What’s The Difference Between Deodorant And Antiperspirant?

April 11, 2018

Jelly Bell

What’s The Difference Between Deodorant And Antiperspirant?

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Anybody can stink. We all have body odor. But you should not be worried because it is a natural process that every human goes through. How do human sweat? Why do we produce body odor? Sweating too much or having smelly pits can be very embarrassing. That is the reason deodorant and antiperspirant are introduced to the market.

In this article, we will cover the basic idea of deodorant and antiperspirant and answer the question what’s the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant. At the end of the article, we will show you how to make a natural homemade deodorant. Let’s go!

What is Deodorant? What is Antiperspirant?

In order to know what’s the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant, we will come into looking at the definition of each type of substance, starting with the perspiration process of our body.

Perspiration is your body’s cooling system, which happens when our muscles are working and producing heat, or when our nerves are overstimulated like when we are nervous or excited. In the human body, sweat glands can be classified into two categories: eccrine and apocrine.

The former type of glands can be found all over your body, especially on your forehead, at the palms of your hands, and the soles of your feet, while the latter would be situated at the armpits and your anal and genital regions, and they generally have hair follicle ends rather than pores.

Between the two types of sweat glands, eccrine glands are smaller in size and they are active glands since we are born, compared to apocrine glands which only become active when we reach puberty. Eccrine sweat glands produce sweat that does not have proteins and fatty acids, while apocrine glands make sweat that contains proteins and fatty acids [1].

The substance produced in the process of sweating in your armpits are therefore thicker and yellowish, which is the reason why the stains from underarm sweating appear to be yellow.

The sweat you produce is mostly odorless, but the bacteria on your skin and hair feeds on the proteins and fatty acids, creating an unpleasant odor.

How will knowing the human perspiration system help you learn what’s the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant? Read on!

What is Deodorant?

Deodorant is a substance that we put on our bodies to prevent or hide unpleasant smells of our body
Deodorant is a substance that we put on our bodies to prevent or hide unpleasant smells of our body

Deodorant is a substance that we put on our bodies to prevent or hide unpleasant smells of our body caused by bacteria in the armpits, feet and other areas that can stink. It is usually alcohol-based and it is created to get rid of body odor. The alcohol in deodorants make you sweat more at first, but it also temporarily wipe out the bacteria.

In deodorants, there are active ingredients such as sodium stearate, sodium chloride, and stearyl alcohol. Some deodorants contain antimicrobials such as triclosan. It is a chemical that makes your skin too salty or acidic, hence slowing down the growth of bacteria.

Deodorants may include fragrances or essential oils with the aim to mask the odor. If you are looking for a suitable deodorant to neutralize your strong smell, check out our BEST DEODORANT FOR MEN!

Forms of Deodorants

Deodorants are manufactured in 3 forms:

  • Aerosol spray: They have been manufactured and introduced for a long time. Spray deodorants are very convenient. You only need to spray on the smelly areas, and it will give you a refreshing smell.
  • Roll-on deodorants: This is the second most popular form of deodorants. It will be in liquid form, and you only have to roll the rotating ball at the neck of the container on your armpits to ensure an odor-free day!
  • Deodorant stick: This is the newest type of deodorant. It’s like a thick cream that forms a stick inside the container. You will feel dry and comfortable using this deodorant. Does it long-lasting? Find out at HOW LONG DOES A STICK OF DEODORANT LAST.

Health Effects

Deodorants usually contain alcohol, which can dry out your skin, causing irritation and discomfort for people with sensitive skin. But it shouldn’t be a problem when you have got the BEST DEODORANT FOR SENSITIVE ARMPITS, so check out our article to pick the best one for you!

What is Antiperspirant?

Antiperspirant is actually a subcategory of deodorant. How does it work? Antiperspirant suppresses your body odor by reducing the amount of sweat produced. When you don’t sweat, there will be no smell.

There are some frequently used compounds in antiperspirants: aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, and aluminum-zirconium. These aluminum-based substances combine with your sweat to create a gel substance to plug the pores, preventing us from perspiring. Aluminum salts in antiperspirants make the pores contract and our sweat unable to come to the surface of the skin.

Forms of Antiperspirants

What’s the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant when it comes to forms? Similar to deodorants, there are three forms of antiperspirants produced that are suitable for people’s personal preference:

  • Roll-on antiperspirant: This type of antiperspirant deodorant is designed to work effectively in the area needed as it dries quickly and gives you a silky and clean skin surface.
  • Spray antiperspirant: Using spray antiperspirant is very convenient and quick to dry. Methenamine in this type of antiperspirant can really make a difference in reducing sweating. Make sure to give it a shake before using!
  • Antiperspirant stick: antiperspirant deodorant sticks usually contain moisturizer to make your skin smooth and soft.

