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deodorant stops working

3 Tips for When Your Deodorant or Antiperspirant Stops Working

deodorant stop working

It’s happened before, and it’s happening again. My antiperspirant stopped working!  I had used Secret brand for years and was able to switch between scents as I pleased. Then, I noticed it wasn’t really doing the trick anymore. I switched to Dove and it worked for quite some time. When that stopped working, I went to a clinical strength Dove. It lasted for a couple years, but once again, my body has started rejected it.  I decided to dive in further to the reasons behind this phenomenon, and here are some of the things I learned.

Many of you may know that deodorants and antiperspirants are not the same. They are two different solutions for the same problem. It’s not actually the sweat that smells, it’s the bacteria under your arms that when mixed with the sweat, make that ever so infamous body odor. Deodorants neutralize the bacteria and absorb odor and usually cover any smells with a perfume or “scent”. Antiperspirants actually prevent sweat by plugging up the eccrine ducts under your arms. This way, the sweat can’t get through to the party to mix and mingle with the bacteria, thus, no smell.

Because deodorants and antiperspirants work differently, they have different active ingredients. Most antiperspirants contain some sort of aluminum salt which is very effective in stopping perspiration. Make sure to read the instructions for these products. Antiperspirant recommendations usually suggest putting it on at night, when you are clean, so it can dry and plug up those sweat glands when you are not sweating. Deodorants are usually more effective when applying that day.

Researchers still don’t know exactly why our bodies reject antiperspirants over time, but the most popular opinion is simply that our bodies adapt. If we are constantly blocking our eccrine duct, the body will find a way to sweat. Lucky us! So now what do we do with this knowledge? You can try these simple tips. If you still don’t find success, talk to your doctor about possible prescription deodorants and antiperspirants.

What to do when your deodorant or antiperspirant stops working

1. Read the Labels!

Understand what you are currently using. Is it a deodorant? Is it an antiperspirant? Is it a combination of both? If you are currently using a deodorant, try an antiperspirant or vice versa. When you choose a new product, always use according to the instructions of that particular product.

2. Switch brands.

Because the current theory is that our bodies adapt, switch up your tactics. Confuse those sweaty arm pits. Make sure when you switch brands, you change up the active ingredients. Check the label to see what the main ingredients are and then try to find something a little different then what you are using.

3. Try what has worked for others.

You can read and research all you want, but there is something to asking advice from friends. Ask around. Google it. Go to forums and blogs find out what works for people like you.  That is exactly what I did. Here are some of the most highly recommended products out there from a lot of popular forums.

Mitchum Advanced Oxygen Stick

Certain Dri Antiperspirant Solid

Hydrosal Professional Antiperspirant Gel

Dove Clinical Protection Antiperspirant/Deodorant

Secret Clinical Strength

For anyone interested,  I put the Mitchum at the top because that’s the one that I switched to and the one that is working splendidly for me now. It’s also probably the cheapest option from the list above, so that is always a bonus.  Which one works for you?
photo credit: Joe Mud via photopin cc


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24 thoughts on “3 Tips for When Your Deodorant or Antiperspirant Stops Working”

  1. I just started the mitchum and within a week it isn’t working anymore…..I guess its time for me to ask the professionals

    1. One thing I noticed with Mitchum is that the “men’s” Mitchum doesn’t work for me, but the “women’s” does.

    2. It’s probably worth pointing out just how dangerous aluminum zirconium, along with many other ingredients in antiperspirants and deodorants, actually is.

      My struggle is finding a product that is both effective and safe.

  2. My husband has struggled with what works and what doesn’t for a while now and has switched brands. He is allergic to deodorant so we have to use an antiperspirant. We have used all the mens line of antiperspirant, any help would be great.

    1. The only tip I can think of that made a significant difference for me is showering at night, and putting the antiperspirant on before bed. That way it can really plug up the those pours. If he is having significant problems finding something that works, I would say it’s time to ask his doctor. There are stronger prescriptions that a doctor might be able to offer. Good luck!

  3. Cindy Hennessy

    I have a just bought a salt chrystal (in the antiperspirant aisle), but this morning I used coconut oil… yes, coconut oil, so I have read will do the trick. If not, will try the salt chrystal.

  4. I have also tried the coconut oil as well. Found a recipe for homemade deodorant that uses coconut oil and a few other ingredients.
    It works great! My mother also got the recipe and she uses it.

    1/4 cup baking soda
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    4 Tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
    5 drops of Lavender essential oil (for women) or Sage (for men)
    An empty, clean deodorant stick

    1. In a small bowl, mix together the baking soda and cornstarch
    2. Add the coconut oil (one tablespoon at a time) and mash with a fork into the baking soda/cornstarch mixture until you have a creamy paste.
    3. Add essential oil, if you choose. (Note: I have tried this recipe both WITH and WITHOUT the essential oil and it works better WITH the essential oil). Please be careful with essential oils as some kinds can not be used on the skin. Lavender can be used on the skin and has a pleasant smell.
    4. Spoon the mixture into the deodorant stick. After each spoonful or 2, twist the stick down to make room for more deodorant. When it’s full, smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
    5. Store in refrigerator to prevent melting. (Coconut oil melts at about 76 degrees…which can sometimes be the temp in your house. Better to place in fridge) For me, I have found that taking it out and for about 30 minutes before using it helps it spread easier and make advancing the deodorant stick easier… However, you can apply straight from the fridge.

    Good luck and hope someone finds this helpful!

    1. This is great; thanks for sharing. I will be trying this next so I don’t have to any more chemicals to my morning repertoire. Also, always a plus for me when I can use a cruelty-free option.

