Understanding deodorant & antiperspirants

Information on the difference between deodorants and anti-perspirants, what causes perspiration and body odour and how to apply a deodorant or anti-perspirant for best results.

The difference between a deodorant & an anti-perspirant

Woman with arm ups

Deodorant products counteract the formation of unpleasant body odour. They principally work by controlling the growth of bacteria on the skin surface but also contain perfume which can help overcome body odour and give a pleasing fragrance. These products do not affect sweating. Examples are LYNX Body Spray and IMPULSE fragrances which give quality fragrances with the reassurance of an effective deodorant.

Anti-perspirant products reduce the amount of sweat released to keep the armpit dry and comfortable. The action of the anti-perspirant ingredients also helps to control the growth of bacteria. This, together with the effect of the perfume, means that they work as effective deodorants. Hence, anti-perspirants are usually labelled as anti-perspirant deodorants as they perform both functions. Example products are the REXONA and DOVE brand products, which give highly efficient protection from wetness and odour.

The causes of perspiration & body odour

The skin contains a number of different glands which secrete liquids, commonly called sweat or perspiration, onto the skin surface through pores. One of the glands, the Eccrine gland, is found over almost the entire body and its secretion is mainly water with dissolved salts (eg, sodium chloride) and other organic materials. 

These glands are active from birth and when we get hot, excited or nervous they release their secretion onto the skin where it evaporates. Because the armpit is a partially enclosed area of the body perspiration can build up leading to a 'sweaty' underarm feeling and wet marks on clothing. 

Another relevant gland is the Apocrine gland, mainly found in the armpit and genital areas of the body. These glands are only active from puberty and release small amounts of a complex secretion when we are under stress or excited. Hence the armpit is a moist environment fed with secretions from the glands. This makes it particularly suitable for the bacteria naturally present on the skin to grow. When sweat is released it doesn't have an odour but bacteria break down materials in the sweat resulting in the body odour smell or BO which most people find unpleasant.

How to apply a deodorant or anti-perspirant for best results

To meet the needs of everyone there are many different deodorant and anti-perspirant product types: aerosol sprays, pump sprays, roll-ons, sticks and creams. For all products follow the instructions on the pack and apply an even layer to the underarm area. Additionally, LYNX or IMPULSE bodysprays can also be applied to the body as well as under the arms. (Remember do not spray near eyes or face and always follow the pack instructions.)

Always allow products to dry before putting on clothes and do not over apply as products can then rub off onto clothing. If this occurs wash the clothes as soon as possible.

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