Deodorant or Antiperspirant: what is the difference between them?

The use of products to control bad odor and perspiration has become almost universal.

Whether they are natural, homemade or produced in factories, several people use them to keep the body dry and with a pleasant smell.

When thinking about this goal, usually one of the first products that comes to mind are deodorants and antiperspirants.

Although popularly known as the same product, they both have different goals and actions.

Keep reading and find out the differences between deodorants and antiperspirants!


What is a deodorant and what is it for?

Deodorant, as the name says, is a product that aims to deodorize, that is, eliminate odor.

Usually used in the underarm area, it serves to disguise the bad smell caused by the contact of bacteria present on the skin with sweat.

Naturally, the sweat of the human body has no smell, since it is formed only by compounds such as mineral salts and cellular debris.

What happens is that, when coming into contact with the skin’s natural bacteria, the nutrients that make up the sweat are broken down by these organisms, causing the bad odor.

Therefore, deodorants have in their composition some antibacterial substances, that is, that inhibit the proliferation of bacteria on the skin.

In addition, in general, the product contains fragrance, which helps to temporarily disguise the bad smell of the region.

What is an antiperspirant and what is it for?

Antiperspirant is a product that serves to inhibit perspiration, that is, the elimination of sweat, keeping the body relatively dry.

It is generally used in the armpits and acts by blocking the sweat-producing glands.

This is due to the presence of aluminum salts in the product formulation. These components form a protective film on the skin, which inhibits the release of sweat by the sweat glands.

In addition, the product also stimulates the contraction of the glands, so that they temporarily produce less sweat.

This way, the body tends to stay dry for longer.

What is the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant?

Deodorant and antiperspirant are two products that serve different purposes, as already described in the previous topics.

In general, the main differences between the products are:

Fights bad odorFight the sweat
Eliminates odor-causing bacteriaInhibits sweat gland activity
It has fragranceToilet
Keeps the body smellingKeeps the body dry
There is no aluminum in the compositionThere is aluminum in the composition

The main distinction between products is aluminum salts.

In general, many brands do not differentiate between names and, even if the product offers combat against both bad smell and excessive sweat, they do not use the antiperspirant deodorant nomenclature.

Thus, it is worth checking the ingredients of the product at the time of purchase. If metal is present in the composition, it has antiperspirant action.

Which one is the best?

Deodorants and antiperspirants, although often confused as the same product, serve different purposes. So, in order to know which one to use, it is important to understand the objective of each person.

For people who do not have a high production of sweat, however, suffer from the bad smell, deodorant can solve the problem.

For those who release a large amount of sweat during the day, antiperspirant is the best option, as it will help to keep the body dry.

In addition to these two categories, there is another type of product that combines the anti-odor action of one with the anti-perspiration action of the other. It is the Antiperspirant Deodorant.

Antiperspirant deodorants

Antiperspirant deodorants were developed with the aim of combining the anti-odor and anti-perspiration action in a single product.

Like deodorant, it has antibacterial substances that inhibit the growth of some bacteria on the skin, which eliminates the bad smell.

In addition, like the antiperspirant, the product has aluminum derivatives in its composition, which provides control of sweat production.

Thus, it is the ideal product for those who suffer from both the discomfort caused by odor problems and sweating.

Are they bad?

There is no consensus about the harm caused by the use of deodorants and antiperspirants.

Some professionals indicate that the use of antiperspirant, which has aluminum derivatives in its composition, can be bad for your health in the long run.

One reason is the study carried out by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and released by the International Journal of Cancer (IJC) in 2016, which indicated that the aluminum present in the product may contribute to the incidence of breast cancer .

The experiment consisted of exposing cells of the mammary gland in vitro (that is, outside the living body) to the metal, in the long term. This experience was later reproduced in mice.

At the end of the research, it was found that aluminum caused changes in the mammary epithelial cells, enabling the formation of tumors.

Despite this, the experiments carried out were not enough to prove, in fact, the real possibility of developing cancer due to the use of antiperspirants.

According to the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA), there is currently insufficient data to prove the relationship between the use of antiperspirants and breast cancer.

In addition, the association of the product with other diseases such as Alzheimer’s is also not proven.

In general, the direct harm that can occur in some people due to the use of antiperspirants, is the allergic reaction in the place. If it does, stop using and consult a doctor.

Types of antiperspirant deodorant

Currently, there are several options for presenting antiperspirant deodorants, such as aerosol, roll-on, cream, among others.

Its main features are:


The aerosol consists of the product in liquid form which, combined with a propellant gas – which aims to propel the liquid out of the container – promotes the application of deodorant in the form of a jet, when the packaging valve is activated.

In general, it should be applied at least 15 cm away from the armpits and is the version that provides the fastest drying of the product.


Roll-on deodorant is the one usually in the form of a stick, which comes in direct contact with the skin.

Drying takes longer than the other presentations, but in general, it guarantees complete application throughout the armpit.


The cream version is generally one of the least used, but similarly effective.

It is applied with the hands and, in general, they have substances in its composition, which promote the skin softness.

What is the price and where to buy?

The price of the products may vary according to the geographic region and establishment of purchase.

They can be found in cosmetic houses, markets and physical pharmacies and online.

In general, some options and their values ​​are *:

  • Desodorante Feminino Nivea Invisible For Black & White — R$6,61;
  • Garnier Bí-O Female Deodorant – R $ 5.63;
  • Desodorante Antitranspirante Above Women — R$5,11;
  • Herbíssimo Deodorant – R $ 2.96;
  • Bozzano Male Deodorant – R $ 5.99;
  • Dry Ax Antiperspirant Deodorant – $ 7.77;
  • Old Spice Male Antiperspirant Deodorant – R $ 9.34;
  • Barra Antitranspirante Nivea Men Clinical Intense Control — R$17,24.

If there is a need to compare prices, it is possible to use the Consulta Remédios website , which indicates the values ​​of hygiene products in different pharmacies in each region.

* Prices consulted in March 2020. Prices may change. 

When it comes to fighting bad smell and sweat, the product that usually comes to mind is deodorant.

However, it is important to know the different types of solutions available on the market, to choose the best option at the time of purchase.

Want to know more about personal care and health ? The Healthy Minute has other complete content for you! Read more and stay informed!