Here’s a big question for you. Do you know the difference between antiperspirants and deodorants?
If yes, then you deserve a medal. If no, congratulations, you just won a front-row ticket to my Tedtalk today.
Both antiperspirants and deodorants are very common words we hear every day. In fact, they are used interchangeably to describe anything you roll, rub or just place under your arm (armpit).
But there’s more, there’s a difference. You probably may be using the wrong one for the wrong situation and complaining that it doesn’t work.
Well, it wouldn’t, because, antiperspirants and deodorants serve different purposes.
As a matter of fact, there’s a key difference between antiperspirants and deodorants.
So, continue reading to find out.
What is Antiperspirant?
Antiperspirants are used to reduce sweating and perspiration in the body. They not only reduce body odor, but they stop sweat altogether.
Antiperspirants are formulated with aluminum chloride and other aluminum compounds which aid to block the opening of sweat glands known as sweat ducts.
More so, from the name “Antiperspirants” one can easily tell that the “anti” shows that it is against perspiration.
The FDA classifies antiperspirants as a drug because they prevent sweat formation (which is a natural biological body function).
According to Kiran Mian, a dermatologist in New York, “Antiperspirant is ideal for those who want to decrease wetness or feel they sweat more than usual.”
Typically, sweat is how your body regulates its temperature. As moisture evaporates from your skin, it cools the body down.
Sweating is a natural human phenomenon. However, some people suffer from a condition known as “hyperhidrosis,” which is a condition where an individual sweats more than usual.
People with this condition often go for over-the-counter or prescription antiperspirants that can help control sweating.
If you want to control your sweat for the next 24 hours, it’s advisable to apply antiperspirant at night before bedtime to block sweat ducts.
How to use antiperspirants
Like I mentioned earlier, the FDA classifies antiperspirants as a drug, because it temporarily blocks the sweat ducts to prevent you from sweating.
Hence, while applying it, you need to be careful.
Here are a few tips for better results;
- Apply antiperspirants in the night, immediately after showering (when you’re dry) before going to bed. Due to the potent nature of antiperspirants, it’s best to apply it at this time as the substances need time to set in. Applying it right before you head out wouldn’t do the trick.
- When applying to other areas asides from the underarms, try gently patting or massaging antiperspirants.
- Most antiperspirants have up to 48-hour protection. So or else you really sweat a lot, there’s no need t apply another during the day.
The major ingredient that makes a substance antiperspirant is that it contains aluminum.
Types of aluminum commonly used in antiperspirants are; aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex glycine, aluminum hydroxybromid, aluminum sulfate, and sodium aluminum chlorohydroxy lactate.
While other natural ingredients such as; hops, mineral salts, hazel, baking soda, and talc may reduce sweat, aluminum is the major ingredient recognized by the FDA to actually reduce sweat.
So, when you go to buy an antiperspirant and you see a label saying “Aluminum-free antiperspirant,” It isn’t an antiperspirant. In fact, there is no guarantee that it’d stop sweat.
In general, no aluminum, no antiperspirant.
Which is the best antiperspirant?
There is no one ultimate best antiperspirant. because, as long as it contains alcohol, and reduces sweat, it basically does everything an antiperspirant should do.
More so, antiperspirants are available in different forms, ranging from aerosol sprays, sticks, creams, gel, to roll-on or solid sticks.
So, when choosing an antiperspirant, opt for one that is effective at reducing sweat and preventing pit stains.
In addition, here are some factors to consider
- Primary ingredient: Most antiperspirants contain aluminum chloride as the main ingredient. Look at its percentage to determine if the product suits you.
- Strength: Check the labels – there’s a difference between extra strength, clinical strength, and prescription strength.
- Your sweat levels: Consider how much you sweat or when you’re prone to sweating before buying antiperspirants.
N/B: If you workout, and want to keep sweat at the minimum, then a regular drugstore antiperspirant will do just fine.
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But, if you have hyperhidrosis, then a prescription-strength antiperspirant will do just fine. (Remember to speak to a doctor about excess sweating)
What is Deodorant?
Deodorants are substances designed to eliminate underarm (armpit) odor but not perspiration itself.
Although deodorants do not stop sweating the way antiperspirants are designed to, they still work to control the odor associated with sweating.
Now, don’t get it wrong, sweat itself doesn’t have an odor. However, the body odor occurs as a result of the bacteria that break down sweat.
Typically, deodorants are alcohol-based and work by making your skin acidic, which in turn makes it less habitable to the bacteria that cause odor.
Depending on the type of deodorant you use, your deodorant may allow sweating but help prevent body odor.
