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Doctor's Orders: The 411 on Deodorant


Remember Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Well, after our deodorant roundtable, we were left with some pressing deodorizing queries. So, we ‘phoned a friend' and reached out to a medical professional for some armpit expertise. Thankfully, one of our fave dermatologists, Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas (who received her B.A. in Biology, her M.D., and her Ph.D in Molecular Genetics from Harvard U.), took the call.

ITG: Can a deodorant ‘stop working,' or become less effective over time?

Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas: For aluminum chloride, which seals the sweat ducts, I have not observed this in my patients. What does happen is that, as we age and approach peri-menopausal years, the sweating becomes much more prominent so that the old deodorants are incapable of keeping up with the need for control.

ITG: Does the aluminum found in some antiperspirants pose a health threat?

Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas: There is some data to suggest a potential link of aluminum to Alzheimer's Disease. Therefore, use in moderation. I recommend using Certain Dri wipes for a few nights in a row prior to an important event so you are dry for the day or days. Then take a break; do not use every day to minimize toxicity. Any link to breast cancer is theoretical at this point.

ITG: If you get Botox injections in your armpits to prevent sweating, is it likely that you would start sweating excessively in other places on your body?

Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas: This is not likely, however it does occur. Patients may experience increased sweating of the palms or even the crux of the elbows. But, this is by far the most effective treatment and, in my hands, lasts for nine months to a year in my patients.

Well, thank goodness for professionals is all we have to say. (Also: we may be chucking our aluminum-based products once and for all...)