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In hot, humid conditions, exercisers usually drip with sweat as their bodies attempt to dissipate the heat generated by intense activity. Many exercisers, self-conscious of the puddles forming around them, use antiperspirants to reduce the sweating. The active ingredients in most antiperspirants are metal salts, usually those of aluminium. The metals are thought to reduce sweating by seeping into the pores of apocrine glands (sweat glands responsible for body odour) where they combine with proteins and plug the exit from the gland. Deodorants are often added to the metals to mask sweaty smells.

Antiperspirants are mostly innocuous, but some varieties can cause hypersensitive people to develop uncomfortable side-effects. In the USA, antiperspirants are classified as medicines and tested for safety. Common side-effects, such as rashes and skin irritation, are usually minor and easily treated. However, you should not use antiperspirants on broken skin because of the danger of blood poisoning. Contrary to popular belief, most antiperspirants do not seem to affect temperature regulation.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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