Human sweat is brought onto the skin’s surface through exiguous channels of the sweat glands. Antiperspirants minimize the diameter of these sweat ducts by excitation.
While the epidermal tissue around the small tubes expands, an organic plug, formed by merging proteins and aluminium chloride blocks the outer exit of the sweat glands. Despite of common apprehensions: antiperspirants do not destroy the glands or any other parts of the body. There is also no cauterization or biochemical interference. Apart from the organic/chemical merge of the protein plug (by using loose scales of the skin) the whole effect of antiperspirants is solely based on a physical phenomena. The gland’s channels simply get plugged – like a wine with cork. Additionally: This is not a long-time effect. With the skin’s renewal and reproduction process the plug gets automatically released after a short time.
How does an antiperspirant work?
fig 1 above | Model of the skin: Application of antiperspirant (pale green droplets) while sweat (pale blue) is leaving the sweat pore (through the vertical duct). Loose scales (orange chips) from the skin are floating within the sweat bead.
fig 2 above | The antiperspirant (light green), mixed with the sweat, sinks into the epidermis. A small plug, formed with loose scales, salt and ingredients of the antiperspirant, begins to develop.
fig 3 above | The diameter of the sweat duct is narrowed down by excitation (red areas) of the epidermis. The plug closes the pore. Sweat cannot be secreted from the sweat gland any more. The dermis is not affected by the antiperspirant.
No need to be afraid of Antiperspirants!
Antiperspirants are topical agents. Their ingredients cannot sink into the skin, as they would get blocked by the stratum basale. By this, antiperspirants can neither reach the blood vessels nor the lymph ducts. Both are located deeper within the dermis and the fatty tissue beneath.