Do you reach for a deodorant or antiperspirant in the morning? Most people would look at us blindly and say “deodorant, of course”. However, that’s not entirely the case – as a lot of people don’t know the difference between the two. This is what we are here to help work out which is better for you – antiperspirant vs deodorant?
Perspiration: What happens when you sweat?
Before we even begin to compare antiperspirant vs deodorant, you need to understand what happens when you sweat (or perspire) and why.
Sweat comes from the 2-4 million sweat glands located all over your body. In short, when we get hot, sensors in the body tell the brain – that tells the sweat glands to work and so, we sweat. This is the major way our body regulates its temperature.
Water is released through glands in the skin, evaporates off the skin and the body is cooled. During exercise, muscles heat up more, so more sweat is needed. Cooling is the major function of sweating, without it, our body could not release excess heat – causing us to become seriously ill or worse.
So, what is in sweat? Mostly water, along with small amounts of sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. However, all of these things together are not going to cause you to smell, it is when the water reacts to the bacteria on the skin that will cause odour.
Wondering how you can control how much you’re sweating? There are two products that you can use to work in two very different ways – each designed to tackle a particular issue. Antiperspirant is used to reduce the amount you sweat and deodorant is used to reduce odour.
What is deodorant?
Deodorant is a product that most commonly comes in the form of a roll-on or stick, that helps to eradicate the odour caused by bacteria mixing with sweat on your skin.
You should apply deodorant wherever you produce the most amount of sweat – your underarms are always a go-to, please be mindful, though, if you are applying deodorant to other areas of the body such as your chest or groin area as this can irritate – depending on the ingredients. However, a deodorant will not control the wetness from the sweat production, it will simply make you smell fresher.
Apply deodorant after showering (make sure you have dried your body first) or before you go to bed when you aren’t prone to producing as much sweat. Deodorant is safe to reapply throughout the day if you need any extra odour protection – but there is no need to excessively slather it on, a few swipes will usually do the job if the formulation is good.
So, how long does it control odour? This can depend on several factors including brand, ingredients and whether or not the product is natural and organic. Generally speaking, deodorants last for 12- 24 hours depending on the different variables.
What is antiperspirant?
An antiperspirant generally comes in the form of a spray to reduce sweating and perspiration. Aluminium is the active ingredient in antiperspirants, it forms a gel when applied. The gel temporarily plugs and blocks the sweat glands on your skin, subsequently reducing the amount of sweat that seeps through.
It is best to apply antiperspirant like deodorant, after showering or in the evening before going to bed (when your sweat glands are less active). Most brands claim that you can have from 24-48 hours’ worth of protection, so unless you sweat heavily, you more than likely won’t need to reapply during the day.
As great as antiperspirants sound, even natural antiperspirants come with the risk of serious health issues. Although there are no proven scientific facts that the health warnings associated with antiperspirants are true, it has been known to be linked to forms of breast cancer.
Not only are the toxins within the antiperspirant reported in some medical studies to be harmful to your body, but the environment too. When spraying your antiperspirant, you are releasing harmful greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.
Which is better: antiperspirant or deodorant?
So it all comes down to the question of what is best, a deodorant or antiperspirant. There is no right or wrong answer – but it is important to understand the pros and cons of both.
Deodorant is designed solely to control the odour that sweat produces but does not control the wetness. On the other hand, antiperspirant controls the amount of sweat your body releases and can control odour as well – but not without health and environmental risks associated with it.
Another issue is deodorant vs antiperspirant stains. Though sweat would be assumed as the cause of staining, and antiperspirant seemingly the way to go, the truth is the discolouration around your shirt’s armpits is a result of the ingredients present in antiperspirant and deodorant alike (mostly aluminium) mixed with the natural minerals in your sweat.
So, how do you tell the difference between an antiperspirant and a deodorant on the shelf when doing your shopping? You will notice that when browsing, a deodorant can come in the form of a roll-on or spray – the same for an antiperspirant. But the real difference is if the product has aluminium – if it says 0% aluminium, generally speaking, it will be a deodorant.
However, it is always best to check on the back of the INCI list for the following names to see if it contains aluminium...
Aluminium can be listed on the INCI ( ingredient list) in many different formats:
Aluminium chloralhydrate or
Aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly
Is antiperspirant or deodorant better suited to me?
You now know the difference between antiperspirant vs deodorant – but which one is better suited to you? That depends on many components: lifestyle is a big factor such as, if you play a lot of sport or living an active day-to-day routine – a deodorant may be better for you, as it is inevitable that you will sweat, so you will need to tackle the odour instead.
Another factor is how much you sweat generally – again, depending on your genetics, you may be more susceptible to perspiration. If this is the case – perhaps an antiperspirant would be the best option for you.
Kirstie formulated the Proverb deodorant as she sat in this camp, no deodorant or natural deodorant had ever worked on her. It was a 3 and a half year labour of love to create the Holy Grail - a natural deodorant that worked like a mainstream antiperspirant using nothing like the ingredients.
If you are trying to live an eco-friendlier and sustainable lifestyle, then reducing your CO2 emissions through using a non-aerosol deodorant, that won’t release harmful gasses into the atmosphere will be beneficial for you.
Searching for a plastic-free deodorant or zero waste deodorant might be more important to you than the ingredients. Proverb Refillable deodorant refills mean your only waste is a small piece of paper that can be recycled or composted.
If you’re on the lookout for a new deodorant – perhaps you’re wanting a natural alternative or trying to reduce your plastic consumption? Our Proverb Refillable Natural Deodorant is the perfect eco alternative with subtle scents that last all day long – not to mention your one-time purchase of a deodorant case that you can fill with whichever scent you prefer.
Packed with plant-based ingredients to help give your underarms a well-deserved rest from the toxins that come along with regular deodorants and antiperspirants.
Our ethos is to ‘GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN’ – you get out of your body, what you put in your body, this works the same with what you put on your skin – including deodorant.