Deodorant vs. Antiperspirant: Which One to Use?

What should be your weapon against body odor?

These days, supermarkets and pharmacies offer a wide variety of products that promise to help you combat body odor and sweat issues. Some promise to keep you from sweating altogether, some say they’ll reduce your sweating, and others simply seek to mask the odors associated with body sweat. The claims all of these different products make sound good, but which one actually delivers?

Deodorant vs. Antiperspirant: Which One to Use?

That all depends on what your specific needs are. Do you need a 24 or 48-hour deodorant, or maybe you need something with a heavily perfumed scent? Let’s take a look at the various products and what they offer in terms of consumer needs.

One of the biggest factors for many people is to prevent developing sweat stains on their clothing, or from experiencing noticeable body odor. Let’s take a look at some general types of products below which would address these two main needs.


A regular deodorant aims to mask odors (hence the name de-odor-ant). An antiperspirant also does what it is named for: it keeps you from producing as much, or any, body sweat at the point of application. These products actually shrink your sweat glands over time, meaning that you will sweat less the more you use them. There has been some discussion of potential health risks from the ingredients used in antiperspirants, so you should do your research before you decide to use these products.

By sweating less, you will naturally experience less body odor. Additionally, many antiperspirants are also deodorants, meaning that they will still mask odors with a nice scent while making you sweat less. We will talk about these a little more later on.

How do antiperspirants work?

These products work by forming a thin layer on top of your skin which blocks sweat from exiting the body. The blocked fluid then causes the skin cells surrounding the gland to swell up, causing additional blockage and eventually closing your sweat glands. Antiperspirants will not fully stop you from sweating, but they will make a significant difference. These products are ideal for people who have very active jobs, play a lot of sports, sweat more than the average individual, or work outside in hot weather.

Isn’t it bad for my body to close up my sweat glands?

While some of the ingredients in antiperspirants have been questioned as to their safety, blocking your sweat glands should not pose a significant health risk. If you were to block all of your sweat glands, you’d have a problem. However, you’re only using it on a small area of your body. Because of this, you will not compromise your body’s overall ability to cool itself by using an antiperspirant.

24 and 48-hour Deodorants

These are the antiperspirants that are also deodorants. While it may seem astonishing that a deodorant could work for up to 48 hours, many of these products live up to their claims. If you’re a very active person, they may not last for the fully advertised time.

These products are a mix of antiperspirants and deodorants which means they reduce your sweating while also providing a nice, perfumed scent. They may not be as effective as a pure antiperspirant in terms of sweating less, and this all depends on the amount of active ingredient (aluminum salts) contained in the product.


Normal Deodorants

These products will not keep you from sweating, so you should stick with an antiperspirant if this is the problem you’re facing.

If, however, you don’t have this problem, then a normal deodorant is a good choice. Deodorants mask unpleasant odors using various scents, and some of them contain antibacterial ingredients. It is the bacteria in your sweat that makes it produce an odor, which is why regularly drinking enough water can also reduce body odors. If you’re simply looking to smell better, then finding a nicely scented deodorant will work for you!


So What Product Would Work Best for You?

Basically, you need to decide if you need to:

  1. Reduce the amount of sweat your body produces,
  2. Reduce the amount of sweat your body produces while also masking odor, or
  3. Reduce and mask the smell of body odor.

If you sweat a lot, you may want to go with option 2. This will ensure that you reduce how much you sweat, but still have scents in your product to mask odors. A regular deodorant wouldn’t be a good choice here because it will not reduce the amount of moisture you experience, which can be both embarrassing and uncomfortable.

If you don’t sweat a lot, a regular deodorant will be sufficient. If you sweat a lot, but don’t really have much body odor from it, then a regular antiperspirant will work just fine.

If you have sensitive skin, or you have just shaved your armpits, it’s a good idea to stick with a full deodorant or an antiperspirant or deodorant mix. These products are less astringent than a solid antiperspirant and will feel nicer on your skin.

Are There Natural Methods That Help Control Sweating and Odor?

There are many natural ways that some people use to combat sweating and body odor, but they are usually less convenient. If you would rather avoid over-the-counter products, you can try out the following methods to see how they work for you:

  • Rub half a lime on your armpits at night, let it dry before going to sleep. Wash it off in the morning. The naturally acidic properties of the lime combat odors by killing bacteria in your sweat.
  • Use apple cider vinegar under your arms or wherever you have issues with body odor. It is recommended that you avoid very sensitive areas as the vinegar may cause burning. This works similarly to the lime method by killing bacteria in your sweat.
  • Take baths using essential oils and/or bath salts. Various essential oils can help to prevent sweating over time, and other are good at combatting sweating odors.
  • Take regular saunas. This teaches your body to use its sweat glands more efficiently.
  • Change your diet by minimizing how much meat, salt, sugar, alcohol, and coffee you eat. Increase how many fruits and vegetables are in your diet as well. All of this will result in less body odor, and possibly less sweat
  • Playing sports, much like using a sauna, can also help your body to normalize its sweat production. The more you sweat, additionally, the more your body flushes out the elements that cause your sweat to smell. If you sweat a lot in a sauna, or while playing sports, you will experience less odor when sweating under normal conditions.
  • Losing weight can also help as your body will produce less sweat when it is functioning optimally


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