Studies on topical antiperspirant control of axillary hyperhidrosis
Shelley WB, Hurley HJ Jr.
Axillary hyperhidrotics is reviewed from the standpoint of anatomical factors, physiological mechanisms and the history of methods of control. Anhydrous aluminum chloride and anhydrous zirconium tetrachloride are shown to be superior topical agents for partial control of axillary sweating when applied as a powder or in anhydrous nonreactive vehicles. Complete anhidrosis as demonstrated by sustained garment armpit dryness could be achieved in hyperhidrotics within 48 hours by the following trinary antiperspirant system: (1) a saturated solution of aluminum chloride hexahydrate or zirconyl chloride in absolute ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, (2) application to the dry axilla at times of sleep or other prolonged non-sweating period, (3) water vapor occlusion of area for 6 to 8 hours by means of Saran wrap. The hypothesis is presented that metallic antiperspirants act by reflux entrance into the terminal intraepidermal eccrine duct, slowly combining with the intraductal keratin, to produce a fibrillar contraction (super contraction) of keratin and hence functional closure, not histologically evident. This altered keratin is shed weeks later, with the consequent return of ductal patency and sweating.