Skin care tips: What’s the difference between deodorant and anti-perspirant?

3 minutes to read


Do you ever find that you develop sweat marks half way through the day, or smell less than fresh after a busy morning? You could be confusing anti-perspirant with deodorant. While it may sound obvious, there is a big difference between each, so understanding their purpose is key to ensuring you get the protection you need. Here we breakdown the basics…

What is a deodorant?

Deodorants are designed to protect the body against odour so they generally contain fragrance and alcohol. Deodorants are a great way of freshening up and they’ll keep you smelling great and feeling shower-fresh. They shouldn’t be relied upon to control sweat production, however, so are better suited to more relaxed days.

What is an antiperspirant?

Anti-perspirants actively work to control odour and sweat with ingredients such as aluminium salts. This makes anti-perspirants more suited to days when you’re exercising, more active, in a warm climate or going to be in a pressurised situation.

How should I apply an anti-perspirant and deodorant?

Anti-perspirant is usually applied to the underarms as this is where the main sweat glands are, but you can also apply it to other areas where you perspire such as across the back and along the inner thighs. A deodorant spray on the other hand can be used all over the body to freshen up and maintain that post-shower feeling. You can also find products that provide both deodorising and anti-perspirant protection. Products such as this are ideal if you don’t like to use lots of different products.

Look for gentle formulas

If you have sensitive skin, you may find that some deodorants irritate the delicate underarm area. You can avoid this by using gentle formulas that don’t contain harsh ingredients such as alcohol and aluminium. Sanex Zero Extra Control Roll On, for example, uses gentle alternatives like micro talc to control sweat for up to 48 hours.

How else can you stay smelling fresh?

You can also control body odour and sweat production by cleansing the body once or twice a day with a pH balanced shower gel like Sanex Expert Skin Health Hypoallergenic Shower Gel. Overly fragranced bath and shower products can actually make the problem of body odour worse as they can alter the skin’s pH balance which encourages bacteria to grow. You should also shower immediately after vigorous exercise to reduce odour and bacteria forming on the skin and clinging to your clothes.


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