What’s the difference between deodorant vs. antiperspirant? Learn the main distinctions between deodorant and antiperspirant to decide which one is best for you.
Sweat. It might as well be a four-letter word. No one wants to sweat, but it’s always there, waiting to wreck a romantic evening or important presentation with odor or unsightly stains. But, we’re here to help you prevent stink and sweat! Use this guide to understand the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant to help you decide which one is best for you.
Deodorant is designed to prevent body odor caused by sweating. Antiperspirant prevents sweat by temporarily blocking your sweat glands. So, in a way, the main difference between deodorant and antiperspirant is … sweat.
What is Deodorant?
Deodorant is a product that helps prevent body odor on your skin. Deodorant is typically applied to your underarms to prevent odor from sweat. Depending on the type of deodorant you use, your deodorant may allow sweating but help prevent body odor.
What is Antiperspirant?
Antiperspirant is designed to prevent sweat before it starts. By preventing sweat, antiperspirants help keep your underarms fresh and dry. Antiperspirant works best on clean, dry skin so applying antiperspirant right before you go to sleep can help protect you from sweat the next day.
Deodorant banishes body odor by preventing the growth of bacteria on your skin. It’s a common misconception that sweat smells; it doesn’t. Sweat is a clear, odorless liquid. Your sweat starts to smell when naturally-occurring bacteria on your skin break down the proteins in your sweat. Deodorant works by preventing bacteria from building up on your skin and keeps your personal musk a secret.
Antiperspirants control sweat using aluminum salts. Aluminum salts create a thin layer of gel that sits on top of your sweat glands. This temporarily blocks your sweat glands and significantly reduces the amount of sweat that seeps through. Antiperspirants work best when they’re applied before you start sweating.
Deodorants are often alcohol-based to help them kill odor-causing bacteria. Due to the alcohol in some formulas, you may notice that you may sweat more after applying. Other active ingredients in deodorant may include sodium stearate, sodium chloride, stearyl alcohol, triclosan, cetyl alcohol, dimethicone, hydrolyzed corn starch, propylene glycol, fragrance, and Cyclomethicone.
Antiperspirants are often combined with deodorants to help block both moisture and odor. Common ingredients of antiperspirants include aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, and aluminum-zirconium compounds.
Deodorants and antiperspirants contain many ingredients that help you feel fresh and smell good. The primary function of deodorant is to control odor, not sweat. Antiperspirant is specifically designed to block sweat. Antiperspirants are also good deodorants because the active ingredients are antibacterial and help to reduce sweat, which is broken down by bacteria to form odor. All Ban® products include special ingredients to target the source of odor. When deodorants and antiperspirants work together, they can banish body odor and excess moisture all in one easy application.
Most deodorants recommend reapplying every 24-48 hours. When using deodorant, it’s okay to reapply as needed to stay fresh. Most antiperspirants promote 12 to 48-hour protection, so unless you struggle with excessive sweat, you probably won’t need to reapply throughout the day.
The most effective time to apply antiperspirant is at night. When you're winding down from your day, your sweat glands are less active, your body temperature is lower, and your skin is drier. Applying antiperspirant during this time gives it a chance to soak into your skin and protect you from sweat during the following day. Ban® antiperspirant rolls on clear, stays put without a trace and keeps you smelling fresh all day whereas deodorants may leave behind white residue on your skin and clothes. If you have sensitive underarms, look for a gentle antiperspirant for sensitive skin to prevent irritation.
Depending on your sweat situation, you might prefer a deodorant over an antiperspirant or vice versa. For those who don’t sweat excessively, deodorant would be a good choice. However, if you plan on engaging in activities that cause you to sweat or if you find yourself with uncomfortably sticky armpits every day, antiperspirant is the way to go if you want to stay drier, longer.
Depending on how they’re formulated, many deodorants can also leave a white residue on your skin and clothes. Here’s where antiperspirants come in handy. Antiperspirant goes on clear and prevents sweat stains on your clothes.
Luckily, in today’s world, you don’t have to choose. Many antiperspirants are also deodorants so you can get rid of sticky, icky, and funky smells all at once. Antiperspirants are often combined with deodorants to help block both moisture and odor. So if you want to keep your armpits cool, dry, and smelling fresh, look for deodorant-antiperspirant combos. Antiperspirant deodorants most often come in the form of a stick, spray, or roll-on.
If you notice that you’re suddenly sweating more, have clammy or wet palms, or feel like you sweat way more than the average person, talk to your doctor about clinical antiperspirants. People who struggle with hyperhidrosis (overproduction of sweat) may sweat even when they’re not participating in sweat-inducing activities, such as when they’re sleeping. Clinical antiperspirants provide effective treatment for excessive sweating—so if your sweat is affecting your professional or social life, you may want to try a prescription-strength formula.
Here are a few tips to help you stay fresh and cool, even under pressure: