What Is The Difference Between Anti-Perspirant And Deodorant

What Is The Difference Between Anti-Perspirant And Deodorant?

Antiperspirant, deodorant, where does it end?! All you want to do is find a product that keeps you smelling fresh without making you sweat heavily and keeps you from feeling self conscious!

But all of these different terms keep getting thrown around. And it can be confusing to have to figure it all out on your own.

That's why we're here to help you understand the difference between antiperspirant and deodorant once and for all. So you can treat your skin (and sweat) exactly how you want to.

See Related: Why Use Aluminum Free Deodorant?

What is deodorant?

You might think that deodorant has some sort of special relationship with your sweat glands. And it does, in a way.

It allows your sweat glands to sweat freely. That's right, deodorant doesn't actually help you control sweat like an antiperspirant does. But it does prevent body odor.

Active ingredients in deodorant

Deodorants are typically alcohol based which turns your skin acidic. And says bye-bye to body odor causing bacteria.

But not all deodorants work to let your sweat glands run wild. In fact, many deodorants use baking soda or cornstarch to help you avoid underarm wetness and sweat.

All in all though, deodorant is typically used to mask body odor while fighting bacteria. So while not all deodorants will reduce sweat, they'll certainly help you smell fresh by eliminating underarm odor.

What is an antiperspirant?

Antiperspirant, on the other hand, has one goal and one goal only: to reduce sweating. And it reduces sweat by temporarily blocking your sweat glands.

Deodorant and antiperspirant have similarities but one combats sweat while the other combats odor

Blocking your sweat ducts is a surefire way to combat excessive sweat. And while over the counter antiperspirants are available, those who sweat excessively may require prescription antiperspirants.

Active ingredients in antiperspirant

The active ingredient in most, if not all, antiperspirants is aluminum chloride. Essentially when you apply antiperspirant, you are reducing sweat by clogging up your sweat pores with aluminum salts.

So antiperspirants don't necessarily function to control odor. But rather they function to stop your body from sweating altogether.

Bonus: What Is Zero Waste Lifestyle?

Key differences between deodorant and antiperspirant

We've already gone over the key difference between deodorant and antiperspirant. But here's a deeper dive into these two kinds of products that will help you learn which one is best for your skin.

#1. Antiperspirant blocks underarm sweat

It is true that aluminum chloride temporarily blocks your sweat glands. But aluminum salts also help to neutralize bacteria.

In fact, salt has been used historically to reduce bacteria and body odor. And some deodorants are made entirely of salt alone.

But if you want something that will keep body sweat away, then most antiperspirants will offer you exactly what you're looking for. Not to mention that certain antiperspirants work at a clinical strength to reduce sweat.

#2. Deodorant neutralizes body odor

Body odor occurs when your body sweat mixes with bacteria on your skin. So it's not necessarily that your body sweat smells.

Deodorant and antiperspirant contain ingredients that are nurturing for skin even though one does not stop sweat

It's that it's mixing with bacteria and making for a stinky concoction. So, deodorant combats this by fighting bacteria and using fragrance to proactively prevent any stink from coming through.

Deodorants - and plastic free deodorants at that - may use an entire range of ingredients. But we believe that the best deodorants use only natural ingredients that don't harm your skin or the planet.

#3. Many antiperspirants contain aluminum compounds

You may have heard the term "aluminum free deodorant" before. But now that you know aluminum chlorohydrate is really only used with antiperspirants, you know that term is somewhat of an oxymoron.

In fact, when it comes to antiperspirant vs. deodorant, deodorant will likely never contain aluminum. Only antiperspirants will.

#4. Deodorant doesn't stop sweating but may decrease wetness

Of course, medically reviewed antiperspirants are meant to stop your body from sweating with clinical strength. But that doesn't mean there aren't deodorants out there that can keep your skin a little more sweat free.

Antiperspirant is best for stopping sweat not odor while deodorant is best for stopping odor and not sweat

Both antiperspirants and deodorants will contain some type of ingredient to alleviate your body from sweating. But deodorants will use more natural ingredients rather than aluminum.

This can be anything from cornstarch to arrowroot powder, from baking soda to tapioca starch. But most importantly, deodorant will not stop your body from sweating.

Sweating is a natural process that allows our skin and body to function properly. So this is important to keep in mind when debating your loyalty between deodorants and antiperspirants.

#5. But antiperspirant deodorant does exist

Antiperspirant and deodorant have been pitted against each other this entire article. But antiperspirant deodorant does exist.

It attempts to combine all the goods that antiperspirant and deodorant can bring on their own. So you can benefit from little to no sweating and absolutely no odor.

Health risks associated with antiperspirants

In the grand debate between antiperspirant and deodorant, there is a rather pertinent risk that must be addressed in antiperspirants. And that comes from its use of aluminum.

Studies have explored concerning links between antiperspirants and breast cancer. Some even go so far to say that those with a low kidney function ought to be wary of antiperspirant use.

More research is needed. But when you apply deodorant, you don't have to have those same concerns in mind.

Deodorant vs. antiperspirant: which one is better?

So, which is better in the battle between deodorant vs. antiperspirant? Well, it really depends!

Antiperspirant works to stop you from sweating. And deodorants work to neutralize body odor. So really, it boils down to what works best for you.

Antiperspirant is meant to stop sweat as its name is literally anti sweat

That being said, if you have sensitive skin or dry skin, you may benefit from deodorant more so than antiperspirant. Only because its more natural ingredients can be less irritating.

Then again, we're probably biased. After all, here are Paper Cosmetics, we're all about that vegan, zero waste deodorant that keeps your skin and our planet healthy.

Stay fresh with Paper Cosmetics!

Hopefully by now, you understand the difference between antiperspirant and deodorant a little bit better. And when somebody asks you who would win the battle between antiperspirant vs. deodorant and deodorant vs. antiperspirant, you know that it's not quite so simple as that.

Both deodorants and antiperspirants have a lot to offer. All it really boils down to is your personal preference and what works best for your body. 

Keep Reading: When Was Deodorant Invented?


PAPR Cosmetics is on a mission to create conscious beauty products with as little impact on the planet as possible. Our products are fully recyclable, vegan, and cruelty-free. When we take down one tree, we plant a new one. For more information and sustainability tips, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube, and Tumblr.