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Deodorant vs. antiperspirant: Which should you use?

Have you walked down the deodorant aisle lately? The choices can be bewildering. How can you know which is best for you? To make things more complicated, you have to decide between deodorant and antiperspirant.

Deodorant vs antiperspirant? Is there a difference? Aren’t those two words the same thing? Well, no. Depending on your body you could need one over the other. If you had no idea that these were two different products, don’t worry. We will sort out the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant.

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What it’s for

Deodorant’s purpose is in the name. It’s for your odor. If you have some stinky body odor going on, deodorant is what you need. The chemicals in deodorant make your skin a little acidic so that smelly bacteria don’t want to hang out.

How to use it

For the best results and the smallest chance of still smelling that odor, apply deodorant to clean, completely dry skin. If you think throwing it on right before you walk out the door is how it’s done, think again. You want to put it on when you aren’t going to be getting sweaty. Before bed is best. Give it a chance to start protecting your skin.

Where you can use it

Deodorant isn’t only for your underarms. You can use deodorant on any body part that might cause a stinky stench. The back of your knees, your feet, or even your groin area. Remember the skin “down there” can be sensitive, so if you feel any discomfort at all, be sure to wash the deodorant off immediately.

Our pick

We love Native Coconut & Vanilla Deodorant. Not only is it aluminum-free, but it’s sulfate, paraben, and cruelty-free. The mix of vanilla and coconut is awesome, too. Plus, it is free from plastic packaging.

Native Coconut & Vanilla Deodorant: Target


What it’s for

Antiperspirant’s purpose is again in the name. It stops you from sweating or perspiring. While some antiperspirants do have ingredients in them to cover up odors, that’s not their main focus. It’s to reduce the amount of sweat you produce. It does this by shrinking your pores so less sweat can make its way out. Blocking those sweat glands is what antiperspirant is all about.

How you use it

You only want to apply antiperspirant on freshly clean skin that is also dry. If your skin is wet or damp it just slides right off. Or you wind up trying to put a ton on, and then it clumps or is too heavy, and then it won’t work anyway.

Applying before you go to sleep is also the way to go with antiperspirant. Sure, you aren’t going to run the risk of sweating while you are sleeping, but that’s the point. You want it to create that barrier and get those pores and glands taken care of before you start sweating.

Where you can use it

Your underarms are the main culprit when it comes to sweating, right? So, can you use it anywhere else? Yes! You should be using antiperspirant anywhere where you find you sweat a lot and want to calm that down. It can help with any embarrassing situations when it comes to dates, job interviews, or anytime you don’t want to be left with a sweat stain.

Use it on your underarms, back, groin, feet, and even chest. Where you feel sweaty patches, go ahead and start putting antiperspirant there before you go to bed.

Our pick

For antiperspirants, we like Certain Dri Prescription Strength if you really need the help. If you have excessive sweating in more than one area, give this a try. You put it on before bed and don’t have to worry about your sweating for a few days. This cruelty-free antiperspirant only needs a little to go a long way.

The winner

Honestly, it depends on what your body needs. If you have some stinky body odor, you need deodorant. If you can’t seem to keep your skin dry, you need an antiperspirant. Know they are different, they do different things for your body, and you cannot expect one to take care of both problems well. It’s like coffee and wine. There are times when you need one over the other.

It is possible to get an antiperspirant with deodorant in one. That’s common. Just read the ingredients and read the directions to make sure you are getting the one that is best for your situation. For a combo we say go for Secret Outlast Invisible Solid Antiperspirant & Deodorant Completely Clean. You get the dryness protection your need plus a light, clean scent for up to two days. You won’t see it leaving white marks on your shirt, either.

Secret Outlast Invisible Solid Antiperspirant & Deodorant For Women Completely Clean: Target

So give yourself a sniff and do a sweat spot test and see which you need and where you need it. No rule says you can’t put some deodorant under your arms and some antiperspirant on your back. As long as you feel confident to tackle your day, wear what you need.

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

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