Antiperspirants to Help Foot Odor and Excessive Sweating

Everyone will sweat at one time or another, though some people have major problems with sweating too much. You usually associate sweating with the underarm area or you might have sweaty palms or sweaty hands occasionally. But you might have to deal with foot sweating on a regular basis.

Did you know that there is foot antiperspirant that can help you deal with foot sweating?

These aren’t just foot deodorant products either – ones meant to help those with smelly feet. They are specifically designed treatment options for sweating of the feet, designed to help keep your feet dry.

Here’s some information on how to find an effective foot antiperspirant, why you might experience excessive foot sweating, and how to deal with it and keep your skin healthy.

The Best Antiperspirants for Foot Sweating

There are about 250,000 sweat glands in your feet alone. As a result, it can be tough to find an antiperspirant strong enough to handle a sweating problem – especially one that can help with foot sweat. An effective antiperspirant could help you avoid needing medical treatment to deal with the issue, but consult with your doctor if you have problems finding an effective solution.

Antiperspirant wipes and other antiperspirant products contain particles that, when applied to your skin, interact with sweat. The sweat dissolves the particles, which sort of act as plugs when they are pulled into pores. This sends a message to the sweat ducts to stop producing sweat.1

Over-the-Counter Foot Antiperspirants

As far as sweating of the foot is concerned, there are both over-the-counter products and prescription antiperspirants available. You might not find a lot of over-the-counter products in your local drugstore or grocery store, but there are plenty of options online.

Foot Sweating | DermalMedixEven though you could conceivably use any type of antiperspirant on your foot, you’ll probably want to look at products specifically made for foot sweat.

You may want to consider a clinical antiperspirant. This is stronger than the everyday products you’ll find on store shelves. In most cases, a clinical antiperspirant is designed for overnight use.
They’re not made for daytime use because they can damage shoes, clothing, and carpeting.2

Prescription Foot Antiperspirants

But what can you do if over-the-counter products don’t work?

Well, there are prescription roll-on antiperspirants available. Doctors will sometimes prescribe oral medications, known as anticholinergics, in order to help keep sweat in check.3

Active Ingredients in Foot Antiperspirants

Let’s take a look at some of the active ingredients that are typically found in some of the more powerful foot antiperspirants. Some of these may be available over-the-counter or online, but others are only available through a prescription.

Talk to your doctor about which ones will be the best for your particular situation.

  • Aluminum Chloride

Aluminum chloride is an active ingredient commonly found in many skin antiperspirants. A form known as aluminum chloride hexahydrate is considered particularly effective. According to one study, patients suffering from a condition known as axillary hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating of the underarms) saw excellent results after undergoing aluminum chloride therapy.4

Different people will use aluminum chloride on their skin in different ways, of course. It all depends on what their doctors recommend.

In some cases, patients will need to keep aluminum chloride antiperspirant on their foot skin for between 6-8 hours. If skin irritation occurs, a dermatologist will need to determine the best course of action.5

  • Aluminum Chlorohydrate

Aluminum chlorohydrate is similar to aluminum chloride in that it is also used to help control sweat. It’s not only used to reduce perspiration, but also to help eliminate odor. It will usually result in a tingling or tightening sensation when applied to the skin.6

Researchers performed a study on 19 soldiers to determine how effective aluminum chlorohydrate (as well as another ingredient in antiperspirants known as aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex) was in controlling foot sweat. According to the results, the soldiers experienced fewer problems associated with this type of sweat, such as blisters.7

Excessive Sweating – Hyperhidrosis

Foot Sweating | DermalMedix

If you seem to sweat more than normal – whether you deal with underarm sweating, sweaty palms and feet, or excessive sweating affecting other parts of your body – you may have a condition known as hyperhidrosis. And if your feet tend to sweat a lot, that is known as plantar hyperhidrosis.

Now, your body has to sweat a certain amount in order to cool itself. Excessive sweating, or hyperhidrosis, occurs if you sweat a lot when your body doesn’t need to be cool. If you have this condition, you’ll often experience sweating from your underarms, hands and feet, or your head.

If you suffer from hyperhidrosis, you’ll normally be dry everywhere on the body except the one or two places where you sweat profusely.8

Symptoms of Hyperhidrosis

Life can be extremely challenging if you have to endure the constant sweating of hyperhidrosis. Sweat might soak not only socks but also shoes. If you have extremely sweaty hands, it can make it tough to work on your computer or even be able to use a doorknob.

If you tend to experience sweating even when you’re simply sitting in your favorite chair watching television or engaging in other sedentary behavior, or if it interferes with your everyday activities, then you may have hyperhidrosis.

