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The difference between Antiperspirant and Deodarant

Which is Better: Antiperspirant or Deodorant?

, by AussiePharmaDirect, 4 min reading time

Do you know that there is actually a difference between deodorants and antiperspirants? No, they are not interchangeable terms for the same product. And yes, it does matter which one you use. Deodorants and antiperspirants are commonly used by people to manage sweat and odour. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, they actually serve different purposes.

But don’t worry - we’re not here to judge. That is why we’ll break down the facts of these products for you so you’ll know what to do the next time you’re on your shopping spree to stock up on your inventory. After all, who has the time to keep up with all the different kinds of products in the market?

Let’s start with the basics…

What is deodorant?

Deodorants are designed to combat the odour of sweat, without necessarily reducing the amount of sweat produced by the body. They work by neutralising the bacteria that thrive in our underarms.

So, what are the common ingredients found in deodorants that make this possible? Let's take a look.

First up, we have the active ingredient, which is responsible for neutralising the bacteria. Most deodorants use either alcohol-based or natural ingredients like baking soda and essential oils. The science of it all is that the sweat produced by our underarms is actually odourless, but when it comes in contact with the bacteria on our skin, it creates an unpleasant smell. These ingredients work by altering the pH of your skin, making it less hospitable for bacteria to grow.

Since deodorants are meant to mask body odour, they are usually formulated with fragrances - natural or otherwise. Because let's be real, no one wants to smell like a chemistry lab (especially when you’re meant to be at an occasion that you should give good impressions for). Whether these fragrances are made synthetically or naturally with the use of essential oils, they help mask the smell, and give us that fresh, clean scent we all love.

While scented deodorants are more common, nowadays, deodorant brands also produce unscented variations to cater for individuals who may be sensitive or allergic to fragrances. Some people may find that the fragrances in regular deodorants irritate their skin, causing redness, itching, or rashes. Unscented deodorants provide an alternative option for these individuals.

What is an antiperspirant?

While deodorants work their magic in neutralising the bacteria that cause odour, antiperspirants take a different approach to tackle the sweat itself. 

In simple terms, antiperspirants help reduce the amount of sweat produced by our bodies. They typically contain active ingredients that block or clog our sweat glands, which in turn reduces the amount of sweat that is released.

One of the most common active ingredients found in antiperspirants is aluminium. Yes, you heard that right. Aluminium compounds, such as aluminium chloride, are effective in blocking sweat glands and reducing the amount of sweat produced in our underarms. These compounds work by forming a temporary plug on the sweat ducts, which prevents the sweat from reaching the surface of our skin.

Other common ingredients found in antiperspirants include fragrance, water, and skin conditioning agents. The fragrance is added to mask any potential odour that may arise despite reduced sweating, while water and conditioning agents help to moisturise and soothe the skin.

Is it better to use deodorant or antiperspirant?

There really is no final verdict as to what you should or should not use because it depends on your needs and preferences. Both products are designed to help control body odour and sweat, but they work in different ways.

While both deodorants and antiperspirants are generally considered safe for use, there has been some concern in recent years about the potential health effects of aluminium exposure from antiperspirants. However, there is insufficient scientific evidence to support these claims, and regulatory bodies such as the TGA continue to deem these products safe for use.

Ultimately, the choice between deodorant and antiperspirant comes down to personal preference and individual needs. If you have excessive sweating, an antiperspirant may be a better option for you. However, if you are concerned about the potential health effects of aluminium exposure, an aluminium-free deodorant may be a better choice. It's important to note that there are also many natural and organic options available for those who prefer to avoid certain ingredients.

Good hygiene practice is important

Good personal hygiene is essential for maintaining good health and preventing the spread of illness and disease. When you practice good hygiene, you help to prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that can cause infections and illness.

Deodorants and antiperspirants can be helpful in controlling body odour and sweat, they are not a replacement for good practices for hygiene. By taking the time to maintain your personal hygiene and following some simple tips for controlling body odour, you can help to keep yourself feeling fresh and confident all day long.


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