Pit Protection: Deodorant Versus Antiperspirant

At around 10 years old, your mom probably put a stick of deodorant on your dresser and you found yourself with a big-ass grin. Graduating to pit protection was a big deal.

Except the excitement only lasted three days before you realized brushing your teeth and putting on deodorant took too much time. Or you may have even forgotten you had deodorant. Or both. Yeah, probably both.

Well, fast forward a few (ahem) years and there is no forgetting. You better swipe that sucker under your arm pits every day or else your life will suck. Because no one wants to talk to, work with, play hoops against or kiss on a dude who sweats like a whore at church.

The thing is, you have to find a product that works with your pH balance and skin type. There are so many varieties from which to choose that you’re going to have to test a bunch before you come out smelling like a rose. Oh, and then get a whiff of this: just when you do find one that works, dermatologists recommend switching up the brand after 6 months to prevent resistance. Yes, really.

Douse Yourself in Deodorant

Quell the smell with a simple deodorant. Your pits smell when your body’s bacteria and the sweat mix. Deodorant simply masks the odor under your arms so you can do things like lean over a co-worker’s desk without the person passing out.

Up the Ante with Antiperspirant

If your underarm spigot spills every time your boss walks by, you need an antiperspirant. (Or perhaps you need to just get off the Internet when you’re suppose to be working.) Most antiperspirants stop the waterworks with aluminum, which blocks the pores and lessens the sweat.

Catch a Combo

Now, what if you’re a drippy mess and you stink? Well then you’re going to be alone for the rest of your life. That’s not really true. But in this case you must purchase a dual dose of antiperspirant and deodorant. And just so you know, we don’t think you’re man enough to get away with a citrus scent. Go for something woodsy, medicinal or super-clean smelling.

Overly Sensitive

No-go on the aluminum if you have sensitive skin. Aluminum compounds and antibacterial properties can be known to cause blotchy skin or an itchy rash. Your best bet is to find a deodorant without parabens, added fragrances and synthetic ingredients. The National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration both agree there is no evidence that antiperspirant is linked to cancer. But, who really knows at this point. So an all-natural variety might keep you comfortable on all levels.

Doctor’s Orders

So you do everything right and you still can’t stop the sweats. Visit a board-certified dermatologist who will probably diagnose you with focal hyperhidrosis (fancy name for excessive sweating in a localized area). Botox injections, although painful, can turn off underarm sweat glands anywhere from 3 to 16 months at a time. And miraDry, recently introduced in 2012, is a procedure that uses electromagnetic energy to destroy underarm sweat glands without invasive surgery. Make sure you sniff this out if the over-the-counter stuff stinks.