• happi happi.com March 2015 56
TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT HOW THESE PRODUCTS TACKLE
UNDERARM ODOR AND PERSPIRATION AND HOW CONSUMERS
PERCEIVE THEIR EFFECTIVENESS—A PERCEPTION THAT VARIES
BY COUNTRY, ACCORDING TO THE AUTHORS.
FOR MANY YEARS, humans have been conscious of body odor. The age-old problem of sweat and smell is a troublesome issue for some people, especially those individuals who suffer with hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). Anthropologist Louis Leakey suspected
the original function of body odor was to make humans repellent to
animals who sought to eat us.1
For years now, personal care manufacturers have been redeveloping their products on a mass scale, trying to out-do competitors to find
that one product that is more efficacious than the competitor company, and thus take or keep, the market lead. This is business worth
hundreds of millions of dollars for some companies every year.
A constant issue for some consumers who suffer from excessive
sweating problems is sensitivity. In a Princeton Consumer Research
(PCR) survey of 400 people identifying as suffering with hyperhidrosis,
87% of participants complained that the more efficacious products,
mostly prescription, had caused some form of irritation. For the milder
formulations that required several applications over the day this irritation caused consumers to stop using the product.2
There is no doubt that the quality of life of many consumers is affected by excessive axillary sweat and the associated smells that often
result. The FDA does offer suggested guidelines for testing the effectiveness of an OTC antiperspirant drug product in finished product
form, with version 350.60 ( 21 CFR 350.60) of the final monograph
(final rule) for OTC antiperspirant drug products, published in the
Federal Register on June 9, 2003 ( 68 FR 34273). This is only guidance
and the FDA recognizes that alternate methods may be appropriate
to qualify an antiperspirant drug product as effective. These guidelines
do not preclude the use of alternate methods that provide scientifically valid results, subject to FDA approval. To qualify as effective, an
antiperspirant drug product in finished product form should meet the
criteria established in these guidelines. These guidelines apply to all
There are many protocols that have been developed over the years
that fluctuate in their dynamics, from numbers of study participants
and activities during the warm up procedure and sweat collection, but
the parameters are all standard in terms of the 40 minute warm-up
session and disposable pads, to the two sets of 20 minute sweat collection which is measured and then forms part of the study data.
During the past 10 years different methods of perspiration control have emerged. For example, Botox has been considered as the
way forward for those people who have been suffering beyond the
realms of help from over the counter products and regular prescription medications on offer such as anhydrous aluminum chloride
(AICI). Botox is injected into the skin to treat the symptoms of severe
underarm sweating (severe primary axillary hyperhidrosis) when
medicines used on the skin (topical) do not work well enough in
people 18 years and older. It is known that Botox may cause serious
side effects that can be life threatening. While this disclaimer may be
off-putting to some sufferers, others have reached the point where
they are very distressed by their condition, and are eager to try anything to get dry, odor-free underarms.
During the procedure at the doctor’s office, a small amount of
Botox is injected into the affected underarm area through a very fine
needle. About 15 injections are made to the underarm area. The actual procedure takes about 10 to 15 minutes and is said to last up
to 201 days or 6. 7 months. 3 Consumers are told they should notice
a significant reduction in underarm sweating within four weeks of
their first treatment.
From the 400 subjects we surveyed, 11 of them had this treatment. All reported significant reductions in underarm sweating. Six
of the subjects said they still had sweating issues, but not to the extent that they had prior to treatment.
APs and Deodorants
When used correctly, antiperspirants are the product of choice by
most people and are an effective way to keep sweating under control.
Antiperspirants deliver partially neutralized salts of aluminum and
zirconium to the opening of the eccrine sweat glands. The eccrine
glands are sweat glands that are not connected to hair follicles. They
function throughout life by responding to elevated body temperature
due to environmental heat or physical exercise.
Once the product is applied to the underarm, the sweat hits the
salt, which dissolves and diffuses into the ducts. As the salt is diffusing, the salt reacts with proteins, lactic acid salts and hydroxide ions
that are produced by the glands and stops the sweat from getting to
Barrie Drewitt and Cheryl Gizzi
Princeton Consumer Research Inc.