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Deodorant Vs Antiperspirant – What’s The Difference?

Deodorants and antiperspirants are among the widely used cosmetic products today. Considering these products are applied on daily basis, it is essential that consumers understand the differences between them. The major difference between deodorant products and antiperspirants lie on the ingredients used to make them, how they work, and the potential effect they have on your body. These products are aimed at eliminating the body odor.

How deodorants and antiperspirants work

Antiperspirants help prevent you from sweating while deodorant products kill the bacteria that act on the proteins and fats contained in sweat, and mask your underarm smell with fragrances. Deodorants and antiperspirants come in all sorts and forms including sticks, roll-on, aerosols, gels, and non-aerosol sprays. When the body is hot, nervous, active, or stressed, the sweat glands are stimulated leading to production of more sweat.

Sweat evaporates from the skin, and through this perspiration process, it absorbs energy heat in body thus cooling it down. The odor released on the skin such as the armpits is as a result of bacteria action on the waste released through sweating. The body has two types of sweat glands, which are eccrine and apocrine. While the former helps in controlling body temperatures, the latter is the culprit behind the bad smell experienced in armpits.

Eccrine glands excrete only water and salts, and are not responsible for the body odor. Aprocrine glands on the other hand, carry secretions of proteins and fats from within the body along with sweat, and release them on the skin surface. When bacteria act on the fats and proteins, they create the unpleasant odor.

Sweating triggered by emotional stress may be a problem because the amount of sweat is more than that released due to other body activities such as muscle heat-up from exertion during hot weather. Emotional sweating may create a situation where there are more proteins and fats for the bacteria to feed on hence greater body odor.

Ingredients in deodorants and antiperspirants

Most of the antiperspirants contain aluminum salts, which helps in creating a thin coat of gel that blocks the spores or covers over sweat glands. Antiperspirants dissolve in sweat and form a coat, which reduces the amount of sweat released on the surface of your skin. Antiperspirants consist of complex mixtures of largely inorganic polymers that are commonly referred to as salts.

Two types of salts in antiperspirants are aluminum-only salts and aluminum-zirconium salts. On the other hand, deodorant products help in controlling the body odor. They are made up of ingredients such as antimicrobials and alcohol, which help in killing bacteria found on the skin surface to prevent bad odor.

Deodorants do not prevent the release of sweat but instead, they are made with antiseptic agents, which destroy the odor-causing bacteria found on skin surface. Deodorants also contain fragrances that mask the bad smell.

Potential effects on body

Sweating is an integral thermoregulation process that helps cool the body. Besides, sweating helps in cleansing the body of some wastes. Through antiperspirants, the spores of the skin are blocked to prevent the release of sweat to the surface. This may impair the natural process of cooling the body or release of wastes to the surface.

Conversely, deodorant products allow sweating to take place but act on the bacteria responsible for the breakdown of proteins and fats contained in the sweat thus preventing the bad smell. This implies that deodorants allow the body to continue with its natural perspiration process without interfering with it.

David Tipakov