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  5. Antiperspirant Vs. Deodorant: What’s Best For You?

Are you spoilt for choices between antiperspirants and deodorants? Are you unable to decide which one will be best suited for you this summer? Even though both categories of products aim at keeping you fresh and odour free all day, they are not exactly the same.

Keep reading to know all about antiperspirants and deodorants, what they contain, how they work and most importantly which one will suit your needs the best.

What Is An Antiperspirant?

‘Perspiration’ or sweat is one of the body’s primary mechanisms to cool itself. Chemicals that lower or prevent sweating are known as antiperspirants. [1] These are commercially available in the form of roll-ons, aerosols or topical powders.

Aluminium salts are the most common ingredients that act as antiperspirants. Aluminium chloride or aluminium chlorohydrate are the most used components in commercially available antiperspirant formulations. Aluminium zirconium is used in antiperspirants for sensitive skin.

The antiperspirant agent works by forming a plug near the hair follicle. This prevents sweat from being secreted or lowers the level of perspiration. Experts therefore recommend applying antiperspirant on the night before, when there is minimal sweating. This gives an opportunity for the antiperspirant to settle in and not be washed off before it can start working.

It should be enough to use an antiperspirant once in a day. Do not apply antiperspirant on wet skin.

What Are Deodorants?

Formulations of deodorants work by eliminating the bacteria that causes body odour. [2] Sweat per se, has no smell itself. But the moisture and nutrients provided by sweat, makes the folds of your body, like the armpit region, the breeding ground for bacteria. This is responsible for the stench associated with sweat.

Deodorants have antibacterial agents as well as fragrances to keep you fresh. Most deodorants last for 24 to 48 hours. You may reapply deodorants as and when required. These come in the form of aerosols or roll-ons.

Comparing Antiperspirants Vs. Deodorants





Active ingredients include aluminium salts such as aluminium chloride, Aluminium chlorohydrate, zirconium salts, etc.

Have antibacterial ingredients such as triclosans, parabens along with perfumes.

How it works

Antiperspirants react with the sweat to form gels. This plugs the sweat ducts and prevents sweating. [3]

Antibacterial agents in deodorants kill the body odour causing bacteria, while the perfume masks the body odour.

How to use

Apply on dry skin, preferably a couple of hours before you step out or do an intense physical activity. This gives antiperspirants time to act before you start sweating.

You can apply deodorants as and when required. Apply on clean, dry skin. It is better to apply deodorants in the evening rather than in mornings for better results.


Prevents sweating, helping you to stay fresh all day.

Allows sweat, but masks the stink associated with it. Sweating helps cool you off naturally in hot weather conditions..


Aluminium salts may cause irritation or allergies, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Aerosol forms of deodorants may have alcohols, which can burn the skin if used inappropriately.

May contain phthalates, fragrances which can have negative health effects. [4]

After care tips to prevent skin damage

Do not use on wet skin. Apply moisturiser to minimise skin damage. It is better not to use it right after shaving, or if you have a cut or injury on the skin.

If you are using an aerosol spray, hold the can a few centimeters away from your armpit and spray only the required amount to prevent burning.

Common aspect

Both categories of products aim to make you feel fresh all day.


Who should use it?

If you sweat profusely or sweating interferes with your day to day work you may prefer to use an antiperspirant.

If you are mostly indoors and just need something to stay fresh, a deodorant may be a good choice.

Who should not use it?

Aluminium salts can affect kidney functions and should not be used by people prone to kidney diseases.

Do not use deodorants if you see rashes or develop allergies to it.

Antiperspirants Vs. Deodorants: Which One To Pick?

As you know now, antiperspirants and deodorants work differently, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. If you do not mind the sweating and just want to smell good, deodorant is the thing for you. Deodorants work well when you are mostly indoors and the weather is not too warm.

If preventing sweating altogether is your goal, antiperspirants are a better choice. These are preferred by people doing intense physical activities or spending long hours outdoors such as sportspersons, hikers,etc. Antiperspirants do not kill bacteria that cause body odour. Some antiperspirant formulations may contain added fragrances to mask body odour. Concentrated formulations of antiperspirants are also available for longer lasting results.

If you have abnormally excessive sweating without any trigger, you may be suffering from a condition known as hyperhidrosis. You can consult your physician who can give you prescription antiperspirants to prevent excess perspiration.

But wait there is a third option too! You may not have to choose at all. There are many formulations available in the market that offer deodorants and antiperspirants in the same bottle. So go ahead and grab one if you do not want to miss on the goodness of both.

Also, choose according to your skin type and don't forget to do a patch test before using a new product. Consult your doctor immediately if you observe any allergies or any other negative side effects due to the usage of these products.

Wrapping Up

Deodorants and antiperspirants are often used interchangeably by many brands. While both products aim at keeping you fresh all day, they work differently. Read the labels and make an informed choice when you buy either one of them. You can also go for products that offer both antiperspirants and deodorants. Do keep an eye out for any negative effects and consult your doctor immediately, if need be.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

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