Make it a daily habit to use an antiperspirant. Many people apply an antiperspirant or deodorant before leaving the house to help control underarm sweating and the potential for embarrassing odor.
What's the difference between deodorants and antiperspirants, anyway? Deodorants help to cover up odors, while antiperspirants contain ingredients designed to stop perspiration. Deodorants have been around for more than 5,000 years, as people in ancient cultures applied natural scented oils to mask body odor. Over time, these concoctions evolved to become more complex perfumes. Antiperspirants, which use aluminum chloride to actually prevent sweat production, were introduced in the early 20th century and caught on quickly. Since then, their format has evolved from pads and squeeze bottles to sticks, gels, roll-ons and soft solids [source: Abrutyn].
Today, there's a dizzying array of antiperspirants and deodorants on the market, so there's something for everyone. Formulas for men, women and teenagers are available on store shelves. In addition, you can pick up newer and stronger formulations that contain more aluminum compounds, the active ingredient that temporarily blocks sweat glands [source: Humphries]. Learn about how antiperspirants work, and about prescription-strength options for people whose sweat glands aren't daunted by over-the-counter products, on the next page.