Antiperspirant vs. Deodorant: What’s the Difference?

The world is made up of all sorts of opposites, and everyone has their preferred side. There are the cat people and dog people, morning risers and night owls, tea sippers and coffee drinkers, and now there are the antiperspirant users and the deodorant users.

At least for the latter, many people may not even be aware of the difference between the two. Both are used to address sweaty underarms, yes, but contrary to popular belief, there are a couple of key differences between antiperspirants and deodorant that may really be worth knowing. You may just find out that what you’re using isn’t what you think it is, and there may be a better option for you.


Antiperspirants work to stop perspiration from occurring by blocking the pores from releasing sweat to “keep you dry” (as you will have heard many-a-commercials tell you.) What this means is that antiperspirant products made by popular brands like Dove, Degree, and Secret include ingredients like aluminum and zirconium to stop up the pores and block the sweat.

In recent times, there has been great speculation about the risk of these ingredients possibly causing or increasing the risk of breast cancer (because the antiperspirant may be applied closely to the area of the breast). While there has been no conclusive evidence linking these ingredients with causing cancer, aluminum-based products like antiperspirants can produce estrogen-like (hormonal) effects on the body when left on the skin to absorb, according to And because estrogen bas been known to promote the growth of breast cancer cells, aluminum-based products could indirectly be increasing the risk of breast cancer devleopment.

Additionally, by blocking the pores from releasing sweat and helping to naturally cool your body down, you may experience more discomfort when in a hot environment. If that wasn’t bad enough, clogged pores under your arms could also result in blackheads, pimples, bacterial infections and even cysts, as some studies have shown.

Pros: Stay dry

Cons: Increase the risk of developing breast cancer cells; disrupt body’s natural functions, nasty clogged pores


Deodorants work to stop the odor that may result from the mixture of sweat and bacteria under your arms. While they seem more like a quick fix and a way to mask a problem without actually solving it, they may also be much safer for you.

Companies like Tom’s of Maine make deodorants with what they say, “odor-killing bacteria” so as to solve the smelly problem while still allowing you to sweat. Products like these won’t be the solution to keep you dry, but only to keep you un-smelly.

Pros: Minimize harmful effects on your skin; allow skin to perspirate and keep you cool; address odor

Cons: May result in “pit stains” from wetness

Happy Medium

So, the big question is: what do you do? It may a good idea to invest in both an antiperspirant and a deodorant. Be advised, however, to carefully read the labels; antiperspirants often include deodorants, but a product that is deodorant alone is harder to find.

For days when you are wearing sleveless tops, try opting for the deodorant. Doing so will give you peace of mind that you’re not slathering on aluminum and zirconium on your skin, and you won’t have to worry about the “pit stain” issue.

On “sleeve days” when there is a real chance you may be sweating, use the antiperspirant. At least while there isn’t an overwhelming danger of breast cancer development, it’s probably still okay to use antiperspirants for the days when you’d like to avoid embarrassing wet circles under your arms. Even then, by minimizing your use of them you could make a big difference in minimizing the harmful and unsightly effects they can cause.

>>Watch below for a review comparing Dove Ultimate antiperspirant deodorant and Tom’s of Maine deodorant:


2 thoughts on “Antiperspirant vs. Deodorant: What’s the Difference?

  1. Pingback: Beach Wave Perm Review | A Metaphorical Mind

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