Deodorant and antiperspirant: how are they different?

How many times have you wondered how deodorant and antiperspirant differ? Surely more than one. As well, both help to eliminate bacteria that give a bad smell to sweat. But many times this is not enough and it is also necessary to control sweating.

The first thing to know is that sweat is a vital secretion for the body that comes from the eccrine sweat glands. Its functions include regulating body temperature, contributing to the formation of the acidic pH that protects the stratum corneum and eliminating toxic substances that the body no longer needs.

On the other hand, we find the apocrine sweat glands that are located in hairy areas, such as the armpits and groin, and in the nipples and anus. They produce a milky fluid when there is a stressful situation; When it combines with the bacteria in the body, it can generate a bad smell.

Factors that cause underarm odor

The bad smell of the armpits is known as bromhidrosis and it may be due to the overactivity of the apocrine glands, which produce the most secretion. However, there are other external factors that can play a role. Here are some of them:

  • Improper cleaning: it is necessary to wash the armpits very well every day, use a good amount of water and a mild soap. Shaving, on the other hand, prevents discharge from accumulating in the hairs.
  • Hyperhidrosis: a condition in which the body secretes more sweat than it needs for its thermoregulatory functions. It affects physically and emotionally those who suffer from it and can contribute to increase the odor of the armpits.
  • Diseases: obesity and diabetes mellitus are pathologies that can alter the functioning of the sweat glands and lead patients to sweat more than necessary.
  • Axillary mycosis: it is an affectation produced by fungi such as yeasts and dermatophytes. The former generate an alteration of the microbiota and the latter appear due to exogenous infections or contagion.

The armpits are a region of the body that concentrates part of the body odor by its glands.

You can also read: How to eliminate armpit odor?


Deodorant is a personal hygiene product whose main function is to attenuate, mask or eliminate the bad smell of the armpits. Its compounds are usually antiseptic and inhibitory substances for bacteria that lead to bad odor.

Its effectiveness depends on multiple factors, both external and internal. Therefore it may be necessary to repeat the application twice a day. Among the negative aspects of this product are the stains that it leaves on both the skin and clothes, being natural deodorants a good alternative.


Antiperspirant is another personal hygiene product whose main function, as its name implies, is to prevent perspiration. Long-lasting products can cause a temporary blockage in the sweat glands through substances such as aluminum or aluminum salts.

Although by reducing the secretion of sweat, bacterial proliferation is inhibited, also avoiding bad odor, some studies have shown that The use and abuse of this type of antiperspirant can cause health problems, such as cardiac arrhythmias.

Deodorant and antiperspirant: how are they different?

As we have just seen, the products have two very different functions. The deodorant tries to control the bad smell, while the antiperspirant seeks to block perspiration.

This difference lies in the compounds, since simple deodorants do not have aluminum or aluminum salts, while antiperspirants do.

Discover: Avoid underarm sweating with 5 natural remedies

Ingredients with possible side effects

Deodorants and antiperspirants have some ingredients that can cause side effects and be harmful to health. Among them we find the following.


Some deodorants may contain alcohol, being one of the least dangerous ingredients, but one that should be considered in those whose skin is very sensitiveas it could cause irritations.


It is the main ingredient in antiperspirants to clog pores, preventing the passage of sweating. Studies, such as the one already cited, show that it alters the heart rate in certain circumstances and its relationship with breast cancer is still under investigation.

According to the National Cancer Institute, there is not enough evidence, but the behavior of aluminum compounds is related to the action of estrogen. This hormone has the ability to promote the growth of cancer cells in the breast once they have already formed.


Phthalate particles are often used in multiple household and personal cleaning products. They are responsible for fixing pleasant smells for longer. They tend to accumulate in the body through the multiple uses of deodorant or antiperspirant and cause endocrine problems.

Further, their use also affect the environment and you can recognize them on product labels such as DEHP (diethylhexylphthalate), DIBP (diisobutylphthalate), DBP (dibutylphthalate) and BBP (benzylbutylphthalate).


Parabens belong to the alkyl esters of para-hydroxybenzoic acid and the most used are methyl, ethyl, propyl, butyl and benzyl paraben. They are used in the cosmetic and food industry because they help to preserve products.

Among the side effects that it produces on the skin, according to the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, are allergic contact eczema in delicate dermis or with dermatitis.

Eczema are manifestations of dermatitis that can have an allergic origin in personal cleansing and beauty compounds.


Triclosan is present in most cosmetic and personal care products. Its use is highly questioned, as it is related to occurrence of allergies, antibiotic resistance and endocrine disturbances.

Synthetic fragrances

Synthetic fragrances are usually generated from aldehydes, which act as endocrine factors that can trigger skin allergies.

Deodorant or antiperspirant?

Now that you know the differences between deodorant and antiperspirant, you will be able to choose with greater freedom the product that best suits your needs and expectations.

On the other hand, it is important to check product labels, since the marketing It has made people pay attention to protection time and aromas, leaving aside the implications and side effects of some ingredients. Do not stop paying attention when you are about to buy them.