What is the Difference Between a Deodorant and an Anti-Perspirant?    RSS

Posted September 2023
Written by Jamie Barrows

Staying fresh throughout the day is one of the key aspects that our personal care items allow us. When it comes to tackling odor, two of the most popular items we reach for are deodorants and antiperspirants. Do you know what the difference between these two products is, though? And do you know which one is right for you? Understanding those differences can help you make more informed and personalized decisions when browsing the personal care aisles.

Deodorant: The Odor Eliminator

The easiest way to remember what deodorant does is to look at the word: de-odor-ant. There are two significant functions of deodorant: to mask or neutralize odor and to prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria. It does this by including ingredients like coconut oil or eucalyptus because they smell terrific and are known to prohibit the growth of underarm bacteria. In addition to well-known naturally derived ingredients like these, deodorants also sometimes use alcohols or antimicrobial agents to hinder bacteria growth.

Fun Fact: The FDA classifies deodorant as a cosmetic because it is meant to "
promote attractiveness" but it could also be considered a cleansing or beauty product.

Deodorants are popular for individuals who want to address body odor without interfering with the body's natural sweating process.

Antiperspirant: The Sweat Eliminator

On the flip side, antiperspirants are considered an over-the-counter drug by the FDA because they affect a natural process of the body: sweating. Antiperspirants use aluminum salts to prevent the process of sweating altogether. They work by blocking your pores. So, wherever you apply the antiperspirant, you stop the sweat from penetrating the outer layers of your skin. With less sweat, you also promote a drier environment – meaning there is less chance for odor-causing bacteria to grow.

Suppose you are someone who sweats excessively or wishes to stay dry in a heated situation, such as exercising or participating in sports. In that case, an antiperspirant might be the personal care product you're looking for. Another popular option to consider is trying a combo product that is both an antiperspirant and deodorant. There are many options to choose from, making it easier to find the right choice for you.

The Choice is Yours
It is important to note that while antiperspirants are considered safe by the FDA, some consumers are concerned about the frequent use of aluminum. That fact has led to an increase in the number of natural deodorants available on the market. Some natural deodorants include ingredients like arrowroot powder to help absorb wetness and mimic the benefits of antiperspirant without physically clogging your pores.

You may need to play around, trying different deodorant or antiperspirant brands or formulations if you have specific preferences or skin sensitivities. The difference between a deodorant and an antiperspirant lies in their focus – deodorants primarily tackle odor, while antiperspirants address sweat production. By understanding their mechanisms of action, you can make an informed decision to keep feeling fresh and confident throughout the day.