How to Choose the Best Deodorant Spray, Stick or Roll On for YOU
At one time or another, or maybe every day, we want to combat body odor . It is nearly a universal skincare ritual for us to include an antiperspirant or deodorant (the difference between these two is explained, keep reading) application to start our day. This is why there are countless products available to offer odor protection located in the personal care section of the pharmacy or found at your go-to online shopping platform. With the dizzying number of options available there can be confusion about which product should end up in your checkout cart. Let’s break it down. Allow me, a 25 plus years experienced, board certified dermatologist and expert in preventing body odor, to share my knowledge with you.
Antiperspirant vs. Deodorant
Antiperspirants are classified as a drug by the FDA and contain aluminum salts which you will see on the product label. You will find these chemical names such as, aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum chloride, aluminum zirconium or others. These aluminum salts form an actual physical plug in the sweat duct opening and does not allow the delivery of moisture from our sweat to reach the surface of the skin. Sweating is the function our body employs to maintain our critical core body temperature. We lose heat through our skin, as we know all to well in the winter months when we are trying to stay warm. If we were unable to maintain our body temperature, our organ systems would fail. Hence, sweating is a necessary function. Blocking it with aluminum in one area, such as the underarms does not render us in an overheated status of body temperature, but blocking sweat ducts certainly goes against our body’s physiology. And while no cause and effect relationship has been conclusively shown, aluminum use on the skin with risk of absorption internally, is feared to cause collateral health concerns. Hence many choose to avoid this ingredient. To do so, make sure you read the label. It should not contain aluminum and it should say antiperspirant.
Deodorants, which are considered cosmetic products and are not FDA regulated, use fragrance to mask odor and unless they contain aluminum, do not block sweat ducts. However, they may contain ingredients such as charcoal, baking soda or other ingredients to help absorb some of the skin’s moisture. Natural deodorants, while there is no clear definition of what “natural” actually means, tend to refer to brands that are free of aluminum and contain in some portion, plant derived ingredients. These are growing in popularity as more and more consumers wish to avoid unnecessary chemicals in products they consume. With so many choices on the market, accessibility of different options has never been better.
The goal with either antiperspirant or natural deodorant products is to either inhibit the presence of or mask the smell of odor causing bacteria. Why does keeping the skin dry with antiperspirant help? Well, it may or may not help on its own to simply keep the skin dry. What is really in play is maintaining the skin’s microbiome so by itself it resists odor formation. It so happens that body parts that are the “jungle” places on our bodies, replete with moisture, tend to attract the microbes called corynebacteria. These are the bacteria the produce sulfur compounds that emit the unpleasant smell. The more “desert” or dry parts of the body such as the knees do not have a large portion of this bacteria. However when the skin is maintained at its proper pH known as the “acid mantle”, odor becomes less problematic, as the bacteria presence is in balance the smelly microbes do not win out.
Fresh Scent vs Unscented Deodorants
Take a sniff of your deodorant body spray, deodorant stick, deodorant roll-on or aerosol and you will undoubtedly find it to be heavily fragranced. This is because deodorants rely almost entirely on their perfumes to offset body odor. This is to confuse your nose with a pleasant smell in order to over power body odor. But buyer beware. Your deodorant may not be truly inhibiting odor but simply covering it up. So what about unscented deodorant? These may contain ingredients that reduce the ph of the skin or have absorbing ingredients to impede odors. Unscented or fragrance free skin care and beauty products are enthusiastically recommended by dermatologists . Why do we skin doctors want you to shy away from too much fragrance? Because perfumes are well known to be sensitizing and can trigger allergies in some people. Especially when exposed to delicate skin sites like underarms. If you are prone to rashes, you are advised to seek out unscented products in all things that touch the skin.
You do not have to look too hard and you will find a host of fragrances available in deodorants and those that are considered “natural’ will likely have scents found in nature such as as cedarwood, eucalyptus, grapefruit, sandalwood, tea tree, coconut, lavender, cucumber cool essentials and the like. These may contain essential oils which offer both a fragrance and potentially also a soothing effect. Essential oils can be broken down by heat and under arms to get pretty warm so be aware if your essential oil based deodorant isn’t doing its job, it may be time to switch products or simply to re apply when the skin cools down. Furthermore, some brands tout their fragrances as a draw. Some perfume brands offer deodorant sticks in their product line up so your pits can smell like your favorite scent. If you are in love with your perfume, and don’t have allergies or sensitive skin, then this is a choice for you to consider.
