Antiperspirant or deodorant… spray, stick, moisturising roll-on or powder spray… They all sound good, but how can you possibly choose? Our experts offer a fresh look at the question to help you make up your mind.
Did you know that sweat – or perspiration, to put it more delicately – is 99% water? And it’s the remaining 1% – composed of lipids and mineral salts – that’s the cause of all our problems! “Sweat stays on the skin’s surface, and as the day goes on it mixes with bacteria. The unpleasant smell doesn’t actually come from the sweat itself; it occurs when bacteria start to break down the substances in the sweat,” explains Pascale Mora.
What’s the difference between antiperspirants and deodorants?
Antiperspirants: a continuous regulating effect for 24, 48 or 72 hours
Antiperspirants reduce or completely block perspiration. “They contain active ingredients which plug the sweat glands to stop them secreting sweat onto the skin’s surface,” explains Pascale Mora. They are aimed at anyone who tends to perspire heavily on a daily basis, and also those prone to emotional sweating in stressful situations or who want to avoid embarrassment when exercising or out in hot weather.
Natural alum stone: 8-hour regulating action
“Alum stone should be applied to wet skin – either run the stone under the tap or rub it under your arms as you finish your shower,” advises Carole Brahim. “It’s not scented but it does have some antibacterial properties,” adds Pascale Mora. The effects of alum stone last for just a few hours.
Traditional deodorants: no regulating effect, work for 8 hours
Deodorants don’t actually regulate perspiration, but they have two other main functions: some prevent or destroy the bacteria that break down sweat, while others capture and mask any unpleasant odours that have already formed.
Finding the product that suits you best
Deodorants and antiperspirants all come in a variety of different formats, so it’s up to you to decide what you feel most comfortable with. One thing to note is that sticks and roll-ons are best applied in the morning after a shower on clean skin to make sure you avoid any risk of bacteria getting in and causing infection. Sprays can be reapplied several times during the day if necessary.
A preference for dry textures
Women who don’t like feeling wet under the arms should opt for dry sticks or powder sprays that deliver exactly the right amount. “This is a good option for those who tend to sweat heavily,” says Carole Brahim.
Sprays, made from a mix of water and alcohol with antibacterial properties, are often strongly scented and can even be used as perfume.
Caring for your skin
Roll-ons can be a good choice for sensitive skin as they often contain moisturising ingredients that leave a soothing powdery film under the arms. Cream deodorants are also a great alternative – they offer a non-greasy formula that’s easily absorbed into the skin. But make sure you choose an “invisible” roll-on that won’t leave nasty white marks on your clothes.
Hair regrowth inhibitors
These are aimed at sensitive, depilated or shaved skin. They are alcohol- and paraben-free and are unscented. Again, it’s often roll-ons that allow you to apply just the right amount to slow down hair regrowth, usually by more than a week.