Young Asian male in white shirt stretches his arms behind his head at a park.

There comes a time when you find yourself standing in front of the aisle of personal care products, pondering an antiperspirant vs. deodorant choice. "What do I really need?" The answer depends on why you came to the aisle in the first place.

Perhaps your body aroma disturbs you at stressful meetings. You struggle with dark underarm stains every time you step out for lunch... or both. In any case, it's time to up your underarm hygiene game.

Antiperspirant vs Deodorant: What's the Difference

Like many men, you probably buy underarm protection based on scent, and there's nothing wrong with that. But it's good to know the differences between antiperspirants and deodorants because they serve distinct purposes.

Deodorants mask body odor.

Deodorants neutralize the produced by bacteria that naturally live on your skin. They typically contain fragrances and antimicrobial agents that work together to keep you smelling fresh throughout the day.

Antiperspirants combat sweat production.

Deodorants, though, won't prevent wet underarms, a problem that antiperspirants can solve best. These anti-sweat formulations have active ingredients, such as charcoal and aluminum-based compounds, to block sweat glands temporarily. As a result, the reduced sweat production keeps you feeling dry.

How to Pick the Right Underarm Protection

By this point, you know where you're leaning towards the antiperspirant vs deodorant question. You may even need both products based on usage. Consider these factors before making your final purchase if that's the case.

Observe your sweat levels.

You're better off with an antiperspirant when plagued by yellow and . Dermatologists treat antiperspirants as the first defense against , known as hyperhidrosis. This sweating occurs in your hands, feet, and face or head. According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society (IHS), you will almost always have sweaty feet if you experience clammy palms.

IHS says dermatologists start with the most gentle-to-the-skin formulations for hyperhidrosis. Then, if you keep getting wet underarm despite application in the mornings and evenings, look for antiperspirants designed for maximum sweat control, often labeled as "clinical strength" or "extra strength."

Assess your body odor.

Drenching in sweat doesn't always mean you take on a pungent body odor. Conversely, you may have an unpleasant body scent but barely perspire. In short, sweat alone, which is almost odorless, has nothing to do with how you smell.

Your skin naturally carries bacteria, and armpits create an environment of moisture and warmth that microbes can't resist. The malodorous occurs when the sweat makes contact with the bacteria. According to the American Society for Microbiology, this bacterial activity produces compounds that smell like – wait for it – onion, cumin, or goat.

If you struggle with intense and persistent odors, opt for a two-in-one underarm hygiene product that combines odor-fighting properties with sweat control. Try Rexona Men Natural Fresh Lime Cool Antiperspirant Deodorant Roll-On, which has natural charcoal and lime to reduce odor-causing bacteria. Apart from the "just showered" fragrance, it offers stain protection.

Check skin sensitivity.

If your skin is more prone to irritation or allergic reactions, read the ingredients, whether it's an antiperspirant or deodorant. Underarm protection like Rexona also has aluminum zirconium, which is less likely to irritate the skin after a razor burn.

Some formulations come with labels like hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, or designed for sensitive skin. These options typically have milder ingredients that minimize the risk of irritation while keeping you fresh and odor-free.

How to Use Antiperspirant or Deodorant Properly

Knowing how and when to apply antiperspirant vs deodorant is essential to maximize effectiveness and stay fresh throughout the day. These tips on proper application methods can help you get the most out of your chosen product.

1. Apply on dry armpits. 

IHS recommends applying antiperspirant (or deodorant) to completely dry skin to avoid irritation. Wipe your armpits to remove excess moisture with a towel after you shower. If you're working out, apply it before you break out in a sweat. 

2. Use antiperspirant before sleeping. 

Yes, dermatologists say most people with can benefit from applying antiperspirant before bedtime to get the most benefit, especially if you use it only once during the day. Experts explain that less active sweat glands at night make it easier for the skin to absorb the antiperspirant.

3. Be generous with your swipes, not with your sprays.

For roll-ons, Rexona advises four to six swipes per armpit daily to guarantee full coverage. You can do up to three strokes with sticks. For aerosol application, experts suggest a spraying distance halfway between your underarm and elbow for a maximum of three seconds. Spritzing too close and longer can cause burns.

A deodorant or antiperspirant not doing its job, even when you change the formulation, is your nudge to visit your doctor. You may have an underlying medical condition that requires attention. For example, the Cleveland Clinic reports that a fruity body odor may indicate diabetes, while a bleach-like smell may be a sign of liver or kidney disease.

Show Some More Love to Your Skin

Maintaining good hygiene goes beyond just reaching for an antiperspirant or deodorant. Plug in the following to your daily routine to enhance the effectiveness of your personal care products:

  • Daily showering
  • Opting for breathable fabrics
  • Avoiding sulfur-rich foods (garlic, onions, cabbage, red meat)
  • Drinking plenty of water

Being in tune with your sweat levels, skin sensitivity, and body odor intensity helps you see that it's not an antiperspirant vs deodorant battle. Instead, both can suit your needs because it's more than smelling good. Along with the tips here, they help you exude freshness and confidence, whether you're gearing up for a high-stakes presentation, hitting the gym, or embarking on a night out with friends.