Antiperspirant vs Deodorant: What Is the Difference?

Deodorant vs antiperspirant - both reduce body odor, but they do so in different ways. Some people prefer deodorants due to concerns about aluminum compounds typically found in antiperspirants, although research indicates this isn't a 100% cause for concern. Let’s dive deeper so that by the end of this article, you will have all the information to choose the right one for you. 


What does deodorant do? Deodorants are formulated to eliminate body odor but not the level of perspiration. They contain antimicrobial properties that reduce the number of odor-causing bacteria that come into contact with your sweat, and they also include fragrances to keep you smelling good.


If you are wondering then… 'what is antiperspirant, and how does it differ from deodorant, if both eliminate body odor?' the short answer is that antiperspirants contain an active ingredient, aluminum, which forms a temporary plug at the surface of your sweat ducts, preventing sweat from reaching your skin. While both eliminate body odor, antiperspirants also prevent your body from sweating. 

Understanding Deodorant And Antiperspirant

So far we know that the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant lies in their functions: deodorant manages body odor, while antiperspirants reduce sweating as well. Both products work wherever they are applied to your body, most commonly under your arms.

Deodorants provide dual protection against odor. They Re formulated with antimicrobial agents that kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria on the skin. Additionally, deodorants are often formulated with pleasant fragrances to keep you smelling fresh throughout the day.

Antiperspirants, on the other hand,  block your body's sweat glands by using an aluminum-based ingredient.

Both antiperspirants and deodorants are approved as safe products for everyday use, with no proven harmful side effects. However, due to concerns about ingredients such as aluminum and parabens, there has been an increase in the availability of natural alternatives and non-toxic formulas. It's important to note that both the FDA and the National Cancer Institute have stated that deodorants and antiperspirants are not linked to an increased risk of cancer.

Deodorant and Antiperspirant Benefits

Benefits of deodorant:

Sweating is one of your body’s natural processes with many benefits, such as releasing toxins and regulating body temperature. Deodorants don't interfere with this process but still help control the body odor.

Even better, deodorant can help you feel more confident and less self-conscious. Whether you're working out at the gym or participating in a competitive sport, you can perform more effectively if you're not worried about body odor.

Benefits of antiperspirant

The primary benefit of using antiperspirant is that it helps prevent excess sweat, which can be visible through clothing. If you want to avoid body odor and reduce the amount of sweat, antiperspirant is the right product for you.

Is Antiperspirant bad for you? 

Antiperspirants have gotten a bad reputation in recent years, some worry that excess exposure to aluminum compounds is tied to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. However, specialists say there is no direct link between aluminum in antiperspirants and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Another concern is that using a product with aluminum close to breast tissue would increase the risk of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, there is limited scientific evidence linking antiperspirant use to breast cancer risk.

It's important to note that concerns are about specific ingredients used in deodorants or antiperspirants. Reading labels on these products and doing small patch tests on your skin is the best way to determine if you might have an allergic reaction to a deodorant or antiperspirant.

Triclosan: is an antibacterial chemical used in antiperspirants and deodorants to kill odor-causing germs on the skin. However, it is an endocrine disruptor and can mimic natural hormones, potentially interfering with your body's hormonal signaling.

Triclosan has also been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Although the FDA has banned its use in hand soaps, it may still be present in your deodorant or antiperspirant. Therefore, it's important to read labels carefully.

Phthalates: are commonly found in various cosmetic and skincare products, including deodorants and antiperspirants. These chemicals help make other ingredients flexible and extend the lifespan of added fragrances.

Phthalates are concerning because they may disrupt the endocrine system, particularly in males. Additionally, they can lead to an earlier onset of puberty in young women, and further increase the risk of breast cancer later in life.

Parabens: these preservatives help extend the shelf life of your antiperspirant and deodorant. However they can mimic estrogen, and interfere with the endocrine system. This can lead to hormonal imbalances and potentially affect reproductive health. 

Additionally, there is some evidence suggesting a possible link between parabens and an increased risk of breast cancer, as they have been found in breast tissue. Moreover, parabens can cause allergic reactions and skin irritation, particularly in individuals with sensitive skin or allergies.

While parabens are approved for use in cosmetics and skin care products in many countries, these potential risks have led to increased demand for paraben-free alternatives.

Fragrances: are among the most common causes of allergic reactions and skin irritation, leading to contact dermatitis, itching, redness, and swelling in sensitive individuals. Inhalation of fragrance compounds can also trigger respiratory problems such as asthma or exacerbate existing respiratory conditions. 

Diethanolamine (DEA): is an ingredient that is sometimes used in deodorants as an emulsifier or foaming agent. While DEA itself is not considered harmful, it can react with other ingredients in deodorants to form potentially harmful compounds such as nitrosamines. 

Nitrosamines have been linked to various cancers, including bladder, stomach, and pancreatic cancer, in animal studies. In addition to the risk of nitrosamine formation, DEA can also cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in those with sensitive skin or allergies. 

Aluminum: some researchers have suggested that aluminum compounds in antiperspirants may be absorbed by the skin and affect estrogen receptors in breast cells, potentially increasing the risk of breast cancer. However, studies have found that only a small fraction of aluminum is absorbed through the skin, and breast cancer tissue does not contain higher levels of aluminum compared to normal breast tissue. 

Benefits of Aluminum-Free Deodorant

Looking for a product to combat body odor without interfering with your body's natural sweating process? Consider choosing an aluminum-free natural deodorant. Natural deodorants are usually formulated with gentle, skin-friendly ingredients, reducing the risk of irritation or allergic reactions. They are suitable for individuals with sensitive skin or anyone with skin conditions such as eczema or dermatitis.

OffCourt Performance Body Sprays provide you with a spray alternative to feel fresh and smell great. They are not only aluminum-free but also formulated with powerful deodorizing and prebiotic ingredients to trap odor, keeping you odor-free all day and they come in three premium unisex scents to choose from. OffCourt is a nontoxic brand that refrains from using risky ingredients stated above. The products are also approved by dermatologists for all sensitive skin.

Performance Body Spray - Trio Pack


Final thoughts

Not all deodorants and antiperspirants are made equally; they have different purposes and ingredients. Being an informed consumer will help you shop smart and find the products that fit your lifestyle. 

OffCourt offers skin-friendly deodorants, body washes, fragrances, and other products that contain natural ingredients. Minimize the unwanted effects of sweat and maximize your body’s ability to thrive with hygiene products created for active lifestyles. Give your body what it deserves today.

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