use, they can be used on other areas of the body.
If you have sensitive skin, you may want to use antiperspirants in other areas sparingly until you know how it affects your skin. It is best to choose antiperspirants that are FDA-approved, dermatologist-recommended, and alcohol-free, such as Duradry.
Why Duradry is Better for Sensitive Skin
Hyperhidrosis can lead to not only social issues but to skin rashes and other complications as well. And these problems are often made worse by the harsh chemicals used in many extra strength and prescription antiperspirants.
Duradry products do not contain any of these harsh chemicals. Duradry PM contains an effective aluminum chloride concentration that keeps you dry and is less likely to lead to skin irritation than prescription antiperspirant formulations. It also contains skin moisturizing ingredients that will help those with sensitive skin avoid rashes and irritation.
As you can see, there are many benefits of baby powder. It can be effective as a temporary solution, or as a supplement to your regular antiperspirant regimen. But most people will not be able to rely on baby powder deodorant alone as an effective sweating solution.
If you are living with hyperhidrosis, there are more effective solutions to your sweating problems that can safely prevent excessive perspiration without harming your skin. Many people have found Duradry to be a safe and effective way to stay dry even in the most stressful situations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Baby Powder Absorb Sweat?
Baby powder is designed to keep a baby's bottom dry, so it will definitely help absorb wetness from your armpits or other areas. But baby powder can only absorb so much moisture, and you may need to supplement baby powder with an antiperspirant.
Can You Use Baby Powder Instead of Deodorant?
Baby powder has a pleasant fragrance that can help mask some body odors, and the talc can help absorb some moisture. But while these are great benefits of baby powder, deodorant products offer a more effective solution to hyperhidrosis and body odor.
Does Baby Powder Help with Smelly Armpits?
Many people use baby powder for armpit sweat as part of their daily hygiene routine. While it has absorbent and soothing qualities, baby powder is not a substitute for antiperspirants or deodorants.
Does Baby Powder Help with Hand Sweat?
Many people use baby powder for sweat control, and not just under their arms. Talcum powder can help absorb sweat and give your hands a better grip. Applying baby powder to sweaty hands can help keep your palms dry when you can't afford to let something slip out of your grasp.
How Can I Get Rid of Hyperhidrosis at Home?
Shower or bathe every day using an antibacterial soap to control the bacteria that can inhabit your sweaty skin and cause odors. You can use cornstarch for sweating on your hands, feet, and groin areas, but you will need an effective underarm antiperspirant like Duradry as well.