Deodorant Spray vs. Mist vs. Aerosol
Aerosol sprays feel the best when you put them on because they go on the skin with a light and dry sensation. In fact some products are advertised as dry spray antiperspirant deodorant .You will find many of these dry spray options contain ingredients that dry quickly when they hit the skin and provide a cooling sensation such as . But watch out. Those same ingredients, namely alcohol, menthol, witch hazel may also cause skin irritation or dryness if used too much. Aerosol particles contained in many of the sprays we use every day such as hairspray and deodorant spray tend to be bad for the environment. Aerosol particles may affect the climate due to the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which find their way into the air. Brands such as Surface Deep Anti Odorant, deliver a spray mist to the skin which goes on in a moist spritz but quickly dries and is residue free (read on). Mists are favorable for climate conscious shoppers because they do not contain propellants. Propellants are compressed gases contained in a metal can dispenser and are what makes the spray “shoot out” when we hit the dispenser. These propellants, which are far better for our atmosphere than the original aerosols of the past (which used to contain chlorofluorocarbons), are still affecting the air we breathe.
Roll-On Vs. Stick or Solid
Solid aluminum-free deodorant or antiperspirant is found on store shelves right next to their roll-on counterparts. What is the difference? Roll-on deodorants and antiperspirants are typically moist and adhere to the skin with a lotion-like feel. There is a rollerball where the opening of the product is and glides across the skin like a pen glides over paper. Stick formulas go on with a layer of gel, wax or other more solid base. It feels more like an eraser than a pen when it glides across the skin. Which you choose is a matter of preference. They work very similarly. Again, look at ingredients to differentiate one from another. Both roll on and stick solid may have more of a tendency to leave a residue or thin layer on your skin or clothes. Even brands that say they are “clear finish” may with time cause a build up on the skin. This may be at the crux of popular hacks describing various deodorant “detox” regimen that you see on social media.
Underarms vs All Over Body Odor Battle
Armpits are no longer the only focus of body odor regulation. We all have suffered the “smellies” between toes and in abdominal, breast or thigh skin folds. As mentioned above, it is the damp or jungle-like topography of our bodies which tends to harbor odor more than other parts. So came the invention of body deodorants, body sprays, body splashes... you name it. Most of the products in the body odor prevention category rely on perfumes, essential oils or other masking fragrances. And body washes especially those with a slightly acidic pH of around 5.5 can also play a part in maintaining a neutral or pleasant body surface with no offensive odor. Ironically traditional soaps with alkaline pH may not do a good enough job of offsetting the presence of body odor. So you can emerge from your daily shower still a little stinky. Surface Deep Antidorant Wash can eradicate this problem quickly. And if combined with Surface Deep Anti Odorant Spray or Pads, you will smell like you, in a clean and natural way.
What’s frustrating about Deodorant and Antiperspirant ...There must be something better.
White marks or other residue left behind from most antiperspirants and deodorants. Your skin and your clothing get layered day after day. Black + white clothing suffer from staining. Aluminum based products in particular can leave white shirts and T-shirts with tell tale yellow marks in the underarms.
Skin types that suffer from allergies or atopic dermatitis aka eczema find it hard to settle on an odor prevention product that does not worsen their underlying skin issues. Sensitive skin is part and parcel to the underarms and other skin folds on our bodies. Many products can worsen this and leave skin chafed.
Skin discoloration can be the result of using deodorants that the skin is irritated by.
Hygiene is a concern when using a roll on or stick. These products will right back on to your skin the bacteria and other gunk from the day before. Think about that next time you put the applicator on your clean skin.
Other concerns when purchasing a new deodorant: Is this product: Cruelty free? Paraben free? Clean? Non- aerosol?
If you choose Surface Deep Anti-Odorant, all of the above concerns—- addressed. We formulated and tested our Anti-Odorant brand to exacting standards and heard the voice of our beloved customers so:
- It does not leave residue on you or your clothing
- It is safe for all skin types and skin tones
- It can be used on sensitive skin areas and sensitive skin prone people
- It does not rely on an applicator that gets gunky and questionably hygienic.
- It is a vegan, cruelty free, paraben free, aluminum free, perfume free, non-aerosol clean alternative to natural deodorants