What Is The Difference Between A Deodorant And An Antiperspirant?

deodorant antiperspirant

The go-to term that we all tend to use is deodorant, which we use for both, however the fact is there is a clear difference between deodorant and antiperspirant. So what is the difference? Well at the base of it, an antiperspirant will stop you from sweating and a deodorant will stop you from smelling.

However this article doesn’t stop there, to dig deeper we will have to dive into the human anatomy a little (don’t worry, we won’t bore you too much).

You have two sweat glands, the eccrine and the apocrine, which are found all over your skin, yet are significantly found under your arm (we’ve found our culprits). The eccrine glands are what the antiperspirant is aiming to stop, as they excrete water and salt (hence, sweat).

Aprocrine glands are the ones deodorant aims to tackle in order to reduce body odour. The reason the smell is built up is because unlike the eccrine glands, these ones excrete proteins and fats. These macro-nutrients combine with bacteria on the surface of your skin which causes that terrible smell.

So Deodorant Doesn’t Stop You From Sweating?

Quite simply, no. If you put on some deodorant and went out for a game of football, you would still perspire. But people might not be able to smell you as much!

Deodorant normally contains ingredients like triclosan, which will work prevent bacteria living on the covered area by becoming too acidic or salty.

It should also be highlighted that if a deodorant has worn off and you plan on re-applying, it is worth quickly washing your underarm, as otherwise you will be applying the deodorant to an already smelly armpit, which won’t work.

So Does Sweat Smell?

No, sweat is completely odourless, which is a surprise for many when they first learn this. As previously mentioned, it is the process of the sweat (containing fats and proteins) combining with and being broken down by bacteria on the skin.

So How Does Antiperspirant Stop Sweating?

The most common ingredients in antiperspirant which are great at stopping sweating is aluminium or zirconium, which dissolve sweat and also produce a soft gel which covers the underarm area and plugs the glands.

Of course, this has produced a large number of media backlash and further studies, as many people believe the aluminium is absorbed directly into your blood stream (due to cuts in the underarm such as from shaving) and could be responsible for multiple diseases such as breast cancer. Other notorious chemicals include parabens.

So Why Do You Use Activated Charcoal?

As the point above suggests, activated charcoal is a natural deodorant, which is free from aluminium and parabens. It is free from phthalates and is also free from fragrances which tend to have a number of nasty hidden ingredients.

Whether you pick the Procoal activated charcoal deodorant or you go for another natural option, we do tend to consider what is inside what you buy and having a read of the ingredients.

What About Deodorant-Antiperspirants?

Nowadays if you head into a shop to pick up some deodorant, this is the generic term used on the packaging, but most are deodorant-antiperspirants, meaning it contains both, so it can tackle body odour and prevent you sweating. You will be able to tell it’s an antiperspirant if you spot aluminium in the ingredients.


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