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What to Do When Your Deodorant Doesn't Work

November 23, 2020 5 min read

deodorant doesn't work

Have you ever experienced that embarrassing situation when your deodorant stops working? No matter how much you apply, you still catch a whiff of body odor whenever you raise your arm. More confusing is when it is a product you've successfully used for years. Sadly, your deodorant will most likely fail you at some point. It could be a result of the product you’re using or a change in your body chemistry. Keep reading for our tips on what you can do when your deodorant doesn’t work.

Deodorant vs. Antiperspirant

If you switched, or intend to switch, from antiperspirant to deodorants (or vice versa), you need to understand the differences between the two.

While antiperspirants may prevent you from sweating, it doesn’t necessarily protect you from body odor. On the other hand, deodorants actually protect your armpits from smelling. Your sweat on its own does not smell. It contains proteins, fats, and other waste products. When these interact with bacteria on your skin, it causes that part of your body to smell. The more bacteria that is produced, the greater your risk of experiencing body odor.

The aluminum salts in antiperspirants plug the sweat glands to prevent them from producing too much sweat. Conversely, deodorants rely on alcohol or fragrance to neutralize or mask body odor. Using a deodorant antiperspirant combination product is your best bet for tackling both odor and sweat. 

What Makes Deodorant Work

When bacteria act on the fat and protein produced by your body when you sweat, certain chemicals are produced. These chemicals cause sweat to smell. Most deodorants rely on Triclosan to stop bacteria from multiplying. It works by making the underarms too salty for the bacteria to survive so they are unable to act on the constituents of your sweat. Deodorants also contain alcohol and/or fragrance to mask odors. Other chemicals, such as phthalates and parabens, help to make the fragrance last longer.

Why Is My Not Deodorant Working?

Perhaps you’re not using the right formula. Or what if your deodorant stops working with your body chemistry? Here are some common reasons why your deodorant may not work.

Wrong Formula

With so many brands of deodorants available, you may be using the wrong formula. Understanding what your deodorant contains and how it works will help you choose the deodorant that works best for you. Unfortunately, the best way to figure out the best product is to actually use it for a few months. Your body will let you know if it needs a different formula. If you encounter problems with odor and sweat, consider trying out a deodorant antiperspirant combination product.

To help you find a great new product, we’ve compiled a few lists of top-rated deodorants.

Not Strong Enough

Sometimes your deodorant doesn’t work because it’s not strong enough. Sure, the fragrance in your deodorant is strong enough to double as cologne. But if it doesn’t have enough antibacterial properties, it won’t stop your underarms from smelling. Additionally, deodorants that contain high levels of alpha-hydroxy acids kill odor-producing bacteria on your skin. So, be sure to look for one or both of those ingredients when searching for an effective product.

why is my deodorant not working


Sometimes when your body is exposed to the same formula over a long period of time, it stops responding. If you have been using the same deodorant for years, you may notice that it has become less effective over time. It’s not a bad idea to change up your brand every once in a while, or alternate products each week.

What to Do When Your Deodorant Doesn’t Work

After you’ve researched the best type of deodorant to use, the next step is to reassess and reorganize your daily routine. Here are some actions to take if your deodorant stops working.

Change Your Wardrobe

Another possible reason your deodorant doesn’t work is because of the type of clothes you wear. Though often unnoticed, clothes play a major role in how your skin retains sweat. If your wardrobe consists mostly of synthetic fabric, consider changing to clothes made from natural fibers. Natural fabrics don’t trap odor as much as synthetic fibers do. Also, tighter clothes also tend to hold on to sweat as they create more friction with your skin.

Change Your Routine

For many of us, applying deodorant after a morning shower has become rote behavior. However, you may not be reaping the full benefit of your product if you’re using it only in the morning. Instead, try applying deodorant at night to clean, dry skin. Typically we sweat the least when we are sleeping. As such, applying deodorant at night allows the formula to work most effectively. It works best with minimal moisture so be sure to completely dry your armpits before applying. Allow the product to dry before getting dressed for bed.

Deodorants can build up on your skin over time, even if you shower every day.

Take a Break

Perhaps you need to take some time off from using deodorants to let your skin get back to its normal state. Deodorants can build up on your skin over time, even if you shower every day. This mini “detox” process may take a few days to effectively eliminate the deodorant coating on your skin. During this time, you may want to increase your water intake to help flush out the impurities.You can naturally prevent odor by using antibacterial soap, applying natural astringents or exfoliating your armpits. After four or five days, apply your deodorant as. If it doesn’t work, perhaps you should consider a change in product.

Improve Your Hygiene

There is no doubt that hygiene plays a role in body odor. Establishing a routine is key to ensuring good hygiene. To start, make sure you bathe each day and after sweat-inducing activities. You may also want to start using an antibacterial soap or shower gel designed to fight body odor. The cleaner your armpits are, the less opportunity bacteria and sweat will accumulate.

Mental Health & Lifestyle Changes

As surprising as it may seem, mental stress can affect your hormones. In return, hormonal changes may increase sweat production and/or increase your body odor. If you experience more anxiety or stress than normal, try to incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine. Regular physical activity can also help to regulate mood and relieve stress. If you notice a change in your body odor in conjunction with other physical changes, you may want to talk to your doctor.

Even though it’s embarrassing when your deodorant stops working, there are plenty of ways to get to the source of the problem. To make sure you always smell fresh, wear an Ejis undershirt with odor-fighting silver. Check out our line of sweat proof undershirts (buy in our shop or on Amazon) and get maximum protection from body odor and sweat.

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