Deodorants and antiperspirants aren’t something new. We all use them and we can’t live without them.

Or we can actually live without them but then, other people won’t be willing to be anywhere near us.

We have all of these deodorants and roll-ons available in the market to make us more comfortable and deal with hygiene problems such as bad odor or excessive sweating.

If you’re an adult, there’s a good chance that you’ve tried a good number of products to see what’s working best for you. Different properties and scents, different brands, sizes etc.

But do we take the time to do the research on the products we so desperately need?

This is why we prepared this guide for you and understand the differences between the two most popular options. Deodorant Vs Antiperspirants. A.k.a. The Ultimate Armpit Battle.

Here’s what you need to know about the difference between two of the most common solutions to sweat and odor.

Deodorants Vs Antiperspirants. Understanding the differences

Deodorants are used to mask or eliminate the bacteria which causes bad odor, while antiperspirants are used to reduce sweating overall.

Deodorants prevent unwanted odor and antiperspirants prevent sweating. The bacterial breakdown of sweat is what produces our body odor.

Now considering the natural course of our bodies, we know that sweating is an essential part. If the temperature of our body is increasing, we start to sweat which is our body’s natural way of cooling down. Sweating also helps with improved circulation, increased metabolism and stronger immune system.

It’s a personal choice really when it comes to choosing what type of product you are looking to use to combat odor issues or excessive sweating.

The art of sweating

Some people, for example, sweat a lot. So they tend to use Antiperspirants so as to block their sweat glands. That wet patch of sweat around the armpit of your shirt has to be embarrassing. While other people have more of an odor issue and thus tend to use deodorants as a way to mask their odor when leaving the house.

But there is a solution to both. Using aluminum based antiperspirants or deodorants aren’t the only solutions available out there.

All the while keeping in mind that sweating is part of the natural process of human beings; there are certain aspects to be taken into consideration when thinking about our social and professional life.

Fighting the odor

One simply cannot reach a meeting with bad odor, it destroys goodwill and makes it difficult for people to approach or interact with you due to the smell.

When on a date we cannot greet, hug or dance with our partners if we are sweating or carrying a bad odor as that automatically repels the other person and puts them off.

Human beings judge and treat people based on their smell. If you have a particularly strong essence which is appealing to the person you’re talking to, they are likely to appreciate it.

These psychological factors make it necessary for the fragrance industry to exist and create new appealing fragrances every day. So it has become a necessity for us to find solutions to such basic problems as excessive sweating & bad odor.

While antiperspirants might seem like a quick solution to sweat & odor for people as sweating at all is a negative for our physical appearance.

However, it should be taken into account that blocking sweat has an impact on our health. In addition, masking it may have certain long-term implications.

While it may seem easier to just use the antiperspirant and tackle both sweating and odor at the same time, the long-term health effects need to be considered.

Checking the label on the back

Using antiperspirants is dangerous as it has an aluminum-based compound that blocks the pores in our skin to stop the sweating completely.

Deodorants also use a couple of harmful chemicals that if not used in the correct manner as displayed on the back of the bottle can end up giving you harmful effects and even death but when comparing the two deodorants have less toxic side effects.

So when concerned with which is better to use, all you need to know is that deodorants are preferred when you face odor issues and Antiperspirants were invented and used for people facing problems with excessive sweating.

If your only problem is that you don’t want to smell bad, then go for the deodorant, but if you always find yourself with bad odor and two round patches of sweat around your underarms then it is best to find yourself an antiperspirant.

Deodorants Vs Antiperspirants: Comparing Ingredients

The best way to know if a product suits us is to read the components labeled on the back and find out what exactly do these ingredients do/or what they are made of. For example, Antiperspirants contain aluminum based compounds which are basically responsible for blocking or plugging the skin pores in our underarms which in turn prevents sweating.

Let’s compare the ingredients in Deodorants & Antiperspirants. Even though both of these are harmful, we need to take a detailed look into what comes inside each bottle and what makes them different.

While it usually boils down to personal preference, it helps to analyse the two objectively.

Ingredients of deodorants

Use deodorant roll on to allow your armpits breathe while keeping the bad odor controlled

Image Courtesy: Tharakorn/

Deodorants usually contain the following:

  • Fragrance
  • Ethanol/SD alcohol 40
  • Polyaminopropyl biguanide
  • Stearate and 1,1 difluoroethane

Ethanol/SD Alcohol 40 is an ingredient used to kill the bacteria which feed on the sweat and create a bad odor.

Alcohol mainly is considered to be a good source for killing bacteria and cleansing our skin pores.

Ethanol is also a type of fuel which can be used in vehicles; it has the similar sensitivity of petroleum to fire. Due to this, it has to be mentioned on every bottle that it has to be kept in a dry cool place and not exposed to fire.

So it seems like this chemical is not something we should be applying to our bodies because in the long term it can have serious effects on our bodies.

