Sweat is a fact of life—or as board-certified dermatologist Dr. Sheilagh Maguiness puts it, "a completely normal function that serves to help cool and maintain our body temperature." Even so, overproducing it can be unpleasant, smelly, or potentially embarrassing.
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Dr. Maguiness says some people do, in fact, perspire more than others: "This is known as hyperhidrosis, a dermatologic condition affecting up to 4.5% of the population." Whether it happens all the time, in humid weather, or only when you work out, the extra moisture in your underarms could lead to chafing, rashes, or staining your favorite shirts.
But luckily, there's a solution. "Armpit pads are primarily meant to absorb excess sweat and prevent it from soiling clothing," Dr. Maguiness says. They can also help keep odors at bay and minimize uncomfortable rubbing between your skin folds.
We conducted hours of research on the best armpit pads on the market, evaluating each on material, shape, size, and absorbency. We also looked for any extra features like color (because you'll be wearing these under clothes). After consulting with a board-certified dermatologist and considering dozens of models, we landed on these picks.
Ahead, find the best armpit pads for sweat protection.
Best Overall: PURAX Underarm Pads
Absorbent and breathable
Locks in moisture
Tricky to remove
If you want to say "See ya" to stains and "Ciao" to chafing, Purax Underarm Pads are where it's at. They're made of soft, super-absorbent fleece with excellent breathability. This allows air to pass through while quickly soaking up moisture and locking it into the inner layers. The self-adhesive design goes directly onto your skin (as opposed to your clothes) and applies like a band-aid.
Each pad is about 4 inches long and 2.5 inches wide, with a butterfly shape that fits into the contours of your armpits without affecting your range of movement. We appreciate that they come in brown in addition to white to be more discreet on darker skin tones. The extra-sticky backing ensures they don't come off during the day. That said, it works almost too well in that it can be tricky to remove.
Material: Fleece | Size: 4 x 2.5 inches | Quantity: 30
What Our Experts Say
"One easy thing to help with excessive armpit sweating is to make sure you're using an antiperspirant rather than a deodorant. An antiperspirant will help to reduce sweating by blocking your sweat glands, while a deodorant only helps to reduce odor." — Dr. Sheilagh Maguiness, Board-Certified Dermatologist
Best Value: Cleaneat Large Disposable Underarm Sweat Pads
Absorbs sweat and odors
May leave lint on shirts
Not suitable for silk or wool
This affordable 100-pack from Cleaneat is a great choice for those who need daily protection. These armpit pads are meant to attach to your clothes, soaking up sweat, absorbing odors, and keeping yellow stains off the fabric.
The strong adhesive helps prevent them from shifting around or falling out. But just a heads up, the white cotton material might leave lint inside your shirts. Also, the brand says not to use them with silk or wool clothing.
Material: Cotton | Size: 5.5 x 4.5 inches | Quantity: 100
Best Absorbency: Sirona Disposable Underarm Sweat Pads
Quickly soaks up moisture
Works on all fabrics
Tricky to remove
These disposable sweat pads are made of a special nonwoven paper that soaks up a surprising amount of moisture. Beyond the exceptional absorbency, they promise to save you from embarrassing stains and odors.
The single-use design has a sticky backing that attaches to any type of fabric, though the adhesive is so strong it can be hard to pull off. Still, we like the beige hue, which is a little more discreet than stark white pads.
Material: Nonwoven paper | Size: 4.5 x 4 inches | Quantity: 24
Best Skin Adhesive: Spenco 2nd Skin Adhesive Knit Blister Protection Tape
Soft and flexible
Strips may need trimming
Not the most absorbent
Spenco 2nd Skin is meant to attach directly to your skin. These soft, flexible pads are made of a nonwoven fabric designed to minimize the rubbing and friction that causes chafing.
While they're not the most absorbent option, the breathable material and medical-grade adhesive are designed to hold up during sweating, swimming, or bathing. Also, since each sheet is 6.5 by 4 inches, you might need to cut them in half to fit your armpits.
Material: Nonwoven fabric | Size: 6.5 x 4 inches | Quantity: 6
Best Moleskin: Dr. Scholl’s Moleskin Plus Padding Roll
Can be cut to any shape or size
Not technically for armpits
Not the most absorbent
Thin yet heavy and notably soft moleskin is ideal for preventing painful friction (and ultimately chafing) caused by excess sweat. Dr. Scholl's Moleskin Plus is a flannel-like cotton material that provides soft cushioning and flexible protection while creating a barrier between your underarms and clothes.