Other signs of hyperhidrosis include getting frequent skin infections where you sweat the most and having soft skin that peels or stays soft and wet for long periods of time.9

Medical Treatment for Excessive Sweating 

Fortunately, there are a lot of ways you can manage your condition if you have hyperhidrosis. You can, for example, change out socks and shoes multiple times a day, or even wear sweatproof undershirts. But these are typical methods of managing a problem. In severe cases, if you suffer from excessive sweating you’ll need more extensive treatment.

  • Iontophoresis

One type of hyperhidrosis treatment is known as iontophoresis. This may be an option if you haven’t found success with clinical antiperspirant or prescription antiperspirant.

Iontophoresis involves the use of a device that passes a safe electrical current through a pan filled with a small amount of water. The patient keeps their feet or hands (or both) in the pan while the current flows through.

Iontophoresis treatment usually takes anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes, and usually takes place three times a week.

Iontophoresis has been shown to be very effective for people suffering from severe sweating of the hands and feet. Studies show it works anywhere between 81 and 91 percent of the time, though treatments may need to be repeated if sweating returns.10

  • Botox

Foot Sweating | DermalMedixIf you experience abnormal sweating, particularly if you have sweaty palms and feet, you might choose to turn to injections of botulinum, or Botox, to find relief.

While there are sweat glands located throughout your body, they are especially plentiful in the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. As it turns out, localized Botox injections have shown to be an effective treatment for excessive sweating.11

Botox comes from a bacterium known as Clostridium botulinum. Even though this bacterium can cause paralysis, when applied as a medical treatment, it has been proven to be safe. Injections may help to keep patients dry and comfortable for about six months.12

Note: While Botox injections are considered to be safe to reduce sweating, they must be administered by a qualified, experienced physician. It will typically not take very long to administer the treatment – usually just a few minutes.

Managing Foot Sweat

If you sweat a great deal more than normal, it’s important to know that you have a common problem that can be treated. Taking the steps to address your sweating problem could help you not only stay dry and comfortable, but also relieve any embarrassment you may be experiencing.

The first thing you need to do is to see a dermatologist. They will be able to determine the cause of your problem and come up with a plan. It might help to keep a journal of some of the triggers that make you sweat. These could be anxiety, outside temperature, or even certain foods.

As far as sweating of the foot is concerned, there are several things you can do to help minimize your issue.

If you live in a warmer climate and don’t have to wear closed shoes on a regular basis, try wearing sandals (Dr. Watts recommends that you don’t wear flip-flops) whenever possible. This will help your feet breathe so that your sweat glands don’t have to work overtime.

Foot Sweating | DermalMedixSwitch up your shoes so you don’t wear the same ones on consecutive days.

The socks you wear are just as important. Your socks should be made of materials, such as polyester or nylon, that keep sweat from accumulating on your feet. Try to stay away from cotton socks if possible, because they absorb moisture whether than wick it away.

Change your socks whenever you feel the need – even if that means more than once a day. Consider keeping an extra few pairs of socks at the office, so you’ll have them on hand when you need them.

Always wash your socks thoroughly after wearing them.

It’s also important to know that you need antiperspirant for your sweating feet – not merely deodorant. Deodorant only masks odor, it doesn’t do much to stop your sweat glands from drenching your feet.13 By the way, baking soda can be an effective deodorant if you’re sensitive to the chemicals in store-bought brands.14

What About Smelly Feet?

If you have ongoign foot sweating, there’s a chance you might have smelly feet as well. Stinky feet can be as embarrassing, so you’ll want to do whatever you can to keep that body odor in check. Here are a few tips to try.

Cornstarch – Pouring a few sprinkles of cornstarch in each shoe each day is a deodorant home remedy for smelly feet that could help keep your feet dry in your shoes and socks.

Epsom salt soak – One thing you can try to do to minimize excessive foot odor is to soak each foot every day – a sort of liquid deodorant, if you will. Mix a half-cup of Epsom salt with warm water in a tub or large bowl and soak for about 20 minutes a day.

You could also try to make a liquid deodorant by mixing one part vinegar with two parts water in a large bowl or tub. If you notice any skin irritation, or if you have open sores on your foot, don’t try this method.

Dry your feet thoroughly – Moisture can lead to foot odor, so it only makes sense that keeping your feet dry will help to reduce that embarrassing odor. Make sure you completely dry off your feet after you take a shower or get out of the swimming pool.

As mentioned earlier, always keep an extra pair of socks with you as you’re out and about for the day. Whether you workout at the gym or you’re simply at the office, a spare pair of socks could go a long way toward keeping you dry and helping you avoid smelly feet.15

Foot Sweating: Take Action 

Whether you have excessive foot sweating or foot odor due to smelly feet, you don’t need to live your life dealing with frustration and embarrassment. You’ve got lots of options. Talk to your doctor to get the problem addressed so you can finally put this issue behind you for good.

Learn More:
How To De-Stink Your Smelly Shoes (and save face!)
Trench Foot: The Causes and Healthy Prevention
What Is Athlete’s Foot? (and how to keep your feet healthy)