Negative Health Effects

What’s the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant in terms of health effects? Some studies show that aluminum can have negative impacts on our health. It is present in most antiperspirants and at high doses, it can do damages to our DNA. However, many studies have shown that there is not enough evidence against the bad effects of aluminum [2].

Another harmful effect of antiperspirants is said to be breast cancer because they contain parabens, a chemical additive. However, there are no direct relations between antiperspirant products and breast cancer.

If you think you should go for antiperspirant without aluminum, take a look at our article BEST ALUMINUM FREE DEODORANT FOR MEN.

What’s The Difference Between Deodorant and Antiperspirant?

The Difference Between Deodorant and Antiperspirant

To learn what’s the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant, you should take a look at this video:

The FDA classifies deodorants as cosmetics, while antiperspirants are classified as drugs. Why is it the case? In our opinion, it is because deodorants only neutralize the odor of your perspiration process and kill the bacteria in the underarm areas with triclosan, whereas antiperspirants work by blocking the pores that excrete sweat with aluminum compounds.

What’s worth mentioning here is how the difference between deodorant and its subcategory antiperspirant affect us. Antiperspirants interfere with the process of sweating while deodorants only eliminate bacteria and hide the stinky odor. For this reason, it is preferable for people who do not have excessive perspiration to use deodorants. Your body needs to sweat so that it can cool down and remove toxins and waste from the sweat.

Deodorants are considered to be safer than antiperspirants because they do not keep you from sweating – a natural cooling method.

IngredientsSodium stearate, sodium chloride, stearyl alcohol and triclosanAluminum salts: aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, and aluminum-zirconium
How they workEliminating the bacteria fermented during perspirationCreating a gel-like substance to clog the pores to control the sweating
SafetyRelatively safer but contains alcohol that can dry your skinAre said to be related to breast cancer, aluminum toxic risk and interfere with natural perspiration

When to Use – Deodorant vs. Antiperspirant

Understanding what’s the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant will help us decide which one we should choose to control our body odor.

Understanding what’s the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant will help us decide which one we should choose to control our body odor.
Understanding what’s the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant will help us decide which one we should choose to control our body odor.

No one wants to have embarrassing big sweat rings, so if you are the type who sweats a lot, go for antiperspirants. Take a look at our article BEST DEODORANT FOR MEN WHO SWEAT A LOT.

If you don’t sweat much and only worried about the bad odor, you just need to use deodorants.

So deodorant and antiperspirant are different! But how much of deodorant is enough? Find out at HOW MUCH DEODORANT SHOULD I USE!

How to Prevent Body Odor Naturally

Besides knowing what’s the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant is important, there are other factors that are affecting the body odor that you should know.

Dietary Changes

Every one of us has our own smell, decided by genes, health and hygiene. And what we eat also plays a role in what our body odor smells like. Try to cut down these foods to reduce your odor [3]:

Foods Including Sulfur

Foods that have sulfur, namely broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower can make your pits smellier. Garlic and onions also contain sulfur, too!


People that have a vegetarian diet are reported to have a more pleasant body odor than people that eat meat. Eating meat can make your body produce a more intense smell.


Alcohol, when consumed, will be metabolized in your liver into acetic acid. But not all of it is. Some of the alcohol you take in is excreted through sweat and respiration.

Shower Daily

Even if you know the answer to what’s the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant and decide to use either one of them, the important thing is keeping yourself clean! Regular showering with an antibacterial body wash can inhibit the bacteria from growing and reduce the strong body odor.

A Homemade Deodorant for You

Baking soda is widely used to reduce bad odor: you can clean your face, your house, and you can make deodorant with it! Here is a helpful recipe to make effective homemade deodorant.

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • Several drops of antibacterial essential oils like lavender or peppermint

How to do it:

  • Mix the dry ingredients together in a jar
  • Add the essential oil
  • Close the lid and shake to blend
  • When use, sprinkle on a damp clean cloth and pat on armpits
Homemade deodorant


Q: Why do antiperspirant deodorants contain aluminum?

A: As an active ingredient, aluminum can limit the amount of sweat you are producing.

Q: How do aluminum salts work?

A: Aluminum salts, when reacting with your sweat, will create gel plugs to block the pores that you sweat from. Using aluminum antiperspirants will make you sweat less and keep your underarms dry and clear.

Aluminum salts wear off gradually after friction with clothes and your natural skin cell renewal.

Q: Is aluminum dangerous?

A: The FDA has publicly announced that OTC antiperspirants are generally safe. However, people with kidney dysfunction should consult their doctor before using antiperspirant containing aluminum. Aluminum use should be restricted to a limit, and you should only purchase from trusted brands [4].


Sweating and body odor is something that we always want to hide, and learning about what’s the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant helps us choose the best type for usage. Both deodorant and antiperspirant aim to prevent the bacteria causing the odor from developing, but they work different ways and meet different needs of people.

That’s it! We are excited to hear from you, so comment down below your opinion. Hit the button LIKE and SHARE if you find this article useful for you!

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