Some people suffer from it daily and others especially in the summer: sweating. From antiperspirant to a natural deodorant: what are the options, how do they work and how friendly are they to your skin?
The word deodorant says it all: a deodorant (Latin) is a deodorizer. "A deodorant does not prevent sweating, but tackles the bacteria on the skin that cause the odor of sweat," says Jetske Ultee, a research doctor in cosmetic dermatology. "A deodorant disguises that smell. It often contains alcohol and quite a few fragrances."
Sweat is basically odorless, says dermatologist Menno Gaastra. "The longer sweat lasts, the more bacteria become active on it. That's why old sweat smells foul, like in clothes."
An antiperspirant or antiperspirant stops the production of sweat by blocking the sweat glands. "This is done by metal salts, such as aluminum salt, that are contained in these antiperspirants," says the research physician. "Some products are both a deodorant and an antiperspirant."
It doesn't matter if you roll or spray for sweat, she says. "The effectiveness depends on the ingredients used. Whether you choose a roller or spray depends on your own preference."
Not harmful, possibly irritations
There is nothing in deodorants or antiperspirants that is harmful to the skin, Gaastra says. However, the armpit skin can be irritated by the perfume and preservatives in both products and the aluminum salts in the antiperspirant.
"You can especially react to parabens and isothiazolinones," says the dermatologist. "These preservatives are also in many other care products. If we come into contact with them too much, it can cause irritations, such as red skin and itching. You can develop an allergy to it."
"Someone who sweats a lot will not be satisfied with a deodorant." Menno Gaastra, dermatologist
Aluminum salts in antiperspirants have a bad reputation, but that is not justified, according to Gaastra. "The skin dries out a bit, but not too much. The aluminum salts do just enough to make sweating bearable. It can cause irritation in some cases, but otherwise the aluminum won't harm you."
According to the dermatologist, it is not bad that an antiperspirant clogs the sweat glands. "It is not that you fill it up. At some point the production of sweat continues and the layer is washed away."
Deodorants contain alcohol and a lot of fragrances. (Photo: Pro Shots)
Natural deodorants can also irritate
In addition to chemical deodorants in cool colors, there are also natural variants on the shelf. What kind of deos are these?
"It often doesn't contain parabens, preservatives and aluminum," says Gaastra. "That does not mean that you cannot get irritations from natural deodorants. Flower extracts are often added for the scent. You can also react to this or develop an allergy."
Some people make a deodorant themselves. Anyone who wants to do that should pay attention to irritations from strong extracts and the use of alcohol, Gaastra says. "Pure alcohol can dry out and irritate the skin."
What is a good choice? "A person who sweats a lot will not be satisfied with a deodorant," says the dermatologist. "If you want to reduce the risk of irritation, it is best to choose an unscented deodorant."