By now, you'd probably like to think you've mastered proper hygiene, especially something as simple as applying deodorant. But if you're dealing with smelly or itchy pits, you're probably doing something wrong. One common misconception: deodorants don't actually block sweat, says cosmetic surgeon Mark Malek. Ready to get your pits back in fighting shape? Start by avoiding these common mistakes:
1. You’re Using the Wrong Product
Like we said, deodorant and antiperspirant are two different products. If you’re just concerned about odour, deodorant is the way to go. The distinguishing difference between deodorants and antiperspirants is that the latter contains aluminium chloride, an ingredient used to block sweat, says dermatologist Delphine Lee. “I think if you’re a heavy sweater, using antiperspirants is better way to go,” says Malek.
2. You’re Applying It at the Wrong Time
“Deodorant can be applied at any time during the day, but the evening time is usually best for antiperspirants, when you’re not sweating as much,” says Malek. While it’s not a set rule, this will allow it to bind better to your skin before you reach peak sweat levels during the day, he says.
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3. You’re Not Putting on Enough
Sometimes a single swipe isn't going to cut it. To avoid an unexpected sweat sesh (like, when you're in the middle of a meeting), apply a generous amount of antiperspirant to your entire underarm area to ensure all sweat ducts are covered. “You have to cover the sweat glands thoroughly,” says Malek.
4. You’re Using a Scented Stick
Itchy? Women with eczema or other sensitivities should stay away from heavily-scented deodorants because they can irritate the skin, says Malek. Before using it under your arms, test the product on your wrist, says Lee. Or, try a fragrance-free deodorant.
5. You’ve Been Using the Same Product Since Middle School
If you feel like you apply religiously and your pits still feel sweaty, it might be time to switch to a different stick. “It may be that your sweat glands have adapted,” says Lee. Your body can develop a resistance to antiperspirant, and if you’re not able to stop perspiration, you’re going to be left with moisture. And that leads to the growth of microbes, which contribute to unwanted odour, says Lee.
This article was originally published on Women's Health.