16 Best Antiperspirant Deodorant for Women 2023 to Minimize Odor

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Editor Tip: Swipe it on ahead of high-stress days, whether you have a big presentation, a job interview, or when you have a sneaking suspicion that you’re going to be proposed to.

Key Ingredients: Aluminum sesquichlorohydrate, castor oil | Who It’s For: Stress sweaters, heavy B.O.

Best Liquid Antiperspirant: Clinique Antiperspirant-Deodorant Roll-On

Clinique Antiperspirant-Deodorant Roll-On

Why It’s Worth It: Clinique Antiperspirant-Deodorant Roll-On’s claim to fame is how easy it is to forget you’re even wearing it. The lightweight liquid never feels sticky, even when the weather gets especially oppressive.

Editor Tip: The best part? You’ll never find evidence of it on your clothing, thanks to a clear formula that outright refuses to leave a stain.

Key Ingredients: Aluminum chlorohydrate | Who It’s For: Sensitive skin

Frequently Asked Questions

What are antiperspirants?

Fun fact: Not all deodorants are antiperspirants; however, most antiperspirants are also deodorants. Deodorants that don’t promise to stop sweat typically omit what makes an antiperspirant an antiperspirant (and an over-the-counter drug): one of several kinds of aluminum compounds.

“Traditional antiperspirants do not decrease sweating, but rather block sweat from reaching the surface of the skin,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. The various versions of aluminum compounds you may find as the active ingredient in antiperspirants are what do the sweat-blocking.

These include aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminium zirconium, aluminum chloride, and aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly, which all serve the same purpose. “All aluminum ingredients in antiperspirant products work to control wetness by forming a temporary plug within the sweat gland,” cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson tells Allure.

What are deodorants?

Deodorant is considered to be a cosmetic because it’s “formulated with antimicrobial agents to inhibit the growth of microorganisms in the armpits,” Shereene Idriss, MD, a board-certified dermatologist who is based in New York City, previously explained.

However, sweat itself isn’t what makes you stink because…it doesn’t smell like anything. “Odor is released when bacteria comes into contact with the thicker, milkier substance produced by apocrine glands in our armpits and groin,” she added. (Feet and butts are also included.) While bathing daily is what dermatologists say is enough to combat body odor, “it is helpful to use deodorant in the areas of skin-on-skin contact, like under heavier breasts or stomach, to prevent skin maceration during high humid seasons or to prevent skin irritation from friction,” Julie E. Russak, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, told Allure.

…And what about those claims about cancer and other illnesses?

Aluminum as an antiperspirant ingredient has been bashed conspiracy theory style by some “clean” beauty enthusiasts who look for “natural ingredients” because they believe it plays a role in the development of diseases like breast cancer and Alzheimer’s. (For the record, aluminum is natural.) However, the scientific evidence just isn’t there.

“We rely on studies done on thousands of women to see if there are links to breast cancer and the suspected culprit,” Sarah Cate, MD, a board-certified surgeon and an assistant professor of surgery and breast cancer specialist at Mount Sinai in New York City, has told Allure; ultimately, no one has developed breast cancer as a result of using antiperspirant.

Furthermore, the Alzheimer’s Association says the link between aluminum and the neurodegenerative disease is a “myth” and that “studies have failed to confirm any role for aluminum in causing Alzheimer’s.” So while wanting to use aluminum-free or natural deodorant is understandable — especially if you find antiperspirants’ active ingredients irritating — for those of us who want to block both body odor and underarm wetness, aluminum-based antiperspirants are the science-supported way to go.

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