What Is The Difference Between Deodorant and Antiperspirant? Your Ultimate Guide To Deodorants And Antiperspirants.

Last updated on April 9th, 2019 at 04:00 am

what is the difference between deodorant and antiperspirantHave 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.

Are you looking for a great deodorant?

Click image for details

Check out Underarmed (full product review here), a 100% natural deodorant for men, women, youth, and even children, without any specific indications for safety.

My wife has used this product for quite some time already and she loves it.  It was very easy for her to switch from synthetic to natural deodorants and she will most likely never look back.

This product lasts very long because you apply just a very small amount each time because you can easily get a rash on sensitive armpits.

Would you like to switch to an organic and natural deodorant?  Try Underarmed NOW!  You will not regret it.

You can also check out a list of 10 best deodorants for men and women.

Are you looking for a great antiperspirant?

Click image for details!

Check out Sweatblock (full product review here), a product that will reduce sweating in your armpits for up to 7 days.

This is a clinical strength antiperspirant that was made for those that sweat excessively in their armpits and would like to prevent those ugly sweat stains from showing up on their clothes all the time.

I first started using this product back in 2016 and it has not disappointed me once!  Every time I apply this product exactly like it says in the instructions, my sweating stops completely for a few days, most of the times for up to 7 days.  However, that is different for everybody.  You should be able to forget about sweating anywhere between 4 and 10 days.

Would you like to have your long-sought-for sweat-freedom?  If so, try Sweatblock today and feel the amazingness of dry armpits!  You will love this product, I guarantee.

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.

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Author: Oscar

Oscar has suffered from excessive underarm sweating for more than half of his life. He struggled for many years with social anxiety because of the embarrassing sweat marks that he always had on his shirts. Nothing helped. He thought he would have to live with this condition for the rest of his life. After years of struggling and even giving up on searching for solutions, he found a solution to his problem. Now he wants to help people around the world who suffer from hyperhidrosis by informing his readers about their condition and showing them what to do about their problem.

6 thoughts on “What Is The Difference Between Deodorant and Antiperspirant? Your Ultimate Guide To Deodorants And Antiperspirants.”

  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!

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