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Deodorant and antiperspirant

Most people experience some degree of sweating and body odor throughout their day, and the products in this section are specifically designed to address this common issue. Though they’re all designed for the same basic purpose, the products in this section are typically formulated to address a very specific need, with brands making their deodorants and antiperspirants for a specific audience of either men or women. Learning more about what’s available in this section can make it easier for you to find exactly the right product to suit your individual needs.

What’s the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant?

Before making a purchase in this product category, it’s important to understand the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant. Deodorant is designed to cover or neutralize body odor, while antiperspirant is designed to minimize sweat or stop sweat glands from producing moisture. If you typically experience more body odor than actual dampness, you'll likely prefer deodorant. On the other hand, if you tend to feel uncomfortable with the amount of sweat your body produces, you may prefer antiperspirant. Antiperspirants help fight odor by reducing sweat production. Deodorants are more likely to produce a strong smell, though some antiperspirants may include scents. You may also be able to find combination antiperspirant and deodorant products to address both issues.

Similarities: Both of these products are temporary and do not bring about a permanent change — you must reapply them on a regular basis, typically daily or after bathing. Additionally, both deodorants and antiperspirants are generally designed for underarm use only. You shouldn't apply them to other parts of your body unless the product packaging indicates otherwise.

What to look for while shopping for deodorant or antiperspirant

There are several factors to consider while you're picking out the right antiperspirant or deodorant. First, you should decide whether antiperspirant or deodorant is best for your needs, or whether a combination of the two is necessary. Then, you can consider additional criteria to narrow down your options and make a purchase.

Formula: Products in this section may be formulated to address specific needs beyond deodorizing or sweat control. These include skin concerns such as sensitive skin; if you experience underarm irritation when using the wrong deodorant or antiperspirant, you may want to focus on gentle or sensitive formulas. Other formulas are designed for heavy-duty protection or 24-hour coverage. These may be less gentle on your skin due to their heavy concentration of ingredients. Deodorants can also leave a chalky white residue on your underarms, which may rub off on clothing. If you're concerned with this, you may want to focus on formulas specifically designed to apply or dry clear.

Scent: Scented deodorants are typically designed for a specific gender, with deodorants for men often featuring muskier or spicier smells than the floral, fruity or powdery scents added into women’s deodorant. Some men and women may find that they prefer scents marketed to the opposite gender, so if you tend to prefer different scents, consider this before making a choice. Scents may not be defined clearly in name or product description, with scent names like “Bearglove” or “Shower Fresh” providing little context for what the product will actually smell like. If you're sensitive to smells or are very choosy about perfumes or colognes, opt for an easily recognizable scent or for an unscented product.

Ingredients: Some people are concerned that aluminum, an active ingredient in some antiperspirant and deodorant formulas, may cause cancer and other issues. While there's currently no substantiated evidence to validate these fears, you may choose to avoid this ingredient anyway. Products in this section that don't include aluminum will typically say so either on their product packaging or in the name of the product, which may include descriptors such as “healthy” or “all natural.” If you're concerned about the presence of aluminum in your deodorant or antiperspirant, carefully read product descriptions and ingredient lists before purchasing.

Application method: Most of the products in this section come in stick form, which you can then roll on under your arms. Clear formulations usually come in stick form with a gel-like texture, though these dispense in a similar manner to other formulations. Some deodorants come in spray form, which you might prefer if you find stick deodorants too thick or uncomfortable under your arms.