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© 1981 Society of Cosmetic Chemists
Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, Vol. 32, No. 3, 107-136

The mechanism of antiperspirant action by aluminum salts. II. Histological observations of human eccrine sweat glands inhibited by aluminum chlorohydrate
Richard P. Quatrale , Don W. Coble , Karla L. Stoner , Carl B. Felger



Human forearm biopsy tissue containing eccrine sweat glands which had been inhibited from firing by the occlusive application of aluminum chlorohydrate (ACH) were examined histologically. The objective of the study was to determine the presence and site of action of the antiperspirant within the sweat gland as a prerequisite to understanding its mechanism of action. Transmission electron microscopy studies of ACH-treated eccrine sweat glands revealed that just as the duct leaves the stratum granulosum, and then as it passes through the stratum corneum to the skin surface, its lumen is completely filled with an electron-dense amorphous material. Similar material was frequently observed in the duct at the upper layers of the viable epidermis, and in a few instances at the level of the basal layer of the epidermis. However, it was found as deep as the upper dermal layer only once. This emphractic material is believed to consist of ACH or one of its reaction products and thought to be responsible for sweat gland inhibition. Alternatively, untreated sweat glands were always patent and devoid of comparable material. Fluorescence microscopy studies of morin dye-stained biopsy tissue revealed substantial fluorescence, indicating the presence of aluminum within the sweat gland duct at the level of the stratum corneum. Occasionally, fluorescence was also observed within the duct at the level of the stratum granulosum. Anatomically, the aluminum present within the sweat gland, as demonstrated with morin dye, was at the same site as the electron dense amorphous material demonstrated with TEM studies. Fluorescence was never observed in untreated sweat glands.

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© 1981 Society of Cosmetic Chemists
Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists