Deodorant vs Antiperspirant: Which Is Better to Use?

What to Look For

Deodorant vs antiperspirant. These two, in most instances, go hand in hand. However, people tend to immediately associate one with the other. In reality, they are two very different things. The difference between deodorant and antiperspirant is quite simple. Deodorant deodorizes your underarms, while antiperspirant prevents you, or at least helps you to not sweat so much. While most commercial deodorants also work as an antiperspirant, there are many natural alternatives that focus on one problem or the other. 

How Do They Work?

The science behind deodorant vs antiperspirant is actually quite simple, especially when you break down each ingredient and realize what exactly they do. When looking at straight forward deodorant, they can work in a few different ways. Some deodorants, specifically the cheaper brands, will just mask your body odor with a powerful scent. However, the most deodorants do something a bit more scientific. These will have an ingredient in them that is acidic or salty, meant to kill bacteria or at the least make your underarms a less fun place to be in for bacteria. This means that there will be no bacteria to mix with your sweat, which means no bad smell. Of course, these will also typically contain a scent to make you smell fresh as well. 


What is antiperspirant? With antiperspirants, these do their best at keeping your sweat at bay. This is usually done by use of any number of aluminum compounds. These will create a plug of sorts, that will act as a dam against your sweat ducts. However, the plug will only last for a little while before dissolving, so you will need to reapply as necessary.

Now there is a controversy around aluminum being used in antiperspirants. The theory is that aluminum clogging your sweat ducts is highly non-beneficial and potentially harmful for your body, as sweat is a natural bodily function and it helps clean out toxins in your body. There is another rumor floating around that the aluminum can lead to breast cancer. However, there is little to none scientific evidence of aluminum compounds in deodorants/antiperspirants contributing at all to the possibility of breast cancer.

That being said, the most common complaint when it comes to aluminum compounds is skin irritation, which there is scientific proof of. There are various studies out there can confirm or deny different rumors or theories, so it can get confusing to differentiate between who is right and who is wrong. Now of course, there are multiple natural alternatives to aluminum compounds, but we will cover those in a moment.

Finding What Works Best for You

Like I said before, when looking at deodorant vs antiperspirant, it is extremely common to find one product that does both. In fact, most commercial brands do that. But why? Well, body odor and sweat tend to go hand in hand. Body odor is created by your sweat mixing with both protein and bacteria that comes from the environment of your armpits. So if you have one product that both prevents sweating and creates an atmosphere where bacteria can not thrive, you have the standard deodorant/antiperspirant. 

When to Use What

A simple way to look at deodorant vs antiperspirant is to ask yourself, "what do you suffer from the most? Sweat or body odor?" And this question is easily answered by getting a combination of the two. But if you are looking for a natural alternative, this is where you really need to think about your body. Many natural deodorants tend to focus on one problem or the other. It is surprisingly uncommon for a natural product to handle both. 

So, which one should you use? Well, if you struggle with sweat more than body odor, get yourself an antiperspirant. On the other hand, if you tend to get really smelly, get yourself a deodorant. And if you have a problem with sweating a lot and smelling a lot, then you get a combination of both. Of course, then the choice becomes less of deodorant vs antiperspirant and more of what ingredients, what scent, how much can I spend, etc. 

Natural Alternatives 

Nearly every commercial deodorant has certain chemicals and compounds that allow it to perform the way the label claims. Unfortunately, a lot of these chemicals and compounds have been linked to health issues, some of them can be very serious issues like cancer. In addition you can often find other compounds in regular deodorants. Parabens prolong the shelf life. They can irritate the skin and affect your hormonal balance causing hair loss. Parfum or synthetic fragrance, can cause skin irritation. Propylene glycol and other toxins as well. Natural deodorant uses only natural ingredients to keep your underarms fresh. Meaning, no chemicals, no synthetic compounds, no heavy metals, etc. These natural deodorants include ingredients such as witch hazel, essential oils, mineral salts, baking soda, and even sometimes hops. 

When looking for the best natural deodorant for men, there is actually a lot you can choose from. Of course, most men will just go for the good ol' stick deodorant because that is what most are used to. But, there are a bunch more out there that are actually pretty cool. There are 6 popular types of natural deodorant. Each have their own special properties that may appeal to you over another type. The most popular types that you'll find are cream deodorant, spray, crystal, powder, tallow, and the ever popular stick. 

Some of these are much more unique than others. Of course, the bulk of us are used to either the spray or stick. But the crystal is one in particular that might grab your attention as it uses mineral salts to minimize body odor. Cream deodorant is also pretty cool because it both deodorizes and works as an antiperspirant. 

Don't Be Afraid to Experiment

While many will probably choose to stay in their comfort zone, it's always great to try something new. You may find that one of these works better for you than another. So why not experiment a little bit? After all, the search for the best natural deodorant for men may take a little time to test out. Be sure to take natural alternatives into consideration when comparing deodorant vs antiperspirant.

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The way deodorants and antiperspirants work is all thanks to their ingredients. In the case of deodorant, they utilize antiseptic agents to destroy the bacteria responsible for creating body odor. When it comes to natural alternatives, there are many ingredients that have natural antibacterial properties that can be highly beneficial in deodorant. Some of these ingredients could be like essential oils of lavender, tea tree, lemongrass, or thyme.

In antiperspirants, the ingredients used here are meant to prevent, or at least lessen, the flow of sweat throughout the day. Of course the most common ingredient is some form of aluminum compound. However, like with deodorants, there are many natural ingredients that can be taken advantage of as well. Most of these are natural absorptive power, like baking soda, corn starch, or tapioca powder. This will help to minimize moisture and adjust the pH in the area. Unfortunately, when it comes to people with sensitive skin, baking soda is often far too harsh for them and it can actually cause a rash. So just be sure to check your sensitivity before using a deodorant or antiperspirant with baking soda. 

Final Thoughts:

If you are asking what is better, deodorant or antiperspirant, you are asking the wrong question. Both are great in their own respect. It really all depends on you and your needs. If you find yourself struggling with excessive underarm sweat, than you probably could benefit from an antiperspirant. However, if you have a lot of body odor, then deodorant is the way to go. And of course, there are many natural alternatives to the standard deodorant products on the market. If you are looking to avoid the many chemicals, aluminum, or simply trying to live a greener, more natural life, then there are many to choose from. We even made a list of the best natural deodorants to choose from. 


When it comes down to deodorant vs antiperspirant, the answer is completely up to you. In general, one is not better than the other, it all has to do with your needs. Now, if you are looking for the best all around product, that would be a deodorant + antiperspirant, as it covers all bases. Making it the best overall choice for you. But like I just said, it is completely up to you. For any other information regarding natural alternatives, or anything else green, head on back to Green and Growing. 

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Patrick Sands

Hey, I'm Pat. I am a Millersville grad with a Bachelors of Arts in English. I love to write, play video games, watch movies and TV, basically be a total nerd whenever I can. Green and Growing is important to me because it allows me to help others be as green and eco-friendly as possible. With Climate Change being what it is, it is even more important for people to get educated about their environment. This website allows me to do my part in that. Also, I'm a huge goof who tries to add some humor into anything I write. Stay Excellent out there!

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