Most clinical strength antiperspirants simply aren’t good solutions for treating excessive sweating (a.k.a hyperhidrosis). One problem is that “clinical strength” is less of a scientific term and more of a marketing one. What makes something “clinical strength” versus “extra strength” is usually up to the manufacturer to decide. This is how you can get similar antiperspirant deodorants that are labeled “extra clinical strength” and “prescription strength”.
In fact, plenty of these clinical strength antiperspirants rely on the same ingredients as regular, over-the-counter antiperspirants. Some popular hygiene companies just increase the amount of their active ingredient (and also the cost of the product) when they choose to label something clinical strength. And sometimes they just tweak the recipe.
But when you’re trying to stop excessive sweating, you can’t rely on just using more of the same ingredients found in ineffective conventional antiperspirants.
I was personally frustrated by this issue because I had spent years looking for an effective, harm-free, and affordable solution to my own excessive sweating. Through my journey, I discovered what makes an antiperspirant effective can be boiled down to:
- The type, strength, and purity of the active ingredients;
- The method of application (roll-on, dab-on application, gel), which also affects how many uses you’ll get out of the product.
In this post, I’m going to cover nine popular brands that consumers come across when looking for the best clinical strength antiperspirants.
Clinical Strength Antiperspirants for Excessive Sweaters
After growing frustrated with my options, I decided to develop an antiperspirant brand for people who were trying to manage their excessive sweating.
Duradry’s complete solution consists of three products that work together to form a 3-step treatment for excessive sweating. Over 97% of our customers have reported that using all three products together helped them achieve full dryness within one week.
Our 3-step solution includes:
Duradry PM: Duradry PM is a topical gel that you apply directly to your skin before you go to bed. You can use this product 3-4 times a week.
Duradry Wash: Duradry Wash cleans off bacteria and any residue or oils. This prepares your skin for the morning antiperspirant. Duradry Wash can be used every day.
- Duradry AM: Duradry AM is our roll-on morning antiperspirant that absorbs sweat and eliminates body odor. You can use this product every day.
You can buy each product individually, or save more when you try the 3-step solution. Right now, we have a deal where you can get all three products for $20.
If you’re simply looking for Duradry’s version of a single clinical strength antiperspirant (which actually works), then you’ll want to get Duradry PM — the overnight product.
What Ingredients Go Into Duradry PM? Why Does It Work?
Duradry PM uses the active ingredient Aluminum Chloride Hexahydrate. Research shows this is the most critical ingredient for treating excessive sweating. Without Aluminum Chloride, your antiperspirant probably won’t be strong enough to treat your hyperhidrosis.
Aluminum Chloride works so well because its molecules are tiny, allowing them to get deep into your pores. They thicken beneath your skin when they come into contact with water. And as these molecules thicken, they plug up your pores and keep your sweat from coming out.
But one of the important things to know is that Aluminum Chloride is so good that you don’t need to overdo it. We put 15% Aluminum Chloride in Duradry PM because studies show:
15% Aluminum Chloride is just as effective as 20%. Plus, 15% Aluminum Chloride is less likely to irritate your skin.
- If we made it 20%, you’d have to get Duradry by prescription, for the same level of effectiveness. This would have made it inconvenient and more expensive to get a product that isn’t technically any better for treating excessive sweating.
We also paired our active ingredient with Salicylic Acid — something that no other brand on this list has done — to help make Duradry more effective while reducing any risk of skin irritation. This makes Duradry a great option for excessive sweaters with sensitive skin.
How to Apply Duradry PM
You apply Duradry PM’s unscented gel at bedtime. We say bedtime because that’s when your sweat glands are usually the least active, letting Duradry PM do what it does best — transfer its active ingredient into your pores to promote dryness. We made Duradry PM a gel, based on my own personal experience from comparing gel, wipes, and roll-on applications.
With gel antiperspirants like Duradry, I usually got more uses per product. This lowers the cost per application of your antiperspirant.
Compare that to a liquid antiperspirant.
