woman holding a Nivea deodorant

Deodorant vs. Antiperspirant: What Is the Difference?

Learn the differences between deodorants and antiperspirants and discover which one would work best for you.


The key difference between deodorants and antiperspirants is that deodorants prevent you from getting body odour without blocking the sweat, while antiperspirants protect from sweating and keep you dry.

Many people think that they are the same things, so the names are often used interchangeably. Even though we apply them to the same place, they have a completely different effect!

What is a deodorant?

Deodorants are formulated to eliminate armpit odour without blocking perspiration.


It’s a common misconception that body odour is caused by the sweat itself - in fact, sweat is almost odourless. Body odour occurs due to the rapid multiplication of bacteria on our skin, breaking down sweat into acid and producing odour.


This is where deodorant comes in - when applied, it turns your skin acidic, which makes it less attractive to bacteria, leaving you feeling fresh and protected against the unpleasant odour.

girl applying Nivea antiperspirant

What is an antiperspirant?

Antiperspirants are formulated to prevent perspiration by temporarily blocking the sweat pores. It helps to control sweat, especially if you experience excessive sweating and want to prevent wetness in the underarms.

The aluminium compounds found in antiperspirants dissolve into the moisture on your underarms or wherever else you may apply it. The aluminium is then absorbed into your sweat glands, making it temporarily difficult for sweat to get out.

After a while, the moisture inside and outside of the glands balances out, allowing them to release the sweat once again. Because of this, antiperspirant only lasts for only a certain period of time before it needs to be reapplied.

Antiperspirant use is not limited to underarms and can also be effective on other areas of the body that produce sweat.


Even though deodorants and antiperspirants serve slightly different purposes, they do have mutual benefits:

1) Body Odour Reduction: antiperspirant does this by preventing sweating, whereas deodorant eliminates the bacteria that creates the smell.

2) Dryness Control: antiperspirants help you control the sweat by temporarily blocking the pores, ensuring you feel dry and fresh.

3) Colour Protection: if your clothes get deodorant stains, look for colour-protecting formulas such as NIVEA Black&White Antiperspirant Deodorant Roll-On that help prevent white marks on black clothes and yellow marks on white clothes.


man holding a Nivea antiperspirant

That depends on your desired result and comfort level - while deodorants only protect you from unpleasant odours, antiperspirants also prevent you from sweating.

You may find that your needs change depending on the day and whether you're exercising or spending a lot of time outside. Different levels of sweating might require different antiperspirant strengths.

Use a deodorant if:
You want to prevent body odour;
You don’t sweat excessively and need lighter protection;
You’re doing light-intensity activities when you’re not expecting to be sweating a lot.

Use an antiperspirant if:
You need stronger protection and want to prevent both body odour and having wet underarms;
You’re doing higher intensity activities such as exercising, being out in the sun or having a busy day, where you want to feel fresh and dry all day long.

Many products today contain the combined properties of deodorant and antiperspirant, providing double protection against body odour and wetness!


Quick lifestyle tips to prevent having a strong body odour:

- Wash your armpits at least twice a day with soap and dry them thoroughly;
- Shave your armpits regularly;
- Use a deodorant or antiperspirant to clean and dry skin;
- Change and wash your clothes regularly;
- Wear natural fabrics like cotton, wool and silk;
- Avoid having too much caffeine and alcohol;
- Avoid having too much strong smelling or spicy food.


Explore NIVEA Deo product range, containing both deodorants and antiperspirants to find the best one for you: from gentle deodorant formulas for sensitive skin to powerful anti-staining antiperspirants - all providing long-lasting reliable protection against body odour and/or sweating.

Spray, roll-on or stick, NIVEA has a whole range of products for you to discover the one that suits you and your lifestyle best. Enriched with nurturing ingredients, our products care for your skin, leaving it protected and silky soft.

nivea deodorants
woman using nivea deodorant

NIVEA Derma Dry Control

Discover NIVEA Derma Dry Control - an antiperspirant deodorant spray enriched with Vitamin C, providing reliable sweat and odour protection for up to 96 hours while keeping your skin silky-soft. 

NIVEA Derma Dry technology can help control heavy sweating and prevent skin irritation. Its non-irritating formula is also available for men.