Sweating is our body’s natural response to any strenuous activity, sense of fear, anxiety, spicy food, or heat. The main function of sweat is to control body temperature. As the water in the sweat evaporates, the surface of the skin cools. Nevertheless, sweat can become a source of embarrassment during a social gathering or an important presentation with its odour or unsightly stains. Even if you can get past the visual of sweat stains, the odour it produces may cause embarrassment.
This is when a deodorant or antiperspirant comes in handy. Using such products is a part of the everyday grooming practice for many people. However, most of us may not know when to use deodorant and when to use an antiperspirant. As these personal care items aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution, it’s crucial to understand the difference between the two while shopping for them.
Deodorants are formulated to eliminate armpit odour but not perspiration. If body odour is your primary concern, deodorant should be your first line of defense. They’re typically alcohol-based. When applied, they turn your skin acidic, which makes it less attractive to bacteria.
Deodorants commonly contain perfume that gets rid of sticky, icky, and funky smells and keeps you fresh all day. This product is generally applied directly to the armpits. By swiping the deodorant stick a few times in the underarm area, you can expect a reduction of any unwanted smells, but it won’t stop you from sweating in the first place. You should apply deodorants after taking a shower and drying yourself completely.
You may use a deodorant before going to bed to enhance your mood and feel relaxed. Deodorant is entirely safe to reapply throughout the day if you’re looking for extra odour protection. Take care not to excessively slather it on, though. As deodorants are available in a variety of scents, select one that doesn’t clash with your cologne or perfume, or pick a fragrance-free option if you’re you have a sensitive skin.
An antiperspirant is designed to control perspiration before it starts. The active ingredients in antiperspirants contain aluminum-based compounds that create a thin layer of gel that sits on top of your sweat glands. This helps plug or block them temporarily, which significantly reduces the amount of sweat that reaches the skin’s surface, causing wet armpits. Thus, an antiperspirant eliminates odour and helps to keep your underarms fresh and dry. If over-the-counter antiperspirants are unable to control your sweating, prescription antiperspirants are available. Make sure to apply your antiperspirant right before you go to sleep as it protects you from sweat the next day by working on clean and dry skin.
Both antiperspirants and deodorants hold distinct benefits and properties that might make you wonder about the difference between an antiperspirant and a deodorant. Let us look at the main differences between the two.
Deodorant keeps odour at bay, while antiperspirant prevents sweat. While the goal of a deodorant is to make you smell good, an antiperspirant helps keep you dry.
Scientists have made a clear distinction between a deodorant and an antiperspirant. As per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a deodorant is considered a cosmetic product as its purpose is to cleanse and beautify.
On the other hand, antiperspirants are clearly labelled as an over-the-counter (OTC) drug that can “treat or prevent disease or affect the structure or function of the body.” Clinical or prescription-strength antiperspirants cater to excessive sweaters.
Antiperspirant is supposed to be applied at night when the sweat glands are less active, and body temperature is low. This way, it reduces perspiration on the following day. Antiperspirants should not be reapplied multiple times. However, deodorant should ideally be applied in the morning after bath and can be reapplied throughout the day.
The ingredients of deodorants are usually alcohol-based, preventing bacteria from building up on your skin, while their soothing fragrance masks the smell. A natural deodorant contains vital ingredients like baking soda, coconut oil and activated charcoal, while the main ingredient in an antiperspirant is aluminum. The active component (along with zirconium salts) can control the amount of sweat you produce and prevent sweat from seeping through the pores to the surface.
Despite their differences, there are two main benefits of applying deodorant and antiperspirant – moisture and smell.
Sweat-producing glands are present in the deeper layer of the skin – the dermis. Sweat glands occur all over the body, but are mostly present on the armpits, forehead, palms, and feet soles. Sweat is mainly clear water that contains some salts. The primary function of this cooling mechanism is to shed excess heat and control body temperature. As the sweat evaporates, the surface of the skin cools down. As armpits have a higher density of sweat glands than other body parts, the sweat tends to soak through the clothing, causing stains and body odour.
Sweat itself is an odourless liquid. Body odour occurs when sweat mixes with naturally occurring bacteria on your skin. The bacteria breaks down sweat while the bacterial flatulence produces the odour. The damp warmth of the armpit area offers a conducive environment for bacterial growth. The apocrine glands located in the armpits, groin, and nipple area produce sweat that is high in protein, letting bacteria break down easily.
Everyone has a personal odour. When this odour becomes too strong and starts making you uncomfortable, it becomes a problem. While choosing a deodorant, we need to remember that it’s essentially a cosmetic that would work to mask or neutralise the body odour. However, an antiperspirant is a drug containing aluminum compounds that reduces perspiration by temporarily blocking your sweat glands. It boils down to what suits your preference and sweat level when deciding between the two products.
For those who sweat lightly and want to eradicate body odour, deodorant is the way-to-go. Alternately, those who sweat profusely or get substantial underarm sweat stains, antiperspirant is the better choice. Since antiperspirant blocks sweat production, theoretically, there shouldn’t be any sweat for the bacteria on your skin to cling on to and produce body odour. However, inappropriate use of antiperspirants can stimulate the growth of odour-causing bacteria. Antiperspirant rolls don’t leave a trace after application and help to stay comfortable throughout the day. Deodorants may leave behind white residue on your skin and clothes. A gentle antiperspirant can be used to prevent irritation on sensitive skin.
So, ultimately, use your judgment while picking the right antiperspirant that has to be applied in the correct way for best results. Moreover, when deodorant and antiperspirants are combined together to serve twin purposes simultaneously, they may not be as effective. It is always better to use different deodorants and antiperspirants. Use antiperspirant before you go to bed and deodorant in the morning for reaping the maximum benefits out of the two. Different levels of sweating might require different strengths of antiperspirants. Try a product labeled as extra or clinical strength for intense sweating, or consult your physician and ask for a prescription antiperspirant.
Most deodorants can be reapplied every 24-48 hours as needed to stay fresh. Antiperspirants claim to provide 12 to 48-hour protection, unless you struggle with excessive sweat, which would require reapplication during the day. The most recommended time to apply antiperspirant is at night for increasing its efficacy. Usually, your sweat glands become less active after a busy day – the body temperature falls and your skin gets drier. When we apply antiperspirant during this time, the skin soaks it well and protects us from sweating the next morning.
Here are a few tips to apply your favourite antiperspirant or deodorant that will help you stay fresh and cool, even on a busy day:
Although sweating is vitally important for body temperature regulation and your overall health, it has earned itself a bad reputation and is considered gross. Fortunately, we have a host of commercially manufactured or natural antiperspirants and deodorants that will aid in addressing our problem of sweat and body odour and make us feel more confident and less self-conscious. Your needs may change depending on your work schedule, whether you’re exercising hard or spending a lot of time outdoors in the sun, etc. Reach out to a physician if you are concerned about excessive sweating.
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This post was last modified on August 18, 2021 8:13 pm
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