When you’re applying a liquid to your underarms, it’s easy to spill and waste antiperspirant. Second, liquids can leak out of your bottle, which is a significant issue, especially for people who need their antiperspirant on the go. If you’re using a liquid antiperspirant, you’re likely using a dab-on applicator. The problem with dab-on applicators is that there’s always going to be some product left at the bottom of the bottle that is practically impossible to extract.
Another benefit of using gel antiperspirants over liquid or spray-on antiperspirants? You tend to get more of the active ingredient directly on your skin. This is especially true if you’re applying antiperspirant to a part of your body that has hair.
To summarize: Duradry PM is our version of a clinical strength antiperspirant, which contains just the right amount of a critical active ingredient to significantly reduce wetness. It’s one part of our three-step solution, which also contains Duradry AM, a daily strong antiperspirant that offers extra protection, and Duradry Wash to cleanse your pores and boost your treatment’s effectiveness.
You can try our three-step solution for just $20, and if Duradry doesn’t control your excessive sweating, you’re entitled to a full refund.
Certain Dri makes three different antiperspirants that they classify as “clinical strength” but only one is recommended for excessive sweaters: Certain Dri Prescription* Strength Clinical.
* It’s worth noting that “prescription strength” is another misleading marketing term. Unless a brand contains above 15% Aluminum Chloride, it doesn’t require a prescription.
This roll-on antiperspirant contains 12% Aluminum Chloride — the active ingredient which we discussed above. However, 12% is significantly less than Duradry PM, which means it’s below what studies show is the most effective concentration.
Like Duradry, Certain Dri also recommends you apply its antiperspirant at night. And most customers who have success with it use it 3-4 times a week. It comes as a roll-on and can be purchased online or in drug stores or pharmacies around the US.
Other products by Certain Dri:
Certain Dri also makes two different antiperspirant deodorant sticks.
First, there’s Certain Dri Extra Strength Clinical. Instead of Aluminum Chloride, this antiperspirant uses 25% Aluminum Sesquichlorohydrate. 25% is the max concentration allowed by the FDA. Aluminum Sesquichlorohydrate is a recent method for treating excessive sweating. It has shown results in curbing palmar hyperhidrosis — sweaty hands — but there isn’t significant data on how it works on armpits.
Then, there’s Certain Dri Everyday Strength Clinical. This is the only antiperspirant that Certain Dri recommends you can use every day. It’s really more of traditional antiperspirant deodorant. It uses 20% Aluminum Zirconium Complex, which is perfectly fine for normal levels of sweat, however, isn’t always effective for hyperhidrosis sufferers when it’s not supported by an Aluminum Chloride product (like Duradry PM).
SweatBlock makes a few different products suitable for excessive sweaters, but we’re going to focus on their antiperspirant wipes. These wipes (or towelettes) come in a box of 10 for $18.99. If you use 2-3 per week, it’ll last you about between 3-4 weeks — just shy of a month.
It can be tricky to get direct access to your skin with wipes like these, especially if you have hair under your arms — which can prevent the active ingredient from getting into your pores.
SweatBlock's Antiperspirant Wipes treat excessive sweating with the same active ingredient, Aluminum Chloride (14%). This is a higher concentration than Certain Dri, but lower than Duradry. And without Salicylic Acid in the mix, Aluminum Chloride has a higher chance of causing skin irritation.
* Like a lot of antiperspirants, SweatBlock products are designed to work best when used on your underarms. You can try SweatBlock’s towelettes on your hands, feet, or back — but if that’s your main use for it, then keep in mind it’s not guaranteed.
Other Clinical Strength Antiperspirants
Doctor Sweat (Dr. Sweat): This product takes a similar approach to SweatBlock, with a 15% Aluminum Chloride solution applied through a “pad” that you dab onto your armpits. Again, if you have hair in this region, it may not reach the pores — but you also shouldn't apply a pad to recently-shaved or broken skin.
- ZeroSweat: Their main product is a roll-on antiperspirant that uses 15% Aluminum Chloride — the optimal concentration of the active ingredient. However, it doesn’t contain anything designed to soothe your skin — so there’s a higher chance of unpleasant irritation. ZeroSweat also sells a dab-on antiperspirant with ALOE containing 12% Aluminum Chloride (comparable with Certain Dri), and wipes (like SweatBlock).
