Does deodorant stop working as we age? We asked experts why we may be sweating and stinking more

Sweat or Stink. Is it worse as we age?

TAMPA - 38 year old Catherine Springer is a medical device sales person who spends much of her day in scrubs talking to busy doctors and medical personnel. The last thing she needs or wants is a wet spot or odor to throw her off her game. "It's summertime in Florida and as the heat index goes up so does my body temperature. I noticed I perspire more."


Ryan Sudol is a radio talk show producer who has his own issues with under arm sweating. "Throughout high school and college and what not it was always a situation that no matter what I used, the regular deodorant or high endurance, it was something I could never get to work. No matter what I did, it would soak through the shirt."


I met both at a local dermatologist's office searching for answers to what appears to be a common problem.  Doctor Catherine Marcum explains, "The main purpose for the type of sweating we are talking about here is it's a thermo-regulatory technique, so it's basically to lower your body temperature if you are somewhere where you are over heating."


Dr. Marcum says emotions can also cause you to sweat. But wetness is a different problem from the body odor that people associate with sweating. "Sweat itself is odorless when it's produced, so its different levels of bacteria on the skin that cause a chemical reaction that causes the odor."


Do sweating and odor get worse with age?  Dr. Barry Verkauf runs The Menopause Clinic at the University of South Florida. "As estrogen levels fall and fluctuate during peri-menopause and menopause, the brain interprets that as an increase in core body temperature and it send signals out to the blood vessels in the skin  to dilate and cause perspiration."


There are ways to tackle the problems of both sweat and odor. Dr. Marcum says, "It's a prescription antiperspirant called Drysol or aluminum chloride. You apply it in the evening along with your regular deodorant. Basically, that forms a complex that blocks the sweat glands, so you don't produce sweat."


The other options are oral medications that decrease sweating. Dr Marcum adds, "There are side effects associated with that. They tend to dry people out all over. You can have dry eyes, dry mouth and urinary retention."


And, she says, if you're an athlete it can diminish your body's ability to cool itself with normal sweating. The latest trend is Botox, which Doctor Marcum says works for localized sweating.


Catherine just wants to stay dry, so she's trying it. 


Ryan learned about underarm Botox in an unusual way, by trying it live on his radio show. About 50 injections! Has he seen a difference?

"Absolutely, I was working out in the sun the other day and I made sure to wear a grey shirt because I said let's make sure this is working and sure enough it does the trick."


Botox may stop the excess sweating but what about treating that offending odor?  Dr. Marcum says, "Basically it's to reduce the bacteria count on the skin, so it does not transform the sweat into something that produces the odor. So, it's using antibacterial solution, wipes or a wash."


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