Should You Wear Antiperspirant When Running

Running is a great exercise that offers many physical and mental health benefits. However, a common worry for many runners is the issue of sweat and body odor. One answer to this problem is using an antiperspirant, but is it the right choice for everyone? In this post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of whether we should wear antiperspirant when running and help you decide if it’s the right choice.

What is Antiperspirant and How Does It Differ from Deodorant?

Before we look at the advantages and disadvantages of using antiperspirant during exercise, we need to understand what it is, how it works, and how it differs from deodorant. Antiperspirants are products to reduce or prevent sweating by temporarily blocking the sweat glands.

Antiperspirants vs. Deodorants

While we use antiperspirants and deodorants to combat body odor, they work differently. Antiperspirants focus on reducing sweat production by blocking sweat glands, while deodorants target the odor-causing bacteria that break down sweat. Deodorants do not reduce sweating but can help you smell fresh during your run.

The Pros of When Runners Wear Antiperspirant When Running

There are a few advantages of wearing antiperspirant when running.

Sweat Reduction

Excessive sweating can be uncomfortable and may even lead to chafing or skin irritation. Using an antiperspirant before running can help reduce the amount of sweat produced, making the run more comfortable and potentially preventing these issues. This can be especially beneficial for those who participate in long-distance running or live in hot and humid climates.

Odor Control

Body odor can embarrass many runners, especially during group runs or races. Antiperspirants not only reduce the amount of sweat produced but can also help control body odor. By reducing the amount of sweat available for bacteria to break down, antiperspirants help limit the production of odor-causing compounds. If body odor is a concern, using antiperspirant can help keep you smelling fresh during your run.

Boosting Confidence

Feeling self-conscious about sweat or body odor can affect your running experience. If wearing an antiperspirant helps you feel more confident and comfortable while running, you will likely enjoy your workout and stick to your fitness routine.

The Cons of When Runners Wear Antiperspirant When Running Athlete putting on antiperspirant

We will look at the various disadvantages of wearing antiperspirant when running.

Skin Irritation

One of the worst drawbacks of using antiperspirants is the possibility of skin irritation. Some people experience redness, itching, or rashes from the ingredients in these products, particularly if they have sensitive skin. If you have experienced skin irritation from antiperspirants, avoiding using them while running or seeking gentler, fragrance-free alternatives may be best.

Interference with Natural Cooling Mechanism

Sweating is your body’s natural way of cooling down and maintaining a safe internal temperature during exercise. While the effect of antiperspirants on this process is generally minimal for most people, it’s still worth considering whether you want to interfere with your body’s natural cooling mechanism.

Environmental Impact

The production and disposal of antiperspirant products can hurt the environment. Aluminum mining, a key ingredient in antiperspirants, is associated with habitat destruction, water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, many antiperspirant containers are made of plastic, which can contribute to landfill waste and ocean pollution.

Alternatives to Antiperspirant

If you decide that wearing antiperspirant while running isn’t the best choice for you, there are several alternatives you can consider:


Deodorants are designed to mask or neutralize body odor without affecting sweat production. They typically contain antimicrobial agents that help control odor-causing bacteria. While deodorants won’t keep you dry like antiperspirants, they can still help keep you smelling fresh during your run.

Moisture-Wicking Clothing

Investing in moisture-wicking or breathable running clothes can help manage sweat and keep you comfortable during your workout. These fabrics are designed to quickly pull moisture away from your skin and evaporate it, keeping you drier and cooler. This may reduce the need for antiperspirants and help you stay comfortable without interfering with your body’s natural cooling process. Look for clothing made from polyester, nylon, or merino wool, and avoid cotton as it tends to retain moisture.

Natural or DIY Alternative

Several natural or DIY alternatives are available for those who prefer more natural options or have sensitivities to commercial antiperspirants. Some swear by using baking soda, cornstarch, or arrowroot powder as natural sweat-absorbing agents. Others turn to essential oils or natural deodorant products with ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax.

Good Hygiene Practices

Maintaining good hygiene by showering regularly and keeping your running clothes clean can help minimize body odor during workouts. Washing your workout clothes with a sports detergent or adding white vinegar can help eliminate lingering odors and keep your gear smelling fresh.


The decision to wear antiperspirant while running ultimately comes down to personal preference and individual needs. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons, considering factors such as comfort, skin sensitivities, and personal goals. If you find that wearing antiperspirant improves your running experience, it may be worth incorporating it into your pre-run routine. However, exploring alternative methods for managing sweat and odor may be more appropriate if you experience skin irritation or prefer not to interfere with your body’s natural cooling mechanism.

In any case, the most important thing is to find a solution that works best for you and allows you to enjoy your runs to the fullest. Whether wearing an antiperspirant, using a natural alternative, or investing in moisture-wicking clothing, the key is to feel comfortable and confident during your workouts. With the right approach, you can focus on what truly matters: enjoying the many physical and mental benefits of running.

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