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The difference between deodorants and antiperspirants

The the need to deodorize arises from the awareness that adopting adequate personal hygiene is necessary not only for oneself, but also for the people around us and with whom we share our day. We therefore need to eliminate the bad smells that our body gives off through sweat.  

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sweat is a physiological process that the body needs to regulate the internal temperaturea : in fact, when we are overheated due to'high ambient temperature or following 'intense physical activity we produce a big quantity.

Sweat is also used to form, together with the sebum, a protective film which makes the skin supple, it hydrates it and protects it from germs present in the environment.

Sweat has no smell as soon as it is released. bad odors are formed following the'action of the bacterial flora of the skin which possesses enzymes capable of splitting the components of the sweat forming malodorous compounds.

Faced with this event there are at least two cosmetic formulations that come in handy: deodorants and antiperspirants, let's get to know them better!


are cosmetics that inhibit the fermentative activity of bacteria in the armpit and possibly mask bad odors with intense and pleasant fragrances.

Deodorants do not impede the normal flow of perspiration and therefore do not affect the physiological processes carried out by sweat.

The first deodorant was produced in the USA in 1888, MUM, a product based on zinc which was particularly effective and appreciated by the public and which was widely marketed.

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Antiperspirants are able to obstruct upstream the process of pouring sweat onto the epidermis and therefore aim to reduce perspiration.

Antiperspirants are extremely effective, but they also prevent the positive functions of sweat that we listed earlier.

To understand the extent of their mechanism of action, just think that these products in Europe are classified as cosmetics, but for example in the USA they are classified as "OTC " (Over The Count) therefore as over-the-counter pharmacy products.

Antiperspirants are usually based on Aluminium salts which in contact with sweat water form compounds that combine with the lipids of the sebum and take on a gelatinous consistency which causes an obstruction of the glandular duct.

To be categorized as such, an antiperspirant must reduce at least 20% underarm sweating.

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The safety of products based on aluminum salts has been investigated for a long time, so much so that in 2011 the French agency for the safety of health products (Afsaaps) published a report in which in the studies conducted in vivo, no correlation between percutaneous exposure to aluminum and the onset of tumor was found.

However, the agency has proposed lowering the aluminum concentrations of antiperspirants.


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Federica Cosmast

Dr. Federica D'Incà - COSMAST Master in Cosmetic Science and Technology

"Every woman has the right to be beautiful" - Elizabeth Arden

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