Polyaminopropyl Biguanide (PAPB) is a disinfectant used to prevent disinfection on skin. This chemical can be applied directly to wounds and is not irritating like other disinfectants such as ethanol or isopropanol.

1,1 difluoroethane is the gas which is present in deodorants. There is a warning label on the deodorants that clearly states that the bottle is to be used from a distance of at least 15cm and not to be inhaled. Other than that this chemical is not toxic and harmful to health.

Ingredients found in antiperspirants

Antiperspirant spray to keep the sweat away

Image Courtesy: Mark Seton 271/366 Spray Away (license)

The difference between antiperspirants and deodorants is a certain chemical called Aluminum Chlorohydrate which basically creates a plug in the pores of our skin stopping our bodies from sweating a lot and thus leaving no room for bacteria to create odors.

Aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly are the most frequent ingredients used in commercial antiperspirants. These chemicals have found to be hazardous to health showing effects to nerve cells.

These aluminum salts are usually used to prevent sweating by plugging up your sweat glands.

Triclosan is classified as a pesticide by the EPA and can be found in a number of cleaning products for the house. It is a phenol and phenols are considered toxic to human life and yes they are included in most of the Antiperspirants and Deodorants.

As per Scientific American, these aluminum-based compounds which are used in our Antiperspirants have had negative effects when tested on rabbits brains. It caused the brains to develop nerve cell damage thought to be a pre-effect of Alzheimer’s at the time and long term dialysis patients with high levels of the metal developed dementia.

Antiperspirants use a majority of aluminum-based compounds because it is what brings about the blockage of the sweat glands, reducing sweat overall.

Deodorant Vs Antiperspirant. Which one should you use then?

So to conclude the topic considering the components of Deodorants and Antiperspirants I would prefer Deodorants.

Even though the could be equally harmful, provide a comparatively safe form of protection from odors while the FDA approved aluminum-based antiperspirants are still being sold at our store shelves and risk serious health side effects.

Well, it all comes down to this, in the battle between deodorants and antiperspirants nobody except the manufacturer’s win. If you are still keen to use them, it would be preferred that you use Deodorants which are less likely to kill you.

For most of the part we cannot be certain of the side effects of each ingredient in the beautiful-smelling bottles we have in our homes. Instead of blindly gambling our lives for the sake of smelling good I think we do have other options which still have to be explored.

People don’t usually have the time to prepare their own natural homemade bottles of deodorants but I would like to list a few options below of both homemade and commercial natural products. They can be bought off the internet and give you the peace of mind that you are not using any harmful toxins in our day to day life

The important thing to remember is that when these deodorants and antiperspirant makers leave warnings on the labels and instruction to use, they shouldn’t be ignored.

As the condom packet always states that they are only 97% effective you should be careful while using your deodorants. Besides, there is a reason why they state that these products should be kept out of direct sunlight or are to be used from at least 15 cm distance from the skin.

If you experience any type of skin irritation after using such a product you should immediately stop using them and find another solution for your issues.

Natural products are preferable to maintain a healthy life and combating bad odor too.

You can buy a lot of natural products online which give you a similar type of effect with less use of toxic substances. I have mentioned a few good natural products and noted my personal experience below.

Here are a few product recommendations

I would like to recommend the following products for anyone looking to use Deodorants and are keen on minimizing the effects, however minimal they are.

Jason Tea Tree Oil Deodorant

This deodorant contains zinc to block the sweat and tea tree oil to kill bacteria and help with the smell.

The cost of this deodorant is comparatively less to others which contain aluminum based compounds.

The Jason tea tree oil deodorant it normally stands at around $7 a bottle and gives you the freedom of stressing about dangerous toxic chemicals while providing you with the same properties.

Nature’s Gate Herbal Blend Deodorant

Let me say that I was surprised with this deodorant as it smells almost exactly like Christmas. In addition to extracts and oils this natural deodorant contains vegetable enzymes to stabilize odor and the smooth solid glides on clear.

Very powerful fragrance at a very good price.

Erbaviva organic deodorant

USDA certified organic spray, Erbaviva contains remarkable few ingredients. This Deodorant has Lemon Sage which is an organic grain alcohol and essential oils.

It works for men and women alike but the only downside is that it’s a bit pricey but in such case, you really get what you pay for.

Homemade Deodorant (Credits to DIY Natural)

Here are the steps to creating your own bottle of Deodorant in your house.

  1. Purchase a bottle of grain ethyl alcohol, a.k.a. high proof liquor like Everclear, or vodka, gin etc.
  2. Purchase a small refillable spray bottle
  3. Pour the Alcohol into the spray bottle
  4. If you like, add 10 drops of tea tree oil per 1 oz of alcohol

Various oils of your choice can be used to make you more comfortable with the Deodorant. You can add oils with the essence of peppermint, tea tree, lavender or lemon. For excessive perspiration, try lemongrass or litsea cubeba.