Deodorant vs Antiperspirant

Mar 01 , 2022

Deodorant vs Antiperspirant

We are designed to sweat and sweating helps regulate body temperature and rid the body of toxins. There are two types of sweat glands - eccrine glands and apocrine glands. Eccrine glands are distributed all over the body but are more numerous in the armpits, soles of the feet and palms of your hands. Sweat is odourless when fresh but as bacteria break it down it begins to smell. Apocrine glands are found under the arms, underside of breasts and the groin. After puberty the sweat from these glands contain pheromones, the personal scent that most people find unpleasant. Bacteria that normally live on the skin break down this sweat and this produces offensive odour. The higher the level of bacteria or apocrine sweat production, the worse the smell.  Deodorants do not prevent sweating; they mask the smell that the sweat eating bacteria produce. They are solely designed to control odour. 

Antiperspirants may contain a deodorant but the key ingredient is aluminium salts. When applied to the armpit and it comes in contact with sweat, pH rises and causes the aluminium salt to precipitate out and form a plug over the sweat glands. Then any sweat produced by the body cannot reach the skin surface.  Some people are more at risk at reacting to antiperspirant formulations: those with eczema, sensitive skin, prone to razor burn and contact allergies to the likes of dyes, fragrance or preservatives. Antiperspirants can also cause underarm irritation such as rashes and small pimples.  

Interestingly when aluminium and sweat combine it also leaves your lovely white t-shirts with yellow underarm stains that can be so difficult to get out. 

The debate about the safety of these products has been around for years and at the end of the day there is still no 100% conclusive evidence that they cause or contribute to Alzheimer's disease or breast cancer. Research is mixed on whether aluminium from antiperspirants can build up in your body. However, given that the aluminium actually stops you sweating and sweating is a perfectly natural bodily function it does make you think about what the long-term consequences may be and future research may dig up other issues. Here at the Bethlehem Health Shop, we have an extensive range of lovely natural deodorants. Check out our website, or pop into the shop to choose your deodorant today.