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I Won The Battle Against Underarm Sweat Stains For Under 15 Dollars

If you've ever been scared to raise your arm in public because of sweat stains, then you'll want to read this.

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Andrew Richard for BuzzFeed

Hi, I'm Mathew, and I sweat. A lot.

Instagram: @mathewjedeikin

I'm super self-conscious about how much I sweat, and I often find myself avoiding certain articles of clothing or activities because of it.

I pretty much live in T-shirts and tank tops, but whenever I do have to wear a button-down shirt, I live in constant fear of the dreaded armpit sweat stain.

It always seems like within five minutes of putting the shirt on, I'm no longer able to raise my arms. Oh, how I wish there were a convenient solution!

Andrew Richard for BuzzFeed

I recently tested four different products designed to help reduce the appearance of sweat stains, all of which can easily be found on Amazon.

1) Disposable underarm shields2) A regular undershirt3) Reusable shields4) Clinical-strength antiperspirant wipes
Mathew Jedeikin for BuzzFeed

1) Disposable underarm shields

2) A regular undershirt

3) Reusable shields

4) Clinical-strength antiperspirant wipes

To test each product, I went for a 15-minute run, each time with a fresh shirt. I then compared the resulting sweat stains with my control shirt and scored each one on a scale of 1 to 5 arm-raising emojis.

My main focus was to score based on the actual appearance of armpit sweat stains. However, I also considered things like ease of use, and whether or not the product being tested was visible through my shirt.

Now, obviously, I don't normally go for runs wearing long-sleeve, button-down shirts. I mean, in what world would a person do that?

Trust me, I got plenty of weird looks, but I wanted to get really sweaty to give these products the ultimate test.

Andrew Richard for BuzzFeed

So, yeah. This is what inevitably happens every time I wear a fancy shirt (without any sweat protection besides my regular deodorant).

Which is why, like I mentioned before, I prefer tanks tops and T-shirts.
Mathew Jedeikin for BuzzFeed

Which is why, like I mentioned before, I prefer tanks tops and T-shirts.

In case you didn't know: Deodorant and antiperspirant are actually different things!

Apparently antiperspirants use aluminum to block sweat from reaching the skin, whereas deodorants are designed to mask or kill scent-causing bacteria. A lot of products have both antiperspirants and deodorant elements, but not all of them do — so make sure to check the label.

The deodorant I currently use does seem to contain both antiperspirant and deodorant ingredients, but clearly it isn't doing enough!

Andrew Richard for BuzzFeed

The first product I decided to test were these disposable underarm shields that adhere to your shirt.

Mathew Jedeikin

I was dubious, though. The guy and girl on the package seem too happy. They don't seem sweaty and awkward whatsoever.

Here's what the actual shields look like. You remove the adhesive covers then attach them to the armpit of your shirt.

Mathew Jedeikin

Which was easier said than done.

And here's how the disposable shields held up after my run:

I was pleased to see that the shields did block the sweat, but disappointed that you could totally see the shields through my shirt. Maybe if I had worn a darker shirt they would've been less noticeable?But honestly, that would've defeated the purpose. I mean, when I wear a black shirt, sweat stains aren't really visible anyway, so there'd be no need for a shield.
Mathew Jedeikin for BuzzFeed

I was pleased to see that the shields did block the sweat, but disappointed that you could totally see the shields through my shirt. Maybe if I had worn a darker shirt they would've been less noticeable?

But honestly, that would've defeated the purpose. I mean, when I wear a black shirt, sweat stains aren't really visible anyway, so there'd be no need for a shield.

All things considered, I gave the disposable shields a score of 2 arm-raised emojis.

Yes, they blocked the sweat. But they were awkward to use and were visible through my shirt. So I probably won't be using them IRL.
emojipedia

Yes, they blocked the sweat. But they were awkward to use and were visible through my shirt. So I probably won't be using them IRL.

Andrew Richard for BuzzFeed

I was excited about testing the undershirt. It's simple. It's familiar.

Mathew Jedeikin

But would it work?

Here’s how the undershirt held up after my run:

Although reduced, the undershirt didn't entirely prevent the appearance of sweat stains.
Mathew Jedeikin for BuzzFeed

Although reduced, the undershirt didn't entirely prevent the appearance of sweat stains.

Yup, I literally sweat right through the undershirt.

Also, I couldn't help but feel warmer while wearing the undershirt. It was almost as if the extra layer of fabric made me even sweatier.

Unfortunately, my simple undershirt didn't score very well.

Only one arm-raised emoji because I was still left with a visible sweat stain.
emojipedia

Only one arm-raised emoji because I was still left with a visible sweat stain.

Andrew Richard for BuzzFeed

Even before removing the packaging, I was suspicious of these shields. Like, it's hard to trust anything designed to collect sweat that can then be reused.

Mathew Jedeikin

Sounds kinda weird, right?

They were also tricky to put on. I literally had to tape them to my chest and back so they stayed secure, which I guess makes sense as they came with a "sample" strip of body tape.

So technically in order to reuse them you'd need to buy more tape. Kinda misleading, right?
Mathew Jedeikin for BuzzFeed

So technically in order to reuse them you'd need to buy more tape. Kinda misleading, right?

Here’s how the reusable shields held up after my run:

Skepticism aside, the reusable shields totally blocked the appearance of armpit sweat stains (despite the fact that I was super sweaty everywhere else). Plus, they weren't visible through my shirt!
Mathew Jedeikin for BuzzFeed

Skepticism aside, the reusable shields totally blocked the appearance of armpit sweat stains (despite the fact that I was super sweaty everywhere else). Plus, they weren't visible through my shirt!

Although they weren't visible, I could totally feel the shields.

They weren't painful or anything — more like generally awkward to wear.

I gave the reusable shields a score of four arm raising emojis, because awkwardness aside, they actually worked!

They might have gotten a perfect score if they were easier to use, i.e., didn't involve body tape.
emojipedia

They might have gotten a perfect score if they were easier to use, i.e., didn't involve body tape.

Andrew Richard for BuzzFeed

The final product I tested was these antiperspirant wipes.

Mathew Jedeikin

The instructions said to apply them after an evening shower so that they could "safely form a block in your sweat glands."

Apparently — or, well, according to the packaging of these wipes — our sweat glands are less active while we sleep.

So after a long day of testing, I went home, showered, and dabbed my underarms with the wipes. Then, the next morning I put on a fresh shirt and went for another run.

Here’s how the antiperspirant wipes held up:

They didn't really make much of a difference at all. Womp womp.
Mathew Jedeikin for BuzzFeed

They didn't really make much of a difference at all. Womp womp.

I gave the wipes the lowest possible score, zero arm-raised emojis.

Because yeah, they didn't work.
emojipedia

Because yeah, they didn't work.

Andrew Richard for BuzzFeed

Reusable shields are the way to go!

They may have been awkward, but you know what, the reusable shields worked! I mean, I probably won't make a daily habit of wearing them under my T-shirt, but next time I have to dress up nicely, I can totally see myself going for the reusable shields.

Disposable shields will also reduce sweat stains, but only consider them if you're wearing a dark shirt.

If the shirt isn't dark enough, then the shield may still be visible, which sort of defeats the purpose.

There are more aggressive options, if nothing works for you.

Fortunately, I don't have to worry about sweat stains much on a day-to-day basis. But if you do, and you aren't satisfied with the results of shields or over-the-counter antiperspirant, then talk to your doctor about more aggressive options. They may recommend prescription-strength antiperspirant, or even Botox injections to reduce sweat.

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