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Difference between antiperspirants and deodorants

Though their names are often used interchangeably, deodorants and antiperspirants play very different roles in combating body odor and reducing sweat. A common myth is that sweat is responsible for body odor. Underarm body odor is caused by a combination of fat and protein in your sweat mixing with bacteria on your skin. Deodorant contains antibacterial agents which help to reduce the odor the bacteria produces. Meanwhile, antiperspirants contain aluminum salts which temporarily plug the pores, subsequently reducing sweat.

5 Things to Know About Antiperspirants and Deodorants
  • Deodorants are designed to mask odor, not block sweat.
  • Antiperspirants are designed to prevent sweat by clogging the pores, not necessarily to stop odor. Don’t be alarmed – nature simply and safely redistributes the perspiration to other surfaces of the skin.
  • For best practices in managing both excessive sweating and odor, use a combination of antiperspirant and deodorant.
  • Neither antiperspirants nor deodorants have been proven to be linked to cancer.
  • So-called sweat stains may actually be caused by antiperspirants or deodorants when they are applied improperly, rather than by actual sweat. After application, wait for the product to absorb into the skin and dry.