Aluminium Chloride

What is Aluminium Chloride?

Aluminium chloride is a very strong antiperspirant, which can be purchased in pharmacies or prescribed by doctors. Aluminium chloride is usually most effective for excessive sweating in the armpits, but it can also be effective for other parts of the body as well, although doctors usually advise against using it in on the face because it can cause irritation in and around the eyes. There are many different products available that contain aluminium chloride and some popular brands include ZeaSORB and Driclor. Aluminium chloride works by effectively blocking the sweat glands.

How do I use it?

It is important to read the instructions that come with the product very carefully, as different brands may have different instructions, so make sure you take to read the leaflet even if you have used aluminium chloride before. When you use aluminium chloride based products, you will usually be told to follow the instructions as follows:

  1. Use on dry, clean skin, wiping the skin and towel drying before you apply.
  2. It is best to apply aluminium chloride at night-time before you go to bed, as the sweat glands are less active during the night when you are asleep.
  3. Wash the aluminium chloride off when you get up in the morning.
  4. Avoid shaving for 24 hours before and after application.
  5. Avoid the eyes and do not apply to damaged, irritated or broken skin.
  6. Apply aluminium chloride every 24-48 hours until you see an improvement. If your condition approves you can start to use it less frequently (1-3 times per month for example).

If your condition improves with aluminium chloride you will probably be advised to continue using it on an indefinite basis and you will only need to use it once every 1-3 weeks, as the products gradually block the sweat glands.

Are there any side effects?

Skin irritation and swelling are common side effects of using aluminium chloride. If you have mild irritation and you can cope with this, it may still be worth continuing on and seeing if using aluminium chloride reduces sweating. If the irritation is more serious, see your doctor. Some tips for reducing irritation include reducing the frequency of application, using a mild steroid cream (such as Hydrocortisone) to the area of irritation and using an emollient cream (moisturiser) on a daily basis.