We all rely on deodorant to prevent perspiration and the odor it can produce. However, not knowing the difference between this product and an antiperspirant, as well as not knowing how to use it correctly, can have unpleasant consequences. Has it ever happened to you that, despite showering daily and putting on your deodorant, you ended up smelling bad?
Bright Side wants to save you from embarrassing situations, which is why we made a compilation of some of the most common mistakes made when it comes to wearing deodorant. We’ll also show you how to wear deodorant properly.
1. You wear it thinking it’s an antiperspirant.
The first thing you should always keep in mind is that deodorant and antiperspirant are 2 completely different products. The former is considered cosmetic and is intended to suppress or at least control unpleasant odors. Most deodorants will actually just mask it. They’re usually alcohol-based and, when applied, they cause the skin to become acidic. What that does is basically make the skin a less attractive environment for bacteria, which are responsible for the bad odor.
Antiperspirants, on the other hand, are not there to mask smells but to stop you from sweating. In fact, they’re regulated as drugs in some countries, including the US, because they’re intended to affect a specific bodily function. Some of the active ingredients they’re made with include aluminum salts, which temporarily block sweat pores, thus reducing the amount of perspiration.
2. You wear a product that doesn’t meet your needs.
The product you’ll want to choose will depend on your daily needs. If during the day you’re not too physically active, then you might want to opt for a deodorant, which usually lasts about 8 hours. But if your day is more demanding, then it might be better to use an antiperspirant. Its effect can last anywhere from 24 to 72 hours, and it’s specifically made for people prone to heavy sweating, those who are exposed to strong emotions or high temperatures, and those who engage in athletic activities.
If you, for whatever reason, have sensitive skin in your armpits and suffer from underarm irritation, occasional application is best.
Keep in mind that there are lots of different products out there, including antiperspirants that are also deodorants. These will basically do 2 jobs at the same time: they’ll prevent sweating and help mask odor.
3. You wear way too much deodorant.
Depending on the type of product you wear, recommendations, in terms of how much you should wear, may vary. If you use aerosol deodorants, spray it 15 centimeters away from your armpit. You can determine how much deodorant to apply according to what the manufacturer of your favorite spray indicates. However, experts advise not to spray so much deodorant that you find yourself in a haze. That’s simply because it’s not needed: as a rule of thumb, spraying each armpit for about 2 seconds should be enough.
If your deodorant is a roll-on, then roll it over your underarm a couple of times for even coverage. If you prefer a stick, you just have to apply it 2 to 3 times and you’re done!
4. You don’t take into account the sensitivity of your skin.
If you experience a persistent underarm rash, you may have developed an allergy to your deodorant. In this case, you’ll be better off looking for an alternative. Try going for one that is specifically designed for sensitive skin and that doesn’t contain aluminum salts, fragrances, perfumes, or dyes. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), these 4 categories of ingredients can trigger allergies and irritation.
On the other hand, keep in mind that deodorant preservatives can also cause an allergic rash or irritation. For instance, parabens are a type of preservative that were once easily found in many personal care products, such as shampoos. While most deodorant companies have stopped using this particular element in their formulas, there are still some deodorants that contain traces of it.
5. You apply it immediately after shaving or epilating.
After you shave your armpits or epilate them, it’s better to wait a little while before applying any other products, including deodorant. Applying these to freshly shaved skin may cause some discomfort. Always make sure to let your skin rest for a while to reduce the chances of irritation from the use of this product.
6. You wear the same product when you exercise and when you’re just going to work.
During intense physical activity, your body’s natural reaction is to generate a lot of sweat. This is one of the reasons why the deodorant you normally wear might not be enough to keep you fresh and free of strong odors. The best thing to do in these cases is to wear a special deodorant specifically made to be used for athletic activities. There are specific formulas for that. You can even find natural products designed with this purpose in mind.
7. You wear synthetic fabrics on hot days.
Wearing tight-fitting clothing, especially items that are tight under the arms, can cause underarm stains on your clothes. Not only that, but these might make you sweat more too. So instead, during hot summer days, try wearing loose-fitting clothes made of breathable fabrics, such as cotton, linen, and moisture-wicking blends. This is especially true if you’re prone to heavy perspiration. Wearing the appropriate clothing will allow your body to remain cool while also preventing bad odors due to sweating.
8. You don’t keep yourself hydrated.
Much of our body’s hydration comes from the foods we eat. Fruits and vegetables are the most hydrating foods, some of them being almost entirely made of water. This is the case with watermelon, strawberries, melon, oranges, cucumbers, and lettuce — but there are many others.
Drinking enough water and eating these types of foods can keep your body cool and prevent excessive underarm sweating.
9. You wear the same clothes more than once.
If you were planning on wearing your favorite shirt again without washing it, you might want to give it a second thought. While it’s true that you don’t need to wash all your clothes every single time you wear them, you do have to take into account that smells can be absorbed by these fabrics. If for whatever reason you’re prone to heavy sweating during the day, you may need to wash your clothes more often. You can also wear a short-sleeved T-shirt under your clothes to cover your underarms and prevent odor from spreading to the outer layers.
10. You wear deodorant even when you don’t need to.
According to your genetic background, your sweat will be more or less conspicuous to odor-causing bacteria generated in the armpits. According to a study published in 2013 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, people that have the ABCC11 gene are lucky enough to produce no underarm odor at all. However, most of them will still wear deodorant without actually needing to.
You can take a genetic test to find out if you’re one of those people who don’t produce odor and save yourself from unnecessary purchases and chemical exposures.
Have you ever had a bad time because your deodorant didn’t work well or because it caused you irritation? Have you tried natural remedies for underarm sweat and odor? Which ones?