The halos that could be caused by our underarm sweat and our body odor create a fear that is beneficial to personal care product manufacturers. Walk up and down the alley of deodorants and antiperspirants, and you could get your shirt while trying to fix your choice on a product.
What is the difference between an antiperspirant and a deodorant?
You need to consider 2 important facts about sweat: it is essentially water and is odorless. That’s right: it’s the bacteria that live on or under our skin that gives sweat an unpleasant smell. Antiperspirants are designed to deal with wetness, while deodorant alters the stench caused by the action of bacteria.
The names of these two products are confused constantly, and some preparations are duplicated by acting both as antiperspirant and deodorant. But the mode of action of the two products is quite different and moreover each of them is regulated differently.
According to Health Canada, a deodorant is a beauty product because it is used only to mask or neutralize the body odor caused by bacteria. On the other hand, an antiperspirant is considered a “medicine” because it does change the function of the skin, even if it only temporarily blocks sweat.
How do they act?
The deodorants: our armpits are hosting a large number of sweat glands. They form shelters whose heat is conducive to the growth of bacteria. Deodorants contain acidic or salty ingredients that make them a little less hospitable. Without bacteria, sweat does not smell. Some deodorants also contain scents that mask unpleasant body odors.
The antiperspirants: Read the label on most antiperspirants, and you will find that the active ingredients include aluminum compounds. These compounds are absorbed by the skin. They stop perspiration by temporarily blocking the sweat ducts. This “plug” only remains in place for a short time, which is why we must renew the application of an antiperspirant to take advantage of its protection.
Which product to choose?
Since many products contain both antiperspirant and deodorant ingredients, you will probably use one or the other without thinking too much about it. In fact, it’s a matter of preference. Base your decision on your personal needs. First, look at the aspect of perspiration you want to measure for: wetness or smell – or both?
People are looking for a product with the power to fight both sweat and stench, while others favor the single action deodorant. Choose a scent-free preparation with your favorite perfume, and also think about its contact with your skin – do you prefer a wet or dry application? You can adopt a product for sensitive skin, or one of the various substitutes without aluminum made with crystals of mineral salts.
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