Men have been obsessed with covering up body odor for centuries – the first known deodorant dates back to the ninth century. Today, with so many options, deodorant or antiperspirant, roll-on or stick, musky or spicy, a trip to the drugstore is enough to make you break a sweat. We’ll keep you dry. Here’s your no sweat guide to men’s deodorant.
Deodorant vs. Antiperspirant
Odor comes from bacteria reacting with sweat. The alcohol in deodorant turns your skin too salty or acidic for bacteria to thrive and it contains perfume to cover up the stink. On the other hand, antiperspirant is designed to keep you from sweating altogether.
“Chemicals (usually aluminum-based compounds) in antiperspirants work to plug up your pores to keep your armpits dry,” explains Dr. Mona Gohara, Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine. What you find at the drugstore is usually a combination of both.
Stick vs. Roll-on
Whether you prefer a stick or roll-on, gel or spray, all formulations work the same for the most part.
“It comes down to personal preference,” says Dr. Eric Schweiger, a New York City-based dermatologist and founder of Schweiger Dermatology. “Hairy men may prefer a spray, for example, while someone else may prefer the elegance of a gel.”
What about all-natural deodorants?
“Natural deodorants and antiperspirants often contain plant extracts, mineral salts and baking soda,” Dr. Schweiger says. “For some people these work well, but for others these ‘natural’ products are not effective enough.” A major warning for Latino men to consider is that, “Men with darker, olive skin tones, natural ingredients have a higher propensity to cause an adverse reaction and rash that can cause hyperpigmentation (or dark spots) and discoloration,” Dr. Gohara adds. “[They] should use mild products, like fragrance free for sensitive skin.” Plus, even though a deodorant or antiperspirant says “natural,” it might still contain added fragrances that can cause irritation. You’re better off with one that’s unscented – that’s code for less irritating.