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Deodorant vs. antiperspirant: Which do I need?

Christina Ablahad

Posted by Christina A.

12.13.21

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Deodorant vs. antiperspirant: Which do I need?

What kind of deodorant do you use? Do you have a longstanding favorite? Have you ever really experimented with different brands and styles? Do you even know the technical difference between deodorants and antiperspirants?

For most guys, the answers to these questions reveal that they haven’t done enough research. We’re talking about a key hygiene product that allows you to interact normally with society. Maybe it’s worth taking a few minutes to learn a little more so you can make a truly informed decision about how your body smells.

You need to use something

Can we all be honest with each other? When your armpits sweat, it doesn’t smell good. Sure, you might not notice, but everyone around you does.

There’s some science behind this. It turns out that you have two types of sweat glands. The most common are eccrine glands. They’re all over your body, and the sweat that comes out of them doesn’t usually have a strong odor. When you work out and your face is literally dripping, that part won’t smell too bad.

The other kind is called apocrine. They produce the classic scent of B.O., and you’ll find them in your armpits — along with your groin and feet. 

So, you’re inevitably going to sweat, and the stuff coming out of your armpits smells worse than most sweat. If you care about how you smell to other people at all, you need a product that either stops the sweat or manages the smell.

sweaty man

The major differences between deodorant & antiperspirant

Antiperspirants and deodorants are both great for controlling B.O., but they operate in distinct ways. It all boils down to how they smell and what they do to your skin. We'll breakdown deodorant vs. antiperspirant so that you can figure out which you need to use and when to use it.

How they smell

Let’s get technical for a minute. An antiperspirant, strictly speaking, does not have a special scent. You might be able to smell it, but it isn’t designed to turn your armpits into a flower garden. Instead, it’s just trying to reduce how much sweat comes out of you.

Meanwhile, deodorant doesn’t reduce sweat. It tries to make you smell spectacular even when you have a stream of human water dripping off of your chin. It’s not always an easy task.

Deodorants come in countless scents. Many marketed for the ladies will imitate the smell of different flowers. Most guy-marketed deodorants have scents that resemble that of colognes. The goal is usually to induce a sense of freshness. The new deodorant by MANSCAPED™ uses a cologne-quality fragrance that matches the rest of the Ultra Premium™ Collection.

What a lot of guys use will be a combination of the two. You can have a scented antiperspirant or you can have something that is dedicated to one purpose or the other.

To keep things simple, let’s just talk about how these two things differ in their most basic forms.

man using deodorant

Controlling sweat

Controlling sweat is the key difference in the war of deodorant vs. antiperspirant. So, how does an antiperspirant actually work? There are a few things that can do the job, but by and large, sweat is reduced through the application of aluminum.

In short, aluminum can block sweat glands. This literally causes you to produce less sweat, and until the aluminum is removed from the skin (usually when you shower but sometimes because you sweat that much from glands that aren’t blocked), it can keep working.

There are other ingredients that reduce sweat, but none of them are known to work as well as aluminum.

The pros and cons of aluminum

If aluminum is so great, why are there products without it? Why do pure deodorants still exist in the world? It comes down to what you’re risking and sacrificing when you use an aluminum antiperspirant.

For starters, antiperspirants are technically considered drugs. As such, they are regulated by the FDA. You can still get them over the counter, but that concept merits a little stop-and-think before we assume this is the best solution.

Additionally, stopping sweat isn't always good for you. Your body sweats for a reason. Preventing sweat when your body is very hot can lead to overheating and health issues. Sometimes, it’s better to drip some sweat and only worry about the smell.

Lastly, aluminum can mess with your body. In small uses, it’s not directly harmful, but it’s not providing health benefits either. There are other products that are better for your skin. Also, regular use of aluminum over a long period of time can correlate with higher risks of breast cancer. That might not be a top concern for a lot of guys, but it’s still something to think about.

Despite all of that, aluminum is considered a safe way to control sweat, and there is nothing better that you will find. So, many people are ok with all of this and choose an aluminum antiperspirant when they want to stay dry.

When antiperspirant is better

So, which one do you really need? It comes down to preferences and scenarios.

An antiperspirant will shine when you’re using it specifically to sweat less. Here’s an easy example. Imagine you have some high-stress business meetings, and you’re not wearing multiple layers (maybe you’re a tech billionaire, so you don’t have to worry about fashion).

If you want to dodge pit stains for these meetings, antiperspirant is your friend. You’re not sweating from body heat, so it’s not a cooling issue. Also, stress-induced sweat is extra stinky. A little aluminum can do a lot of good in this scenario.

When deodorant wins

As for deodorant, it’s the obvious choice when the expectation is to sweat a bunch. If you’re working hard or in a hot environment, you’re going to sweat from a lot more places than your armpits. You can’t exactly hit your whole body with antiperspirant (this is not a challenge).

You will also likely favor deodorant when ingredients matter more. Because blocking sweat isn't the goal, deodorants can be made from more natural ingredients. Some out there will have parabens, triclosan, and other things you don't want on your skin. But, if you stick with a trusted brand, like MANSCAPED™, you will get scents made from natural ingredients that smell amazing and are good for your skin.

The easy solution in this scenario is to focus on deodorant. It will help combat the smells that come out of your sweat glands. Also, deodorant on the pits can help with B.O. across the torso. You get more value out of it, and it is generally better for you.

12.13.21

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