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Deodorant vs. Antiperspirant – Which Do You Need?
by connie gregson, friendly head of r+d at hello products Published: November 23, 2020
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about the author
Connie is our Director of R+D, which not only means she created the formulations for our products, but that she has more degrees than a thermometer. One of her degrees is an MS in food biochemistry, and she was a research scientist in Pepsi’s Product Innovation Group before deciding to focus cavity prevention and optimized oral health. When she’s not climbing, hiking, ultra-marathoning, playing guitar or making awesome brownies with chickpea flour, she’s whipping up the most naturally friendly oral care products around. If you let us know you’re coming for a visit, Connie might be able to craft a custom paste for you….or maybe just rock some of her awesome brownies for you.
Photo: hello charcoal deodorant
If you don’t think about your underarms that much, we don’t blame you – after all, “out of sight out of mind,” right? Luckily we’re here to get you hip to all things pits. And that absolutely includes helping you sort through terminology. It turns out that lots of people may not be aware of the differences between deodorant and antiperspirant, and may use the terms interchangeably. For instance: do you know whether you have deodorant or antiperspirant under your arms currently? If not, that’s ok – but we think you could benefit from knowing the differences between the two and choosing which type of product you use. So allow us to take a swipe at explaining the differences.
What’s the Difference Between Antiperspirant and Deodorant?
Simply put, an antiperspirant stops sweat (or, “perspiration”) from making it up through the skin. A deodorant doesn’t prevent sweating, but does work to dispel odor. While an antiperspirant may also have deodorizing properties, a deodorant doesn’t have sweat blocking properties. With us so far? Ok, cool. So how does each type of product work?
As you’re probably aware, your skin is covered with teeny-tiny little sweat glands (literally millions of them, but who’s counting?). Antiperspirants use an aluminum-based compound to cover pores, preventing sweat from reaching the surface of the skin. Nice try, sweat glands – consider yourself #blocked! Temporarily, that is; most antiperspirants wear off within 24 hours at which point your pores will begin to release sweat again.
While deodorant doesn’t plug up pores, it often does work to manage moisture after sweat has escaped from pores. For instance, we’ve included arrowroot in hello deodorants in order to help with moisture absorption – you could kinda say we’ve got an M.B.A. in moisture management.
In the dark and steamy underworld of underarms, odor is caused by bacteria. And so, deodorant works to provide odor protection. Choosing the ingredient that helps control odor to use is up to the deodorant manufacturer. In addition to odor neutralization, most deos also include scent to mask unwanted BO smell. Fragrance-free deodorants are a thing too though. Heck, we make one!
Should I Use Deodorant or Antiperspirant?
This is a bit of a toughy for us to answer as it primarily comes down to personal needs and preference. It’s not so much about which type of product is better, but more about which type of product is better for you.
For instance, if you tend to sweat heavily and that’s something that bothers you, an antiperspirant may be the right choice. If you don’t usually sweat very much, an antiperspirant makes less sense. Or, it might be the sort of thing you reserve for the types of situations where you do tend to sweat more. On the other hand, some folks may prefer to rock aluminum-free products, so they’ll avoid antiperspirant all together.
If you choose to rock a deo, it’s mostly a question of finding a fragrance that you like, and an ingredient list you feel comfortable with. We’ve created hello deodorants to check both of these boxes for you – so check ‘em out and let us know what you think!