The Difference Between Deodorant and Antiperspirant

If you walk the aisle of the cosmetic section of many stores today, you’ll see so many brands and types of deodorants and antiperspirants in all shapes, prices and promises.

Do you know that there is a difference between deodorant and antiperspirant. Most times they are used interchangeably, but, they are different and have different uses.

The Body System

The first fact that needs to be laid down is that it is natural for humans to sweat. Sweating is the body’s way of cooling down and preventing overheating. We sweat more during the summer, i. e, when it is warmer.
Much sweating can be as a result of the weather, fever or even your food choices.

There are two types of sweat glands in the body, the eccrine and apocrine sweat glands. The smell, referred to as body odor, occurs when apocrine sweat breaks down and mixes with the bacteria on your skin.


Deodorants contain antimicrobial agents to combat body odour by reducing the odour-causing bacteria that live on the skin, and they most times contain perfume to mask the smell of the body odor. Sweat is made up of mostly water and has no smell, but when the bacteria that live on skin acts on it, it releases a smell, known as body odour.
Deodorants do not alter the normal sweat secretion, they just help to prevent body odour by masking the smell of the body odour.


Antiperspirants like deodorants, help to prevent body odour, but not with the same method. Instead of just masking body odour, they contain ingredients that help to significantly reduce the amount of sweat that is secreted to the skin surface.
A major ingredient in antiperspirants is aluminum which serves to inhibit the secretion of sweat to the skin surface.

Though, there are concerns on whether using antiperspirant is good or not for the body, there really isn’t any data that confirms harm.

So the next time you visit the drugstore or shop in search of a “sweat-managing aid”, like your antiperspirant or deodorant, be aware of what you want and what you are buying.