How Do Whole Body Deodorants Work?

What are body deodorants, and why have they been popping up everywhere? When Cassandra was growing up, these weren’t a thing, and now, everyone seems to be talking about it. So, let’s talk about how whole-body deodorants actually work.

What is a whole-body deodorant?

Whole body deodorants are deodorants that can be put on your whole body. Smells can happen all over the body like the groin, back, and neck. But, did you know it’s not the sweat that smells? Even though this sweat moistens the skin, it doesn’t really smell at all. 

Different areas of the body smell different because of sudoriferous  glands (sweat glands). Depending on where sudoriferous glands are on the body, they actually create two different types of sweat. There are eccrine glands and apocrine glands, and although they’re both sudoriferous glands, they create two different types of sweat. 

Eccrine glands

Eccrine glands are on top of our entire body, and they activate when you go out for a run or exercise. Your body starts to sweat from your arms, chest, back, or even your ankles if it’s really hot outside. 

The reason our body even sweats is to cool us down. As sweat evaporates off the skin, it pulls heat away from the body. That’s how our body naturally cools itself. Eccrine glands are just about everywhere, but the sweat doesn’t really smell. 

Apocrine glands

These are very different from the eccrine glands. Apocrine glands are in areas like the armpit, groin, and in areas with more coarse hair. The sweat produced from these glands have more fat, carbs, and nutrients. Still, these compounds are not what causes “body odor.”

The bacterial colonies that naturally live all over our skin, armpits, and axillary areas consume these compounds. And when these bacteria feed on these different types of sweat, it produces waste products. So, it’s not actually a smell from the body. It’s bacterial waste products. That’s why sweat can smell, especially when you’re stressed. 

What is stress sweat?

Your body goes through many hormonal changes, and cortisol is one stress hormone. Stress can influence your hormones and the types of compounds within sweat. Therefore, stress sweat can have a more potent smell. It’s very normal, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. 

How do you prevent stress sweat?

There are different ways to get rid of this smell by using things like alcohol. Cassandra will literally put hand sanitizer in her armpits although if you have eczema, this should probably be avoided.

Even if you spray perfume, it has an alcohol base, and this will kill some bacteria. However, this is not going to get rid of the perspiration, wetness, and dampness because it’s not an antiperspirant.   

What is an antiperspirant?

Also, there’s a difference between a deodorant and an anti-perspirant. Deodorant covers up, stops, or seals the scent. Anti-perspirants prevent sweat by going into the sudoriferous glands and blocking them. So, you’re not able to sweat as much. Usually, antiperspirants are aluminum-based, and that’s what you’ll find in regular deodorants. 

Are aluminum deodorants safe?

A lot of people are afraid of aluminum because they’ve heard it causes Alzheimer’s or cancer. But, a lot of those studies have very poor data, and a lot of brands like Native are actually pretty guilty of fearmongering or saying things like this just to get people to spend more money. 

So, if you don’t want to use aluminum in your products, you’re welcome to avoid it. But, based on the conversations Cassandra has had with dermatologists and the data she’s seen, she’s not scared of it.

Also, many “aluminum-free” deodorants replace it with something like baking soda. Baking soda can actually be really irritating to the skin. So, if you still want to stop sweat without aluminum, you’re kind of trading one for the other.

Stopping sweat is the primary difference between antiperspirants and deodorants. Notice these brands aren’t saying “whole body antiperspirants.” They’re saying “whole body deodorant.” So, what does that mean?

How does whole-body deodorant work?

Whole body deodorant comes in sprays, sticks, and paste. Whole-body deodorants can be used on both types of sweat. They can be used on our armpits, groins, and other parts of the body, LUME is really the brand that brought whole body deodorants to the forefront.


Whole body deodorants are also known to help with something called nonenal, a scent associated with older people. This is something our bodies create naturally as we get older. Nonenal can occur at different ages, and showering more doesn’t necessarily help. This scent is actually caused by the degradation of unsaturated fatty acids on our skin, and this creates that nonenal smell.

Endocrinologists, doctors who study hormones can help with this. People who visit endocrinologist because sometimes, no matter how much you rub or wash, that nonenal smell won’t dissipate. However, whole body deodorants brands like LUME say they can help this too. . 

LUME was created by an OBGYN who realized how people were insecure about certain smells below the beltline. When LUME created a deodorant paste that people could use, other brands like Dove and Target tagged along.


Which deodorant should I buy?

It can be hard to choose between the different brands, but many of these brands are owned by the same companies such as P&G, Unilever, and Johnson &Johnson. And unless you’re actually shopping from an Indie brand like Lume, two different brands might come from the same conglomerate.  For example, Old Spice and Secret are actually both owned by Proctor and Gamble.

So, does Lume really work?

Lume Whole Body Deodorant - $20.44 

This is a paste, but it should never be inserted into the body. However, the Lume deodorant cream didn’t smell great to Cassandra, and it’s sticky. They don’t smell better when they dry down either. Cassandra actually thought this would be her favorite.


AKT The Deodorant Balm - $29 

Cassandra likes this one, and it smells nice. It actually works really well, but it doesn’t stop the sweat. While it prevents sweat better than other whole-body deodorants, it’s still a little chalky.

Dove VitaminCare+ Deodorant Stick - $13.99

This smells heavenly, and Cassandra uses this all over her body. She doesn’t particularly care for the lavender and chamomile one. She likes the cinnamon and the vanilla one. This has vitamin B3 or niacinamide. Niacinamide can balance our oil production and help with the armpit area.

This also has hydrators like glycerin, and Dove says that it’s aluminum-free. This wasn’t a huge plus for Cassandra, but she did like that it was baking soda-free. 

Body sprays 

Old Spice Gentlemen’s Blend Total Body Deodorant Spray - $12.99

Cassandra likes this Old Spice one. It’s actually her favorite, and it doesn’t smell masculine. It smells like a vanilla cookie. However, some people seemed to get burns from irritation. But, Cassandra likes this because she can spray it on her back without touching anything.  

NATIVE Deodorant & Body Spray - $13.99  

In comparison to the Old Spice one, Cassandra also likes this one from Native. Neither of them cause white streaks, and they're both owned by P&G. Cassandra likes the lilac smell of the Native one, but it can get a bit greasy if you spray it too close to the skin.

Now, Cassandra does have some issues with Native's greenwashing tactics. But, Cassandra does like the fact that they have sustainable paper packaging and stick deodorants. She likes the peach vanilla scent as well although it’s not one of her favorites.

Secret Weightless Dry Spray - $6.99  

This weightless, dry spray is actually one of Cassandra’s favorites.


Hume Supernatural Desert Bloom All Body Deodorant - $17.99 

This deodorant has the driest touch, the best smell, and it was super good for Cassandra’s skin. It’s completely smooth so there’s no grittiness to it. Then, it dries down. There’s no pastiness, and it doesn’t leave your armpit or the backs of your knees sticking to themselves. It’s a very nice formula, and it works well. However, if you have very sweaty feet, you’ll want to use an antiperspirant, not just a deodorant.

So, these are a few full-body deodorant suggestions from Cassandra. When trying a whole body deodorant for the first time, remember to patch test after showering thoroughly.