Do I Need & Should I Use Deodorant or Antiperspirant?

Many people deal with excessive sweat on a daily basis, but don't know whether to use deodorant or antiperspirant. Here's what you should do to control sweat and eliminate bad odor.
Do I Need & Should I Use Deodorant or Antiperspirant?

The answer depends. Most adults need to use some type of sweat control product on a regular basis to appear and smell hygienic. This is because of physiological changes that occur during puberty which affect the axillary region (armpit). However, some people, like those who have conditions that cause them to sweat too much or have especially stinky sweat, need extra help. These conditions are called Hyperhidrosis and Bromhidrosis respectively. The average adult needs to shower regularly and use deodorant on a daily basis to stay clean and keep odor to a minimum, but people with excessive sweating need to use a different regimen.[1]

People with Hyperhidrosis should almost always use some type of antiperspirant as their first line of defence against sweat. It can also be helpful to use deodorant in addition to antiperspirant, or a combination product that contains both. Many people who are first learning how to deal with Hyperhidrosis wonder what antiperspirant is and how it differs from deodorant. Antiperspirant is a substance that contains an active ingredient that can reduce sweat production. Most antiperspirants contain metallic salts, like aluminum chloride, that form a superficial plug inside of sweat glands which prevents sweat from escaping onto the surface of the skin. Antiperspirant is crucial for people who have overactive sweat glands because it reduces the amount of sweat they have to deal with. However, deodorant is also important. Human sweat is originally clear and odorless when it leaves the body, but bacteria on the skin metabolize it and produce bad smelling waste products that people recognize as the scent of body odor. Deodorants contain antibacterial properties that help to eliminate the bacteria and they have a scent which can mask any unfortunate smells that are produced throughout the day. Therefore, people with excessive sweat should ideally use both products.[2][3]

It can be a struggle to choose the right over-the-counter antiperspirant when starting out, especially because everyone is different. Reading and understanding the active ingredients used in antiperspirants is a good place to start. Dermatologists are the best doctors to treat Hyperhidrosis, and you can always ask your dermatologist for a recommendation if you are overwhelmed by all of the choices. There are also certain deodorants that are better for Hyperhidrosis than others, so take your time when choosing a product. It often takes trial and error to find the right fit, but having the right antiperspirant deodorant, or the right combination of products, will have a profound impact on your ability to manage your sweat.

Sources
  1. “Body Odour Is Preventable.” This Day, 15 June 2017.
  2. Pariser, D. M. (2014). Hyperhidrosis (4th ed., Vol. 32). Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier.
  3. Zirwas, M. J., & Moennich, J. (2008). Antiperspirant and Deodorant Allergy Diagnosis and Management. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 1(3), 38-43. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
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