It’s part of the morning routine: wake up, shower, then slap on, spray on or splash on some deodorant. One almost doesn’t think about it. Just use it and the smell disappears.
When the mechanics of smell removal are further investigated though, one discovers that there is more going on than could have been imagined. For example, there’s the central argument of deodorant vs. antiperspirant. They are almost synonyms, used interchangeably by many. The two, however, work in shockingly different ways.
Much of the difference can be seen simply by examining the names. Deodorant works by fighting the odor produced, whereas antiperspirant makes efforts to eliminate what produces the smell in the first place: the sweat. It’s a simple matter of treating the symptoms versus treating the cause.
No matter how much one fills the air with body spray, all that one does is mask the smell. Once it wears off, perhaps during a particularly sweaty football game or mile run, the stench of body odor will leak through for everyone’s olfactory pleasure.
On the flipside, antiperspirant works on a chemical basis. According to the Mayo Clinic, when a stick of it is rolled on, aluminum compounds enter the sweat glands and prevent the bodily processes which regulate sweat production from occurring, in turn keeping the sweaty smell from stinking up the place.
Of course, there exist hybrid deodorants and antiperspirants, which both mask and eliminate odors equally well. In the end, though, both options get the job done. Just make sure to use one of them.