Antiperspirant vs Deodorant

Some of us love antiperspirants that reduce the sweaty marks on our underarms. But we find that they are often full of chemical ingredients that few of us understand yet are happy to ignore. Deodorants work in a different way to reduce body odour and are mostly (not all) made with harmless ingredients. It’s a complex puzzle for many of us who care about who we are and how we take care of our bodies. So, today, we thought that we would write a little in explanation about both options; the good points and the bad points in both, and link it to a really excellent, in-depth scientific paper on the subject.

First, let us speak about the smell

Why does sweat in our armpits stink so much? In simple terms, the bacteria in our underarms (axilla) take innocent, non-smelly sweat and turn it into our human pong. These bacteria can also be found between our legs and inside our ears and they secrete a substance that might be mistaken for sweat. But it’s not salty water. It’s a thick secretion released by apocrine glands that’s full of fatty chemicals called lipids.

What happens in our armpits when we sweat? Even if we only sweat slightly, this secretion is broken down by the normally harmless bacteria that reside like millions of others on the surface of the skin. However, when some kinds of bacteria encounter sweat they produce smelly compounds, transforming the armpit from a neutral oasis to the headquarters of body odour.

What are bacteria?  Bacteria coat our skin. There are good types and bad types. Few have stinky side effects, but Staphylocci or staph as the nurses speak about in hospitals, are a group of bacteria that live all over the body. Within them, there is a particular species which only appears to grow in the underarm and they are known as Staphylococcus hominis and this is the rascal that causes the problem. This germ takes up residence in your pits because it loves to dine on sweat.

Does sweat smell? Sweat on its own has no smell. But by the time S. hominis is done with it, the fluid in it has been transformed into a type of sulphurous molecule called a thioalcohol and it’s the alcohol part of this that ensures that the chemical escapes easily into the air – and with it, the stink.

Next, let’s talk about Antiperspirants

How do antiperspirants work? They work by controlling the body with soluble metallic salts such as aluminium or other (possibly nasty) chemicals that are sprayed onto the skin in the axilla (armpit) where they are used to block the sweat ducts in the skin. This isn’t a natural thing to do and it leaves several questions that we cannot find easy answers to, such as: Is this is altering what the body does naturally? What happens to the sweat that never reaches the surface of the skin? Where does it go to? Is this bad for us? Does it affect us in other ways?

Are antiperspirants irritant? By their very nature they can be irritant, especially if you have sensitive skin. In worse cases they can cause eczema and even contact dermatitis. The skin under the arm is in most of us, delicate, and damp and more so if we have been exercising or are stressed. The skin, in a way, can be described as a thousand open mouths waiting to absorb what we put on it, and if this is a chemical, then we have to ask the question – what damage is it doing to the user?

Are there bad chemicals in antiperspirants? Not all cosmetic companies are bad, but some used the pesticide Triclosan in their antiperspirants. It is the worst culprit and something that the cosmetics industry should be ashamed of. Back in 1960, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) knew all about Triclosan, but due to industry pressure did not make a final determination to ban it until 2016. In the years in between, its use in consumer products included antibacterial liquid soaps, body washes, mouthwash, toothpaste, and it was a popular ingredient in some the world’s best-selling antiperspirants. Worst of all, it was shocking for us to discover that the trade name for Triclosan is 5-Chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy), a phenol that was manufactured from the same raw material as 2,4-D, a component of the infamous Vietnam war defoliant known as Agent Orange.

A little about Deodorants

Are Deodorants gentle?  Organic deodorants such as SkinLikes Deo for women (or men) are a gentler form of control of our own, very personal under-arm aroma, if that is, they are manufactured using clean, plant-based ingredients – and soft water – as we do.

Which deodorant is safe? There are hundreds of different variants of deodorant made from all sorts of sometimes crazy ingredients, so you have to be careful in selection.

SkinLikes Deo for Women answers all of the questions that we raise here by using ingredients that all come from Mother Earth. Clinically proven for effectiveness, this clean, eco-friendly organic deodorant is the best body hygiene product that you are going to find.

How is a deodorant made? We can’t answer for other companies, but ours is alcohol, aluminium, and paraben free, and it is specially formulated with rare, essential oils that nourish and protect delicate under-arms. The oils kill the bacteria that cause the smell and they are harvested from plants grown in sustainable, wild and natural locations around the world and sent to us by artisan suppliers. In a way it’s a magical formula that does the work of killing the bacteria while not harming in any way, the user. It took us years to perfect it in our laboratory. The result is the lovely product that we bring to you today.

Our advice: If you are considering using an antiperspirant, then please read the label, and then have a good think about what the ingredients may be doing to you. On the other hand, if you reckon that a little bit of sweat is not going to do you much harm, but you really need to deal with the smell, then a SkinLikes Deo may be the better option.

Some words about our skin

First, let us accept that the skin is a thousand open mouths waiting to absorb what you put on it, and so our opinion is that it is better to use things that are plant-based and harmless, such as you will find in SkinLikes deo? In simple terms, we use beautiful soft water that we further purify ourselves and then we add ingredients that grow in and are harvested from plants, rather than as we find in other deodorants that are alcohol-based and when applied, they turn your skin acidic. Some others commonly contain perfume that’s often manufactured in a factory to mask odour, whereas our natural perfume is entirely from the essential oils themselves.

And last some facts

  1. Sweat is one of the cooling mechanisms in us that help us shed excess heat.
  2. The under arms have a higher density of sweat glands than other areas of the body.
  3. In the US, the FDA strangely considers a deodorant to be a cosmetic, (to cleanse or beautify), while antiperspirants are considered to be a drug (intended to treat or prevent disease)?
  4. The FDA requires antiperspirant labels to carry a warning for those with kidney disease to consult with their doctor before use.

Scientific evidence

If you are really interested, in malodour (smelly) underarms and all of the factors that affect it and indeed our own bodies, then you can read all about it in a 72-page article than can be found here:

Kind regards and best wishes from the team at SkinLikes where we are happy to answer your questions.

Office freephone: 0800 023 6252