Your Guide to Armpit Dress Shields, Garment Guards and Sweat Pads

Fighting armpit sweat can feel like an uphill battle. There are hundreds of products on the market that claim to curb your underarm sweating or conceal it from the outside world, including armpit dress shields, garment guards and sweat pads.

But these products don’t work for everyone, and you could easily spend thousands of dollars on failed products and solutions before finding a solution that works.

In this post, we'll talk about the difference between armpit dress shields, sweat pads and garment guards, and share how each of these products hold up against heavy armpit sweat and axillary hyperhidrosis.

How Sweat Pads, Dress Shields and Garment Guards Differ

Sweat pads, dress shields and garment guards each have distinct features. It's important to understand the differences so you can find the best option for your needs.

Sweat pads and other detachable shields are designed to absorb sweat and block the appearance of sweat marks and yellow stains that form when aluminum-based antiperspirants and sweat make contact with fabric. They differ in how they connect to your clothing, whether they can be washed, and their overall shape.

Here are some of the main distinctions.

Sweat Pads

Sweat pads are adhesive cotton pads typically intended for one-time use. 

To use a sweat pad, stick the pad to the underarm area of your clothing (or directly to your armpit, depending on the product). Remove the sweat pad and dispose after a single use.

Because these sweat pads use adhesive, they can leave a permanent sticky residue on your shirts. When experimenting with adhesive sweat pads, it’s best to test the adhesive on a small, inconspicuous area if possible or avoid wearing them with expensive materials.

Sweat pads are not for everyone. If you sweat excessively in your armpits or suffer from axillary hyperhidrosis, the heavy moisture could loosen the sweat pad. Sweat pads can also cause irritation, rashes and skin darkening, so they're not recommended for people with sensitive skin.

Armpit Dress Shields

Like sweat pads, armpit shields are also cotton pads that soak up armpit sweat before it leaks through to your shirt. Dress shields are intended to be reusable, and are typically less irritating than sweat pads.

While some dress shields have an adhesive strip, most dress shields must be pinned, clipped or sewn into your clothing, which can make inserting them difficult. Some armpit shields can be washed and reused, but disposable adhesive options are also available.

To learn how to make DIY dress shields, check out this article.

Garment Guards

These protective barriers typically do not require pins or adhesive to secure to your clothing. Instead, they include straps that fasten around the arms, chest and/or torso (unlike dress shields and armpit pads).

Some garment shield options for women also include a vest-like undergarment or bodice that covers the bra for added sweat protection. Garment shields come in short sleeve and regular sleeve options.

Garment guards are often visible through your shirts. And although garment guards are intended to be more secure, they only have straps holding them in place, which can fall down.

They also require readjusting throughout the day to make sure they’re completely covering the armpit area. For best results, use additional pins or securing methods to prevent them from moving during everyday activities.

How Sweat Pads, Dress Shields and Garment Guards Hold Up to Sweat

For light sweaters, dress shields, sweat pads and garment shields can block the appearance of sweat marks and prevent against yellowing.

Although these products come in different levels of absorbency, I’ve found that armpit pads and shields don’t work for people with axillary hyperhidrosis like myself — even the pads intended for heavy sweaters. They’re difficult to wear, you’re constantly adjusting them and overall can be a pain.

Sweat pads are not a long term, sustainable solution to axillary hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating.

A Better Solution for Heavy Underarm Sweat

Armpit dress shields, garment guards and sweat pads aren’t the only options. Garment guard manufacturers also recommend a suite of other products, such as armpit wipes, multiple different shields and sweat pads, or prescription antiperspirant. We know it can be overwhelming to manage axillary hyperhidrosis.

Luckily, you don’t need to spend a ton of money on products to combat your sweat. If you don't like the idea of sweat pads or shields, and are looking for sweat proof clothing that has an integrated sweat barrier, Thompson Tees may be right for you.

Sweat proof Thompson Tees feature a patented Hydro-Shield underarm barrier that traps moisture and releases it as vapor. No sweat marks, yellow stains or fiddling with sweat pads — just a light, breathable undershirt that's easy to wear and helps you with your confidence. Try a Thompson Tee for men or women risk-free today!