Metal salts, especially aluminum compounds are used in antiperspirants to prevent sweating. I found out aluminum chloride hexahydrate, which is found in most antiperspirants, undergoes an acid-base reaction with water which causes the proteins to denaturate, thus these proteins are precipitated out as a gel blocking the sweat glands. Additionally, aluminum is able to bind water molecules.
However, I would like to understand the biological and chemical processes in more detail as I am not quite sure why there is no effective alternative to metal salts to prevent sweating. There are many compounds that could undergo an acid-base reaction with water. There are also different metal salts which are able to bind several layers of water.
My specific questions are:
- Which biological and chemical processes underlie the effect of antiperspirants that make metal salts so effective?
- Why are aluminum salts used most commonly?