Behavior & Development • Aug 18, 2015

Sweaty, Smelly Teens and Tweens: Deodorants that work and other tips to keep them smelling sweet

There comes a certain age when our kids start to smell and sweat like teens.  For most adolescents, this is a temporary phase that will improve with age. A few will struggle with hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and osmidrosis (foul-smelling sweat) for their whole lives. Don’t worry– with just a few tricks and the right antiperspirant, you can help your child control that sweaty smell all day long.

Finding the right antiperspirant for your child will take trial and error– what’s right for one person may not work for the next. Antiperspirants and deodorants are not the same thing– deodorants block or mask odor, while antiperspirants prevent sweating. Be sure to use a product that is an antiperspirant rather than simply a deodorant. The most effective antiperspirants will contain aluminum chloride or Aluminum Zirconium of at least 10 percent.

Antiperspirants are not just for underarms. Many products can be used on the hands, feet, trunk and even the face and groin. You may need a higher concentration of aluminum chloride for use on the hands and feet because these areas have thicker skin. Carefully test a product by applying a small amount to the trunk or underarm to see how your body reacts and to be sure you do not have a skin sensitivity to the product. Solid and roll-on products work well in the underarms, and are good for application around the hairline to prevent facial sweating. Spay products may be better for the hands and feet. The groin area can be especially sensitive, and there are products marketed especially for the groin.

Apply deodorant twice a day, usually in the morning and again before bed.

Here are 6 strong antiperspirants that keep the even the sweatiest teens and tweens dry:

1)    Certain Dri: This antiperspirant contains about 12 percent aluminum chloride, and is not as irritating as other heavy-duty antiperspirants. It’s a great first-choice for teens and tweens. It comes as either a solid or a roll-on. A three-pack sells for $18.28 on

2)    Old Spice Sweat Defense: a good choice for males, this product is popular for the large variety of scents available.  It contains 19 percent Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrex Gly. Be sure to buy the “Sweat Defense” line of Old Spice products rather than a standard Old Spice product with a lower percentage of Aluminum salt. A pack of four, 2.6 ounce sticks sells for $15.09 on Amazon.

3)    Secret Clinical Strength: a great option for females because of the scent; some men like this product because it just works. It is pricy, running about $7 to $11 dollars for a 2.6 ounce stick.

4)    Sweat Block Antiperspirant Wipes: The manufacturer of this product claims that one application will keep you dry for six to seven days, despite regular bathing, swimming, etc., making this an excellent choice for young people who forget to use their antiperspirant regularly. This product goes on easily with a pre-soaked towelette, and should be applied before bed. The manufacturer only recommends use on the underarms, but many people find it works well on the feet. It contains 14 percent aluminum chloride and sell for about $20 for 8 individually-wrapped towelettes.

5)    Odaban: This spray-on product contains a whopping 20 percent aluminum chloride, one of the highest concentrations in any over-the-counter product. It must be applied to dry skin to avoid irritation. It is meant to be used before bed, and then washed off in the morning. The antiperspirant will stay in your sweat ducts after washing to prevent sweating. It sells for $13.60 for 30 ml on

6)    Drichlor: This is another high-aluminum product that is very similar to Odaban, containing about 20 percent aluminum chloride.  It is also applied at night and washed off in the morning. Like Odaban and other high aluminum products, it can be irritating. It sells for about $8 for 75 ml on

Occasionally, your child may need medical treatment such as botox injections to reduce sweating. Your physician can also prescribe products with higher levels of aluminum salts.

Perhaps the hardest part of helping your sweaty child is getting them to establish regular bathing and hygiene routines. Bathing needs to become part of the daily routine.  Help your child develop a simple routine for storing their hygiene products, hanging their towel, etc. Some teens will need to bathe twice a day. Remember those positive rewards you used when your child was a toddler? They can still work now. Try offering to make breakfast to allow your child a bit more time to shower in the morning until it becomes a regular habit.

Is your teen stressed or depressed?  They are not alone.  Here are ways you can help them through this, too.  


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