So, if you don’t have a problem sweating too much, you can go ahead to use deodorants.
The best time to apply deodorants is in the morning on clean, dry skin. It lasts for about 24 hours.
How to use deodorant
To get the best results, deodorants should be applied directly to the underarms.
If you battle body odor, then you should focus on using deodorants to control the odor.
Some people suggest that deodorants can be applied to other areas of the body prone to odor. But we strongly advise against this.
Instead, go for safer options like applying baby powder to areas apart from the underarm that requires attention.
Here are a few tips to use deodorants properly;
- Firstly, apply deodorant after showering (make sure you’re dry first) or before you go to bed when you aren’t prone to producing much sweat.
- While you can still apply deodorants the next day, there’s really no need. But if you insist, apply a few swipes. there’s no need to be heavy with it.
- Deodorants come in different scents. So be sure to choose one that isn’t harsh on your skin, and perfectly suits you. You can opt for fragrance-free deodorants if you’re really sensitive.
The ingredients contained in deodorants are what differentiates them from antiperspirants.
Typical deodorants contain antibacterials and fragrances that help to reduce underarm bacteria and mask body odor.
The most commonly used ingredient in deodorant is alcohol. This is because it creates an acidic environment on your armpit that prevents the action of bacteria that leads to odor.
Other ingredients included are;
- Baking soda
- Coconut oil
- Cetyl Alcohol
- Hydrolyzed corn starch
- Propylene glycol
- Activated charcoal
What is the best deodorant?
There are lots of deodorants available in the market, ranging from household brands to natural, and chemical-free options.
Due to its large volume in the market, it can be hard to find one that suits you.
But it’s important that you know that deodorants are not a one-size-fits-all solution. This means that what works for your friend may likely not work for you.
So, when buying deodorants, check the ingredients and be sure it’s something that is comfortable on your skin.
How Deodorants and Antiperspirants Work
Deodorant removes body odor by inhibiting the growth of bacteria on your skin.
It’s a common misconception that sweat smells; it doesn’t. Sweat is a clear, odorless liquid. Your sweat starts to smell when naturally-occurring bacteria on your skin break down the proteins in your sweat.
Deodorant works by creating an acidic environment on your skin, which then prevents bacteria from building up on your skin.
While Antiperspirants stop you from sweating underarm using aluminum salts.
Aluminum salts create a thin layer of gel that sits on top of your sweat glands. This temporarily blocks your sweat glands and significantly reduces the amount of sweat that seeps through.
The best time to apply Antiperspirants is before you start sweating.
What is the difference between Antiperspirants and Deodorants?
Although many people assume that deodorants and antiperspirants are interchangeable names for the same product, it is important to know that there is a difference between the two.
The main difference between deodorants and antiperspirants is that deodorants contain fragrance and alcohol that helps to fight against odor caused by bacteria on the skin.
While antiperspirants contain aluminum that aids in significantly reducing sweat.
For this reason, deodorants are best for those fighting odor, while antiperspirants are best for those fighting excess sweat.
Despite its difference, antiperspirants are still marketed as deodorants because the word “deodorants” is a general term.
Antiperspirant Deodorant Combos
Luckily, nowadays you don’t have to choose between the two. Many antiperspirants also serve as deodorants.
Antiperspirants are often combined with deodorants to help block both moisture and odor.
This means that you can get rid of sticky and bad smells while still controlling how you sweat.
Antiperspirant deodorants most often come in the form of a stick, spray, or roll-on. So, choose which form best suits you.
Antiperspirants Health Issues
The aluminum contained in antiperspirants have raised questions over the years.
There’s a concern that if the skin absorbs these aluminum compounds, they can affect the estrogen receptors of breast cells.
However, according to the American Cancer Society, there’s no clear link between cancer and the aluminum in antiperspirants because:
- Breast cancer tissue doesn’t appear to have more aluminum than normal tissue.
- Only a tiny amount of aluminum is absorbed (0.0012 percent) based on research on antiperspirants containing aluminum chlorohydrate.
Other research indicating that there’s no connection between breast cancer and underarm products includes the following:
- A 2002 study of 793 women with no history of breast cancer and 813 women with breast cancer showed no increased breast cancer rate for those women who used deodorants and antiperspirants in their armpit area.
- A smaller-scale 2006 study supported the findings of the 2002 study.
- A 2016 systematic review concluded that there’s no link between increased breast cancer risk and antiperspirant, but the study also suggested there’s a strong need for further research.
The major difference between antiperspirants and deodorants is in their ingredients and functions.
While deodorants reduce odor by creating an acidic environment, antiperspirants stop sweating.
So, go for any one that suits your need.
All the best!