What Is The Difference Between Deodorant and Antiperspirant?

What Is The Difference Between Deodorant and Antiperspirant?

What Is The Difference Between Deodorant and Antiperspirant?

Have you ever wondered: What is the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant?  I’ve been countless times into Walmart to buy a new deodorant and found many different labels.

Some were labeled as deodorant, others as an antiperspirant, and yet others labeled with both words.  I could not figure out the difference between all these.

I always thought that it was the same.  How wrong was I.  After doing some research to figure out the difference, I finally understood that there is big difference.

Why Do We Need These Products?

In order to understand the difference between antiperspirants and deodorants, we need to understand the sweating process a bit better.  Let me explain.

Most of us do sweat!  Either we relax in a sauna, we exercise, work in the hot sun, temperatures are warm, we are nervous, and many more.  And we think sweating is disgusting because our clothes get all wet, we have to carry a towel around to dry our head, face, and arms, but most of all, we think it is yukky because we stink when we sweat.

But did you know that sweating serves a purpose?  It does.  We sweat because that is the only way our body can control its temperature.  With every drop of sweat, heat is taken along, which reduces our body temperature.

Also, when we get nervous or when we panic, our body “calms” our nervous system through sweating.  Isn’t that wonderful?

But yes, sweating can be yukky and disgusting, which is why we use deodorants and antiperspirants.

Another thing we need to understand is that we have 2 types of sweat glands in our body: The eccrine and apocrine sweat glands, which both have a specific function.

The first ones, the eccrine glands act as a cooling system to maintain body temperature.  They are located all over your body.  When your brain thinks it is getting hot and your body needs a regulation, these glands kick in by producing a watery solution to help the body to cool down.

The second ones are located in your armpits, palms, feet, perineum, and forehead.  They are located deeper underneath the skin than the eccrine glands and they transpire through hair follicles.  These glands produce a thicker liquid that carries all kinds of proteins and fats, on which bacteria feasts.  The apocrine glands, together with bacteria are responsible for the terrible odor of sweating.

And because of the latter ones we use deodorants.  Let me explain that a bit further in the next section.

What Are Deodorants?

Deodorants contain perfumes and antibacterial substances that fight sweat odor that your armpits make.  They do not fight any sweating; if you put on deodorant and go play soccer, you will perspire in your armpits.  Fats and proteins are being secreted through your skin by the apocrine sweat glands.  While these mix with the bacteria living in your armpits, the bad odors come along.

Deodorants kill the bacteria before you start to perspire, so when fats and proteins travel out to your skin, no bacteria is found that can feast on it and no stinky smell is produced.  After your soccer game, you should not be smelling bad because of heavy sweating.  Triclosan is a well-known active ingredient in deodorants due to its antifungal and antibacterial properties.

Therefore, deodorant is solely there to fight sweat odors, but not to reduce sweating.

What Are Antiperspirants?

Antiperspirants do not fight off odor, but they reduce or stop sweating through active ingredients such as aluminum (the most common and effective ingredient).

The active ingredients block the sweat ducts temporarily.  Sweat is being produced, but it cannot be secreted to the skin since the ducts are blocked.  Until the epidermis renews, sweat glands function normally again.

Antiperspirants are most effective when put on just before bedtime when underarms are completely dry and clean.  It does not help to put on an antiperspirant just before the soccer game.  That needs to be done the night before.

There are many forms of aluminum and other salts (like zirconium) that are effective in treating sweating.  Antiperspirants come in different strengths.

Around 5% of Americans suffer from a condition called primary hyperhidrosis in which the sweat glands are not only triggered by higher body temperature, but due to foods, nervousness, and other unknown triggers.

In some cases, patients will need a clinical strength antiperspirant that has a higher amount of aluminum in order to stop sweating heavily completely.

People that do not have this condition will do with regular antiperspirants to reduce sweating since their sweat glands are commonly triggered by higher body temperatures.

Are Deodorants and Antiperspirants Safe?

There has been debate over the safety of deodorants and antiperspirants.  Research that was done in the 1950’s claimed that certain doses of aluminum and zirconium and other salts used in both deodorants and antiperspirants cause breast cancer and Alzheimer’s.

However, other studies have refuted these claims by saying that our intake of aluminum through food is higher and that is of no concern to FDA, wherefore small amounts of these minerals and salts should not be of worry to anybody.

Newer research also claims that previously made claims about animals tested to the effects did not provide conclusive evidence that they are harmful.

Whatever is right or wrong from these claims, you need to know that our skin was designed to fight off toxins and our skin can do that very well.

High levels of sodium and other salts come out of your pores when sweating, which is why we know that our body works toxins off.  How could it not manage small amounts of other salts and minerals?

Take your precaution and make sure you know what is best for you.  In my case, I overdo neither deodorants nor antiperspirants because I prefer to shower more frequently than putting on too many chemicals on my skin.

However, I need both because I am a sufferer from primary hyperhidrosis and that can be very uncomfortable.  You can read more about my story here.


