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Antiperspirant vs Deodorant: Which One Should You Use?

May 13, 2021 5 min read

antiperspirant vs deodorant

Following your daily shower, do you use antiperspirant or deodorant? Many people use them interchangeably, even though the two products serve totally different purposes.

In this article, we’ll tackle the great debate, antiperspirant vs deodorant, and answer these common questions:

  • Which one actually prevents smell and which keeps you sweat-free?
  • Deodorant or antiperspirant? Both or antiperspirant deodorant?
  • In terms of effectiveness, how does antiperspirant compare to deodorant?

Read on to learn about how each product works, the results you should achieve and the best way to apply it.

This post was originally published in January 2020, and was updated in May 2021.

What is Deodorant? How Does it Work?

Deodorant is designed to prevent (or mask) body odor. Body odor typically occurs when the bacteria in your skin mixes with the proteins and fats found in the sweat your body produces. Deodorant neutralizes the threat of odor by killing the bacteria that grows on your skin. By doing so, it takes away the component that mixes with sweat to create an offensive odor.

Deodorant is designed specifically to use on your armpits. There are conflicting opinions whether deodorant is safe to apply to other areas of the body. In which case, body powder may be the safest bet.

What is Antiperspirant? How Does it Work?

Antiperspirant is designed to prevent (or block) sweat. The average body has hundreds of thousands of sweat glands, with a high concentration of glands being located in the armpits, the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Our bodies rely on all our sweat glands to regulate temperature. As such, we sweat for many reasons like physical exertion, heat, emotional agitation, or stress. In some cases, sweating can be uncontrollable and excessive.

Antiperspirants block sweat by plugging the sweat glands. When the aluminum salts found in antiperspirants come into contact with sweat, a gel forms and coats the sweat glands. This gel plugs the glands, reducing the amount of sweat that can be released to the surface.

Many people use antiperspirant and deodorant interchangeably, even though they serve totally different purposes.

Unlike deodorant, an antiperspirant can be applied anywhere on the body affected by sweat: the armpits, back, chest, feet and/or hands.

Deodorant vs Antiperspirant: Which One to Choose

Now that you know how deodorants and antiperspirants work, you may be wondering, should I use deodorant or antiperspirant? To ensure you get the best result, consider the reason(s) you are using the product in the first place.

If your biggest challenge is body odor and you want to neutralize the smell, deodorant is your best option. However, if you sweat heavily or struggle with sweat stains, antiperspirant is your best bet.

If you experience both excessive sweat and body odor, then antiperspirants should be your first line of defense. Because the odor-producing bacteria need sweat to kick off the chain reaction, antiperspirants will keep the sweat – and odor – at bay.

Antiperspirant vs Deodorant - Man Applying Product

What about Antiperspirant Deodorant?

Many people use the terms antiperspirant and deodorant interchangeably. So you may be asking yourself, what is antiperspirant deodorant? It simply is a combination of antiperspirant and deodorant, just like a shampoo conditioner all-in-one product. 

Like the name suggests, antiperspirant deodorant does double-duty by reducing sweat and controlling odor. It has the active ingredients of antiperspirant to block or plug sweat glands, as well as the bacteria-fighting agent and fragrance found in deodorant.

There are several benefits to using antiperspirant deodorant. Instead of having to choose preventing sweat or combatting body odor, you can do both with one product. When you use only one product, you ultimately save money and time. Antiperspirant deodorant products are available in all of traditional forms: spray, roll-on, solid and gel.

People with hyperhidrosis may benefit from using a clinical strength antiperspirant deodorant for excessive sweating. A clinical strength antiperspirant is the strongest product you can purchase without a prescription. This type of product would be even more helpful with the antibacterial agents of a deodorant to prevent odor sometimes associated with hyperhidrosis.

Deodorant vs Antiperspirant - Man applying product

How to Properly Apply Antiperspirant or Deodorant

To get the best performance, be sure to correctly apply your deodorant or antiperspirant. While you may have learned to swipe it on your armpits in the morning while dressing, you may be missing out on receiving the full benefits. Instead, follow these simple steps:

1. Apply Antiperspirant or Deodorant at Night

The best time to apply deodorant or antiperspirant is at night to allow it to set in. If you apply it in the morning, you might start sweating before the product has a chance to take effect.

2. Ensure Your Armpits are Dry

When you apply deodorant or antiperspirant to a wet surface, it is difficult for the product to set into your skin and take effect. Make sure your armpits are completely dry before applying.

3. Apply a Thin Layer of Deodorant or Antiperspirant

Be careful not to over-apply your deodorant or antiperspirant.

  • If using a can, shake thoroughly and spray a short even burst into your armpit from 6 inches away.
  • If using a stick or roll-on, apply two or three strokes to each pit.

4. Allow the Product to Dry before Getting Dressed

Wait a few minutes to ensure that your deodorant or antiperspirant is dry before putting on clothing. If you get dressed while it is still wet, it may be wiped off on your clothing, making it ineffective and staining your clean clothes.

Another tip to get the best performance from your antiperspirant or deodorant is to shave your armpits. This helps the product reach your skin more effectively.

Antiperspirant vs Deodorant - Man Applying Product

Can You Use Antiperspirant & Deodorant at the Same Time?

If you are not convinced that a combination product is right for you, you may wonder if you can use deodorant and antiperspirant at the same time? Yes, you can use two separate products if you feel that is necessary. However, you may wish to follow these tips to assure the best performance of both products.

  • Apply antiperspirant to clean armpits at night. This allows the active ingredients to set in and take hold while you sleep. It also has less chance of being washed away from the sweat your body produces during the day.
  • Apply deodorant after your morning shower. Since your antiperspirant has already set in, it won’t be washed away during your shower. Be sure to allow deodorant time to dry before getting dressed.
  • You may also consider shaving or trimming your underarm hair. This will allow your hygiene products to make direct contact with your skin.

Now that you know the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant, you can confidently select the best product to help prevent body odor or sweat. Many brands offer scented and unscented varieties to best suit your preference. By following our steps for proper application, you can expect to achieve the best results.

If your deodorant or antiperspirant does not provide all day protection, try out an Ejis sweat proof undershirt (buy in our shop or on Amazon). Our sweat proof undershirts are designed to protect your shirts from sweat marks and stains. They are also infused with real silver to help fight odor-causing bacteria.



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