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Last Updated: Jan 10, 2023

What is the Difference Between an Antiperspirant and a Deodorant?

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Dr. Suruchi PuriDermatologist • 23 Years Exp.MBBS, MD (Skin & V.D. MAMC) - Dermatology
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Deodorants and antiperspirants are items of regular use all over the world. You would never want to smell bad or have sweat stains under your armpits. Hence, after using a deodorant or an antiperspirant you usually stick to it and keep on using it continuously. There is a major confusion regarding deodorants and antiperspirants, and it is important to know the major difference between these two similar items of everyday use.


Deodorant serves the function of preventing unwanted and unpleasant odour from our body. Deodorants do not prevent sweating. Body odour is caused due to the bacterial breakdown of sweat. The ingredients of a deodorant are designed especially for the elimination of the smell caused by bacteria.

The common ingredients of a deodorant are :

  • Water

  • Sodium stearate

  • Organic aloe vera juice

  • Witch hazel water

  • Glyceryl laurate

  • Fir needle oil

  • Chamomile flower aqueous extract

  • Hops [CO2] extract – helps eliminate the odour

  • Caprylic/capric triglyceride

  • Ascorbic acid

  • Silica shell

  • Organic Lemongrass Oil


Antiperspirants are different from deodorants, and they are designed in such a way that the body produces lesser sweat. This is done by blocking sweat from reaching the skin. The ingredients present in antiperspirants, especially aluminum, block the pores on the skin and do not allow sweat to pass through them. When an antiperspirant is applied to the skin, the aluminum salts get dissolved in the sweat under the armpit. The dissolved aluminum forms a gel, which acts like a plug on the sweat glands or pores on the skin. This stops sweat secretion. Aluminum is, however, a cancer-causing factor and may also lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Several forms of aluminum present in some antiperspirants leave yellow stains on clothes as a result of mixing with sweat.

The primary ingredients of antiperspirants are:

  1. Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrex.

  2. Dimethicone.

  3. Tribehenin.

  4. Artificial fragrance.

  5. C18 36 Acid Triglyceride.

People are often confused as to what to use among deodorants and antiperspirants. This depends totally on your personal choice, but it is recommended to use a product which incorporates natural ingredients instead of using chemicals such as aluminum. Hence, deodorants are considered to be safer for everyday use. However, several artificial dyes and fragrances are used as ingredients in both deodorants and antiperspirants, which cause reactions on the skin. Allergies and skin irritation also occur sometimes as a result.


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