Big Brand “Clinical Strength” Antiperspirants
Below we’re going to cover more conventional “clinical strength” antiperspirants. These products are not really designed for excessive sweaters. Most of them don’t use the active ingredient Aluminum Chloride, and even when they do, it's often in very small concentrations.
Sometimes these products are branded more as “clinical strength deodorants” because their focus is on making sure the targeted area is moisturized and odor-free. In fact, below you’re going to see that a lot of competing brands contain almost the exact same ingredients.
However, these brands may be a good fit for you if you’re not struggling with excessive sweating or you’re looking for products that are aluminum-free.
Note: According to the FDA, there is no such thing as a non-aluminum antiperspirant. You can get deodorants that are free from aluminum, but by definition, an antiperspirant must contain some type of Aluminum Salts. This is the only way it can prevent sweat formation in the pores.
Dove Clinical Protection Antiperspirant: Dove Clinical Protection is an alcohol-free antiperspirant deodorant. It contains a good amount of moisturizer to help reduce risks of underarm irritation, although that risk is already reduced because it’s not using any of the more advanced active ingredients which treat hyperhidrosis. The active ingredient is 20% Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY. Dove also uses Sunflower Seed Oil, Paraffin (for soft skin), and Dimethicone (to help contain sweat in the layers of the product).
Degree Clinical Strength: Degree Clinical Strength is an invisible solid alcohol-free antiperspirant, containing moisturizer to reduce underarm irritation. Despite a different packaging and brand, Degree Clinical is very similar to Dove Clinical Protection. They both rely on 20% Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY as their active ingredient to fight against excessive sweating. They both also use Dimethicone and Paraffin.
Secret Clinical Strength: Similar to Degree and Dove, Secret Clinical Strength antiperspirant uses 20% Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrex GLY. But it also has Cyclodextrin for absorbing body odors and PPG-14 Butyl Ether which helps mitigate skin flakiness or roughness. It’s worth noting that PPG-14 is technically part of the paraben family, which may be a deal-breaker for people who only want paraben-free products.
- Dove Men+Care: The active ingredient for Dove Men+Care is also Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY (20.0%). Like the other brands above, Dove uses Dimethicone, Paraffin, and Sunflower Seed Oil.
All of these antiperspirants are from popular consumer deodorant brands. They can be found on Amazon or on the shelves of drugstores and department stores.
They range in price but are usually available for around $10 a stick. While that’s cheaper than the specialist products we’ve covered earlier, keep in mind that you’re not getting the same type of active ingredients — so it’s not a direct value comparison.
What is Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY?
You probably noticed that Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY is in all of the clinical strength antiperspirants listed above. This ingredient works in a similar way as Aluminum Chloride. This is because these Aluminum Salts are soluble — so when they come into contact with sweat, they expand and plug your pores.
Most of the mainstream consumer brands use Aluminum Zirconium instead of Aluminum Chloride because Aluminum Chloride is more likely to lead to irritated skin. However, this Aluminum Zirconium is less powerful because it is a larger compound that can’t get as deep into the pores — meaning that it’s not so effective if used as the sole treatment for hyperhidrosis. So, this is why we combine Aluminum Chloride with Salicylic Acid in Duradry PM — because it reduces irritation while maximizing the sweat-stopping performance.
Our Duradry AM product contains Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrex GLY 20% — which adds an extra layer of daily protection, on top of the work that Duradry PM does while you sleep.
What Constitutes the Best Clinical Strength Antiperspirant?
As we mentioned at the beginning of this guide, brand labels are not as important as:
- The type, strength, and purity of the active ingredients, and;
- The method of application and how many uses you’ll get out of the product.
When we made Duradry, we wanted to offer a product that was affordable, simple to use, highly effective, and easy to get hold of.
That’s why Duradry PM uses just the right amount of Aluminum Chloride to guarantee dryness. We also use other ingredients, such as Salicylic Acid, to make sure it doesn't cause any undue irritation. Our treatment is available through our own online store and will be sent to you either as a one-time purchase or as a subscription that you can cancel anytime.
You can try our 3-step solution for just $20, and if Duradry doesn’t control your excessive sweating, you’re entitled to a full refund.