Though it's not technically designed for armpits, you can cut whatever size or shape you need from the roll and stick it on. Since this isn't the most absorbent option, you may still want to wear deodorant.
Material: Moleskin cotton | Size: 24 x 4.5 inches
Best Garment Shield: Garment Guard The Original Cotton Disposable Adhesive Underarm Shields
Soft and breathable
Two colors available
High price per count
If your main concern is staining your favorite clothes, Garment Guard might be your best bet. These disposable oval-shaped pads are made of soft, breathable, absorbent cotton.
They're about 5 inches long and 3.5 inches wide, with little slits on the sides for a more contoured fit. Available in beige or black, they create a comfy barrier between your sweaty armpits and favorite shirts. The price per pad is kinda high, but other than that, no complaints.
Material: Cotton | Size: 5 x 3.5 inches | Quantity: 10
Purax Underarm Pads are our top choice. We appreciate the contoured butterfly shape, breathable material, and fast-acting absorbency that locks in sweat. But if you're looking for a slightly better value or prefer sheets that attach to your clothes, go with Cleaneat Self-Absorbing Underarm Pads.
What to Look for When Buying Armpit Pads for Sweat Protection
As Dr. Maguiness explains, underarm sweat guards "typically have an absorbent pad and adhesive to stick to the skin and hold them in place." However, they're not all created equal. Some are made of soft fleece or cotton, which are generally breathable with excellent absorbency.
Some pads are made of nonwoven paper (similar to menstrual pads). These materials also do a good job soaking up sweat. You'll also find moleskin and nonwoven fabric options, which aren't the most absorbent, though they can help minimize chafing while creating a stain-preventing barrier between your armpits and clothes.
Size and Shape
When browsing underarm pads, note the size. You want them to be large enough to provide adequate protection but not so large that they're uncomfortable or hard to conceal. Additionally, curved designs—whether an oval, butterfly, or snowman shape, for lack of a better description—will fit more easily into the contours of your armpits or the folds of your shirt.
Skin vs. Clothing Attachment
There are two main types of armpit pads for sweat protection. Some are meant to stick to your clothes, while others are designed to go directly onto your skin, like a bandage. The choice is mostly a matter of preference, though the kind that goes on your skin gives you the freedom to wear sleeveless shirts.
However, Dr. Maguiness warns that the adhesive can sometimes be painful to remove (again, like a bandage). "It may leave a sticky residue after removal and could potentially cause an irritant or allergic contact dermatitis in the affected area," she tells Byrdie.
What are the benefits of using armpit sweat pads?
According to Dr. Maguiness, the main benefit of using armpit pads is that they absorb sweat and odors. "They technically work to save your clothes from staining," she says, "but they don't stop you from sweating."
Beyond stain prevention, Dr. Maguiness says, "Hyperhidrosis can be socially embarrassing and negatively impact quality of life." Underarm pads may also help reduce uncomfortable (or potentially painful) rubbing, as well as chafing, rashes, and bumps.
How do you use armpit sweat pads?
Sweat pads are applied either directly to your skin or attached to your shirt. The former works like an adhesive bandage, so all you do is peel off the backing and smooth it onto your armpit. The latter is more like a menstrual pad—just remove the backing and press it onto the corner hem (armpit area) of your shirt or dress.
Can you reuse armpit sweat pads?
Generally speaking, no. While there are some washable and reusable designs, most armpit pads are single-use, disposable sheets. One should get you through a day, and you can toss it in the trash once you remove it.
Meet the Expert
Dr. Sheilagh Maguiness is a board-certified dermatologist. She is also an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School Department of Dermatology and the co-founder of Stryke Club.
Why Trust Byrdie
Theresa Holland is a commerce writer and product reviewer specializing in personal hygiene and cosmetics. For this story, she interviewed a board-certified dermatologist for insight into the causes and solutions for excessive sweating, then researched reliable, user-friendly underarm pads. Having dealt with the uncomfortable effects of increased sweating during hot, humid Oregon summers, she has tried pads from Purax and Purax. You can read more of Theresa's stories on People and Travel + Leisure.
Cleveland Clinic. Chafing. Health Essentials. Updated Jul. 19, 2022.
Knapik, Joseph & Reynolds, Katy & Barson, John. (1997). The Influence of Antiperspirants on Foot-Blister Incidence Following Road Marching. 57.