Settling the Deodorant vs. Antiperspirant Debate Once and for All

Settling the Deodorant vs. Antiperspirant Debate Once and for All

Humankind has come a long way on its quest to conquer the deadly stenches that radiate from our armpits. Back in the 1950s, about half of guys wore deodorant at all. Some of them just dusted their pits with baking powder to stay dry.

During the 60s, millions of men started spraying their armpits with aerosols. However, the FDA banned them in 1977 after they realized inhaling aluminum zirconium chemicals wasn’t ideal for people’s lungs.

Fast forward to the 21st century, where there are entire supermarket aisles dedicated to deodorant and antiperspirants. On top of that, countless bloggers are suggesting that it’s acceptable to ditch deodorant altogether. If you’re confused, overwhelmed, stinky (or perhaps a combination of the three), you’re not alone.

Coming up, we’ll weigh the evidence to settle the ever-divisive deodorant vs. antiperspirant debate for good.

Antiperspirant: Pros and Cons

An antiperspirant is a compound that reduces sweating. Common ingredients are aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, and other stuff that’s hard to pronounce. These metal salts react with electrolytes in your sweat to form a gel-like plug that prevents sweat from escaping your sweat ducts.

Antiperspirants are astringents, meaning they cause your sweat glands to contract. Fun fact: antiperspirants are classified as drugs by the FDA.


  1. By clogging your pores, antiperspirants can stop excessive sweating (AKA hyperhidrosis), contributing to body odor. 
  2. Less wetness means less embarrassing sweat spots that everyone sees when you lift your arms.


  1. When oily proteins from your skin mix with the aluminum salts found in most antiperspirants, you get yellow sweat stains on your crispy white tees. Once your shirt goes through the hot dryer, the yellow stains get baked in. 
  2. Plugging your pits with aluminum stops your body’s natural processes, like regulating your body temperature.
  3. In the 1960s, researchers suggested that aluminum products could possibly cause Alzheimer’s disease or breast cancer. However, there’s no concrete evidence of aluminum or antiperspirants directly harming anyone.
  4. The harsh chemicals in antiperspirants can cause skin irritation, including rashes, burning, peeling, and blistering.

Deodorant: Pros and Cons

Deodorant and antiperspirant look identical in the store, but their active ingredients are way different. Unlike antiperspirants, deodorant doesn’t stop sweat production—it simply eliminates underarm odor. 


  1. Deodorants utilize antibacterial agents that directly attack gunk that causes your armpits to reek.
  2. In addition to odor protection, the essential oils and soothing aloe in many deodorants are ideal for dudes with sensitive skin. 


  1. Deodorant doesn’t control sweat, which can be problematic if you churn out an ungodly amount of sweat or work someplace that refuses to crank the AC. 
  2. Switching from an antiperspirant to aluminum-free deodorant may require an armpit detox to let your apocrine glands recalibrate.

Deodorant for the Win (But Not Just Any Deodorant)

If you’re like us, lathering your underarms with astringent chemicals that are scrutinized by the FDA doesn't sound like the smartest skincare routine. When it comes to battling body odor, deodorant is the runaway winner. But before you grab whatever stick is on sale, read the ingredient list. 

Many cheap deodorants contain parabens: preservative chemicals that can jack up your body's hormone levels. There’s also triclosan (used as a surgical scrub) and phthalates (used in insecticides). These are just as sketchy as the stuff that goes into antiperspirants.

The solution? DUDE Natural Deodorant. You get the instant odor elimination you need without an ingredient list that resembles your high school chemistry textbook. No phthalates, triclosan, parabens, or aluminum. Just an invigorating blend of essential oils and natural ingredients like cedarwood, peppermint, tea tree oil, and sandalwood. Bonus: it’s vegan and cruelty-free.

We’re not ones to brag, but we think this the best deodorant out there—and we know for damn sure it’s better than baking soda, aerosol, or forcing bystanders to inhale your horrific stench.

Reading next

It's All About that Glow: How to Prevent Dehydrated Skin
DUDE Wipes Shark Tank Update, Where Are We Now?