What is the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant? Very simply said: One stops sweating and the other keeps bad odors out.

If you found this article helpful, don’t forget to leave me a comment below. Ask me a question you had regarding the topic discussed here, or experiences you have had or just thoughts that are going through your mind while reading.

Also, if you think others could benefit from reading this, feel free to share via social media.

Ready To Make a Change Now?

OscarHi, I have been sweating excessively for the better part of my life.  I looked for solutions for well over a decade, but I never found anything that lasted.

I had given up hope and accepted to live the rest of my life being embarrassed with ugly sweat stains in my armpits.

However, after a few years of not searching for any solutions anymore, I gave it another shot.  And I found what finally gave me the freedom I had longed for so many years. 

Now, I don’t worry about sweat stains in my armpit anymore, nor do I have to change up to 4 times daily.

Read more about my story here!

Want to learn more about what I did?  Find out below!

My Recommendations

Recommendation #1

SweatblockA clinical strength antiperspirant is one of the first things I recommend to people that sweat excessively in their armpits because you can stop your sweating completely.

Sweatblock is a product I have used successfully for years now and it has proven effective every single time I apply it correctly.  The best I have gotten out of it are 7 days, but some people report to have been sweat-free for 10 days.

This product has saved me from many embarrassing situations!  Instead of having to hide the stains in my armpits minutes after taking a shower, I can now lift my arms as much as I want and no sweat will show.  Not one drop of sweat for many days!  

To know for how many days it will work on you, you have to try it out yourself, as it varies anywhere between 4-10 days.

Click For More Info!


Recommendation #2

thompson teeAnother thing that I always use after finding out about such a great product is a sweat proof undershirt.  I wore undershirts every single day before I found out about the Thompson Tee but they never helped.

Since I sweat so much in my armpits, I was immediately sweating through.

The Thompson Tee has a patended think sweat pad sewn nicely into the armpit.  I do not sweat through nor do I have had leaks in the past few years of wearing these.  They are so comfortable and leave me completely dry on the outside.  When I forget to put on Sweatblock, I have the Thompson Tee as a backup as I always wear one.

Could not recommend it more to anyone sweating excessively.  With a large variety of undershirts for both, men and women, you will find your perfect life-saver.

Click For More Info!

About Oscar

I am the founder and director of Stop-Sweating-Now.com and have been researching and writing about hyperhidrosis for many yearOscars.

It all started when I was around 14 years of age, when I suddenly found out that I was sweating more in my armpits than I should.  At first I thought it was something that would go away soon, but I was wrong.

After finding a solution to my problem, I decided it was important to shout out my message to those that are suffering from what I had lived with so many years.

My goal is to help people find their freedom from sweating by sharing my expertise because hyperhidrosis is an underdiagnosed condition.  People don’t know that it is a medical term and can be treated effectively.

That is why I am here: Sharing with you what I know, what works and what does not work.

6 thoughts on “What Is The Difference Between Deodorant and Antiperspirant?

  1. interesting, ive always wondered the difference between anti-perspirant and deodrant, i never knew that it was actually the bacteria feasting on us that causes the odour! so are anti-perspirants otherwise known as ‘bodysprays’?

    1. Kourtney,

      I am glad I could clear the concepts up for you. Anti-perspirants are not necessarily bodysprays. If you look on most deodorants, it will say deodorant antiperspirant. That means that the product has both: ingredients to fight off odor and to reduce sweating. If you look for antiperspirants only, you will find that they do nothing with the odor, but just sweat reduction. Does that make sense?

      Thanks for stopping by,

  2. Hi Oscar,

    Another excellent post and I have learned something new today.  I only buy antiperspirant and never deodorant.  A friend recently mentioned to me that antiperspirant is not good for your skin.  It can block the pores and cause pimples under your arms.  Is that true?

    The antiperspirant works for me.  I don’t sweat excessively and it last me the whole day.  Would you suggest I rather use both.  The one during the day and the other at night?

    Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. Hi there,

      thanks for stopping by and leaving me a comment!  I don’t see why you would use antiperspirants if you do not sweat very much.   Antiperspirants stop your sweating and deodorants just kill bacteria living in your armpits.  

      Antiperspirants and deodorants can build up over time and clog your pores, but I like to exfoliate them once in a while.  However, it is more deodorants that build up than antiperspirants.  

      It is true that pimples are often due to clogged pores, but that is often because of not exfoliating your skin, and also often because you do not sweat very much.  The more you sweat, the better your pores are free to let sweat out.

      It all depends how bad your sweating is.

      Also, using on in the morning and one in the night is not necessary.  If you sweat a lot, you will want to apply a clinical strength antiperspirant once a week or so, but deodorant every morning.

      Hope this helps,


  3. Hey i really enjoyed this article , it was very informative.  Luckily i already knew what the difference was because i use both of them and i knew they were different.  But some people may not know especially if they are just starting out using it for the first time.  Keep the good articles coming!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top