Deodorant vs Antiperspirant: Difference and Comparison

A major thing we need during scorching heat and summers are to avoid the sweaty smell. Deodorant or antiperspirant is a great way to curb this sweaty feel and smell.

Their function might as well be similar or even the same, but some differences exist.

Key Takeaways

  1. Deodorants are personal care products that neutralize or mask body odor caused by the bacterial breakdown of sweat without affecting the amount of sweat produced.
  2. Antiperspirants are personal care products that reduce or prevent sweat production by temporarily blocking sweat glands, which can also help control body odor.
  3. While both products aim to address body odor, deodorants focus on neutralizing the smell, and antiperspirants target the source of the odor by reducing sweat.

Deodorant vs Antiperspirant

Deodorant is a product used to control body odour caused by bacteria that feed on sweat. Deodorants contain fragrances and antimicrobial agents to mask and reduce body odour. Antiperspirants control excessive sweating (perspiration) by temporarily blocking sweat glands. Antiperspirants contain aluminium compounds that form a gel-like substance to plug sweat ducts and reduce the amount of sweat produced. Some antiperspirants also contain fragrances and deodorants to provide additional odour protection.

Deodorant vs Antiperspirant
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Both are skin care products with almost the same functions but different purposes. Deodorant aims to cover the smell of sweat, whereas Antiperspirant aims to reduce sweat production.


 

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonDeodorantAntiperspirant
MeaningDeodorant is a skincare product which masks the odour of sweat.Antiperspirant is a skincare product which reduces the production of sweat.
PurposeDeodorant aims to cover the smell of sweat and not reduce the creation of sweat.Antiperspirant aims to reduce sweat production; some also cover any residual smell.
Bacterial GrowthMost deodorants cover the smell caused by the bacteria and do not affect their growth, except some do both.Antiperspirants inhibit bacterial growth, and this happens as it reduces the PH level and moisture in the concerned body part.
SafetyDeodorants are considered safer because they only cover the smell and don’t hamper the body’s natural processes.Antiperspirants are considered less healthy than deodorants because they stop and hamper the natural cooling down process of the body, which happens when sweat is released.
Working MechanismDeodorants perform their function by neutralising the smell of sweat and portraying an antiseptic action against the bacteria.Antiperspirants mainly work through closing, clogging or blocking the sweat glands’ pores by using powerful astringents such as aluminium salts to prevent them from producing sweat.

 

What is Deodorant?

A deodorant is a skincare product widely favoured to cover or mask the smell of sweat and comes in several fragrances.

Their primary task is to cover the odour of sweat or other secretions, especially in areas like the armpits, groin, feet and, sometimes, vaginal secretions.

They are considered a part of the category of cosmetics and are mainly available at all cosmetic and pharmaceutical stores.

They come in different ranges concerning the period till which it works. For instance, some deodorants may provide freshness and fragrance for 24 hours, others for 12 hours and so on.

Deodorants contain ingredients that help control bacterial growth and cover the smell they produce. However, such deodorants also reduce the number of bacteria in the concerned body parts.

It is a general perception that deodorant chemicals may be harmful to the skin and cause several diseases like Breast Cancer, allergies or kidney problems.

Even though specific sources say that these are true, famous and credible organizations like the American Cancer Society have maintained that these allegations do not have established scientific grounds.

Deodorant
 

What is Antiperspirant?

An antiperspirant is similar to a deodorant in that they both are skincare products, and their purposes are associated with sweat and controlling or covering it.

However, in a literal sense and unlike a deodorant, an antiperspirant’s purpose is not to cover the smell of sweat but to prevent its production. In other words, antiperspirants aim to cover the sweat glands and stop sweat production entirely.

This occurs because the aluminium salts in the antiperspirant create a gel-like substance on the skin where it is applied.

The gel covers and blocks the skin’s pores through which sweat is released. This way, they prevent the production of sweat.

Apart from that, it is believed that deodorants and antiperspirants are not precisely dangerous to use in terms of the diseases they might cause. This is because such claims are without a scientific base.

It is believed that antiperspirants hamper one of the body’s natural processes. Since it prevents sweat from getting produced, it hinders the natural cooling down process of the body.

Antiperspirant

Main Differences Between Deodorant and Antiperspirant

  1. Deodorants’ purpose is to cover the smell of sweat in the concerned part of the body. Antiperspirants have the aim of clogging the pores for the prevention of sweat production entirely.
  2. While all antiperspirants control bacterial growth by clogging the pores, most deodorants do not do so. Their primary aim is to mask the odour of sweat.
  3. As previously mentioned, it has been established that deodorants and antiperspirants are not precisely the cause of harmful diseases. Still, even then, deodorants are considered safer than antiperspirants because they do not hamper the body’s natural processes, i.e., sweat production.
  4. They have distinct working mechanisms. Deodorants perform their functions by neutralising the smell of sweat, while antiperspirants work by blocking the pores through which sweat is released.
  5. For the record, antiperspirants can be used on a larger range of body parts, for instance, where sweat would be inconvenient. Deodorants cannot be sprayed or applied everywhere.
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References
  1. https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/3608580
  2. https://drarmpit.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Callewaert-2014-Deodorants-and-antiperspirants-affect-the-axillary-bacterial-community.pdf

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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