Antiperspirant A Brief History Of Humanity’s Attempts To Stop Sweat

What can you use to stop sweating under your arms

The average temperature of the human body is 98.6 degrees F. When that temperature goes up, the body sends signal to the brain to activate the nervous system, which then activates the sweat glands to release sweat to the skin. Sweat acts as a natural air conditioner, releasing fluid to the top layer of the skin, which then cools the body down when a breeze rolls by.

If you suffer from body odor or excessive sweating, also known as hyperhidrosis, then it?s important to remember that sweat itself doesn?t smell. But when sweat mixes with the bacteria on the surface of the skin it can create a rather unpleasant smell, also known as BO. However, because deodorant as we know it wasn?t invented until the late 1800s, our human ancestors had to find other ways to stop sweat from making them smell with the safest antiperspirant they could find.

Keep reading to discover how past civilizations attempted to stop sweat and eliminate body odor.

Egypt and Greece

The Ancient Egyptians and Ancient Greeks used a similar means of providing relief from their unpleasant smells and sweat. Perfumed baths were very common in both cultures, and baths with aromatic oils, for the Greeks, were often presented as typical offerings to guests. Greeks were also fond of rubbing their skin with oils and salts to remove any odor that occurred.

Perfume was also popular among the Greeks, although it was the Egyptians who were often wont to use it. Egyptians would often apply perfume to their underarms to curb the smell and would additionally apply porridge as a kind of deodorant to prevent underarm sweat.

The Romans

The Ancient Romans worried less about how to stop underarm sweat and more about preventing the body?s unflattering smells. Perfume was arguably more popular with the Romans than the Egyptians, perhaps because of the humidity of the climate compared to Egypt?s dry heat. The Romans were known to bathe in aromatic oils as the Greeks did, but they additionally soaked their clothes in perfume. Rich Romans even applied perfume to their horses and dogs!

The Middle Ages

Nudity in the Middle Ages, even in the bath, was considered taboo, and so the Middle Ages saw a lesser amount of deodorant (and hygiene in general). People didn?t worry about reasons for excessive sweating or how to reduce underarm sweat. Perfume was common only among those who could afford it.


In 1888, a deodorant known as Mum became the first trademarked antiperspirant. Deodorant had existed before, but Mum was the first to be sold on the market with decent value. Applied to the underarms as a paste, Mum was eventually followed by a product known as Everdry.

Everdry was a solution made from aluminum chloride and could be applied to the skin with cotton swabs. However, Everdry was not very dry and often led to messy results and unhappy consumers. Additionally, it was not the safest antiperspirant and often burned the skin of its users and ate through clothing.

The first roll-on deodorant, Ban, was introduced in the 1950s as an alternative to Everdry, and following Ban was the first aerosol deodorant, Right Guard. However, while these deodorants prevent the smell of underarm sweating, they do not stop armpit sweat.

Modern RX antiperspirant

The body contains anywhere between two to four million sweat glands, but while the average person sweats up to six litres every day, an excessive amount of sweat can still be embarrassing. Unfortunately, modern deodorants (even clinical-strength ones) don?t often help with extreme excessive sweating.

Just remember, before you try out a new treatment to stop armpit sweat, consider RX treatments for sweating instead. If you’re looking for the safest antiperspirant, then prescription strength products are usually the way to go. Even though RX treatments are the safest antiperspirants you can find, it can still take up to three or four days for these treatments to be effective. After those initial days have passed, sufferers from excessive underarm sweat will see an improvement and a significant lack of wetness under their arms. Fortunately, modern deodorant use helps us to not only curb the smell of sweat on the surface of the skin, but also to curb the amount of sweat.

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