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Praise be: The FDA just approved wipes to stop your armpit sweat—but are they healthy?


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Photo: Stocksy/Leandro Crespi

Scorching summer weather has so many picture-perfect moments to offer (outdoor activities! beach reading! watermelon pizza!). But unfortunately, warm temps also bring a plight that’s a total drag on and off camera: sweaty pits. Folks for whom all-natural deodorant just isn’t doing the trick may be interested to know that the FDA recently approved Qbrexza Cloth, a topical prescription medication designed to prevent sweat. But before you rub it around the swamp of BO where the sun don’t shine (AKA your armpits), there are a few things to know about how the product can affect your overall health.

Publicly available starting in October, the medicated wipes “block sweat production by inhibiting sweat gland activation,” according to a press release from Demira, the company marketing the product. One wipe within 24 hours is the prescribed dose, and the press release notes that the product should not be applied to other sweaty areas such as your forehead, lower back, or the nape of your neck. Additionally, the drug comes with a list of side effects (as they all do), including heat stroke in hot temperatures—so if you swipe on the topical, make sure you pay extra-close attention to your body on those simmering summer days.

The main chemical ingredient in the wipes is glycopyrronium, which dries out the body, according to integrative health expert Tasneem Bhatia, MD, author of Super Woman Rx (who goes by Dr. Taz). “Topically, there are few studies that show it is safe to use for hyperhidrosis, or extreme sweating, that does not respond to traditional antiperspirants,” she tells me. And, to put things in perspective, about 10 million people in the United States suffer from hyperhidrosis, specifically in their underarms, according to Demira.

“It is always a debate between living functionally and minimizing chemicals—for hyperhidrosis or sweaty palms, this may be a great option. Otherwise, it may be best to wait for more studies to come out.” —Dr. Taz

In deciding whether this prescription is right for you, Dr. Taz recommends remembering that life is all about striking a balance in your wellness goals. “It is always a debate between living functionally and minimizing chemicals—for hyperhidrosis or sweaty palms, this may be a great option,” she explains. “Otherwise, it may be best to wait for more studies to come out.” She also points out as food for thought that in Eastern medicine, sweating is considered to be the best form of detoxification (and anyone who’s attended a hot yoga class can confirm some of the shvitzing benefits). And, any product that blocks the lymphatic system, which helps rid your body of toxins, could prevent your body from doing its job properly.

Since Qbrexza won’t hit the market for a few more months, you have plenty of time to carefully consider your options and talk to your doctor. But whatever you decide, do yourself a favor and ponder the thought from the comfort of a cooling pool.

ICYMI, underarm detoxes are a thing now, and so is armpit masking.

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