Deodorant vs Antiperspirant
So you need a new stick of D.O. for the B.O.? You’re in the deodorant aisle, staring at the myriad products. It’s overwhelming. And what’s that debate about antiperspirants? Aren’t they supposed to be bad for you, or something? But what if you just get really sweaty? Let’s take a look at the difference between the two types of deodorant, which both have pros and cons.
Basic deodorant will do its job and keep you from getting smelly when you get sweaty–but you’ll still get sweaty. The defining difference between deodorant and antiperspirant, of course, is that antiperspirant is specially formulated to control sweat and odor, whereas basic deodorant only helps abate odor. It’s important to know that sweat itself doesn’t smell; it’s the bacteria on the skin under our armpits that get stinky. There are a lot of sweat glands there making pits a great place for bacteria growth. Deodorants carry acidic or salty ingredients that make our underarms a little less hospitable to bacteria, and less bacteria means less smell. Additionally, deodorants are usually scented, just to give a little extra masking in case odor does build up.
Antiperspirants usually have an aluminum compound in them that plugs up sweat glands for a little while (not permanently). Because of this, they are actually classified as a drug. There are products out there that are simply antiperspirant, but there are also antiperspirant/deodorant combinations–which is probably what many of us use. For extra-sweaty people, there are “clinical strength” antiperspirants, and even prescription-only antiperspirants. These may be necessary for people with hyperhidrosis, a condition that makes someone extremely sweaty, or for people about to go into a job interview or who have to work a job where they are active and still have to look professional, such as those who work maintenance and cleaning at major Kalamazoo, Michigan corporations. There’s a little bit of controversy surround antiperspirants, though. Some claim that antiperspirant is linked to breast cancer, although the FDA, American Cancer Society, and the National Cancer institute have said there’s no evidence to support the claim. The aluminum in antiperspirants isn’t super for the environment though, so many people prefer to use more natural methods of sweat control. “Natural” deodorizers include baking soda and mineral salt crystal deodorants. Many of these options are offered by eco- and health-minded companies.
Of course, in certain situations, such as when you’re out using that Miken slowpitch softball bats on a humid day, you may have to accept that you will just be sweaty, no matter what. You can cover up the smell, but you may want to let your body operate the way it’s meant to. The sweat is there to help cool you off, after all!
Both deodorant and antiperspirant can cause skin irritation. If this happens to you, you might try a different brand, and if it still doesn’t improve, see your dermatologist. If you can’t use deodorant, don’t worry; since the smell is caused by bacteria, basic hygiene is the best defense. Washing up or taking a baby wipe to you underarms a few times a day will go a long way to keeping you smelling pretty.
And remember, ladies, the “pink tax” is a real thing. Did you know products such as razors and deodorants labeled “for women” are actually more expensive than those targeted towards men? Deodorant works regardless of your gender; there’s really no difference except for the scents. So if you want to save a little, go straight to the “men’s” options.