    2. I have struggled with the same issues for years and have run through the entire selection of off the shelf and behind the counter product. The aluminum levels in some of these frankly scared me. Fortunately I found a safe solution, Witch Hazel. It is all natural. I started by cleaning my armpits morning and night for about a month. Now I just clean them once a day after I shower. I no longer have issues and some days I forget and I am okay. From what I have read it will also clean the pores and kill the bacteria, that is why you need to use it twice a day for a month straight. No more aluminum for me. I wish I had found this simple and safe solution years ago.

  5. Hi I am having a problem with my deodorant I have tried many deodrants and I am allergic to all but one I can use dove I have tried clinical ,advanced, original ,and the new dry spray but now it doesn’t work. What would you recommend?

    1. I used Mitchum for a while, and then I was able to switch back to Dove with no problems. For me, it has always been a matter of switching it up enough that my body doesn’t get used to it. Good luck!

  6. Really, really good article. I honestly never knew your body got use to the same antiperspirant or deo. It really makes sense to me now reading this.

    Sure used to be great for me, but has stopped working when i need it most- during hard exercises and hot weather. I’m torn between knowing if sprays, roll-ons, or sticks are generally better either??

    1. From my experience, it all has to do with making sure you use the products as directed on the box. As a personal preference, I like the sticks. 🙂

  7. I’ve had this same problem and after a lot of exasperation, I started using Old Spice. Yup. Man deodorant lol I figured guys cologne and body spray usually has a longer lasting scent so it might be better so I found one called Wolfthorn that has a fruity smell to it so you can’t even tell it’s really for dudes. It’s been working great for about 3 years!

  8. Wow… I thought this was just me! I used to be able to wear something of my nicer work tops, sweaters & jackets a couple times before washing / cleaning but, to my frustration, not anymore. Also, aside from becoming self conscious, that poses a big bummer because being able to wear things a couple times saves the fading, etc of nicer fabrics.

    I think we can say, most of us are not a stinky people. In fact, I think it’s more of a personal thing and sometimes, we can be are own worst critics. Also, the heat and humidity has been normal this summer, which has not helped matters at all.

    I personally use “two” kinds of soap when I shower and recently, I felt the soaps were not helping either… So, tonight I used good old fashioned “baking soda” to clean under the arms and it seemed to work great! I also skipped the deodorant completely and used a dusting of baking soda for a change as I figured this would help clean any bacteria, as well as neutralize order. Funny thing, it worked!

    However, I am not sure if I would trust that for all day confidence but, it might be a good alternative to help clean & neutralize the ph on the skin???

    As far as deodorants go, I also switch between “Tom’s” natural antiperspirant / deodorant, “Lady Speed Stick” & “Ban.” I thought I was crazy for thinking there was a difference but, after reading your post, I guess not… I do check the strength in the ingredients however, I also feel all the crazy scents tend to make matters worse so, I personally stick with “baby powder” scents. Also, what I find to be even crazier is, some of the labels claim “24” hour protection… Well, not for me! HahaHah!

    Well, it’s time to switch brands again & I think I will try some of the recommended ones on this post… however, it’s hard to find one that doesn’t stain my clothes with white residue either, which happens to be a terrible problem with the “Arm & Hammer” baking soda brand deodorant. I don’t know what’s worse, not feeling fresh or, having all your clothes stained with deodorant!

    Well, I couldn’t sleep tonight and who would have ever guessed this topic was on the Internet?? Go figure & goodluck

  9. I’m going to make this easy on you all. Wash well, antiperspirant at night, Lucky Tiger aftershave in the morning. You’re welcome.

  10. Antiperspirants do well to keep me from sweating, but they always lose scent after a few hours. I’ve tried secret, dove, degree, bam deotarents and nothing seems to last long for me. I’ll switch to a new one, but after about two weeks they completely stop working. I don’t know what to do, any suggestions?

  11. A great article thank you! My 15-year-old daughter and I realized that her anti-perspirant/deodorant was not working well with in the last couple of weeks….embarrassing! Especially since she showers every day! You don’t ever want to offend people and feel like they can smell you. Trying some of these tips here… I also read that it is a good idea to use a cool hair dryer under your arms for 10 seconds before and after applying product and to never apply product to wet or damp skin.

    *** As a sidenote I wanted to share something else… during this timeframe my daughter started using powder protein drinks, first whey then plant-based. I looked up information and found that body odor can be a by-product. I have also found that the body odor smell is stronger and is still present even after washing her clothing. Detergent and baking soda combined did not help-neither did multiple washings. Instead I had to purchase odor fighting Oxyclean, turn the clothes inside out, have them soak in the washing machine for a few hours, run that cycle through then run as a regular load as usual. Thankfully this eliminated any odors. I hope this helps!

  12. This is an old thread but I’m hoping I’ll still get a response to my question. So, everyone says I should put my antiperspirant on at night for it to work best. My problem is I’m menopausal and I sweat like a farm animal at night and wake up drenched in the morning. A shower in the morning is an absolute must. I’ve tried switching brands, I make sure I’m totally dry when I apply, not sure what else to do? I currently have about six brands in my medicine cabinet. I’m going bananas trying to find something that works.

  13. After having the same problem, and after researching it, I decided to try washing my clothes with Tide, instead of Woolite. Apparently, mild laundry detergent doesn’t have the necessary chemicals to eliminate stains or odor that may be inn your clothing, and as soon as your body heats up it reacts to left- over bacteria and , well you know what happens. I would think Tide would be harsher on fabric, but its worth a try to eliminate odor. I also soaked my laundry in baking soda and water first. Just doing the first load now–will see if it works. Incidentaly, I always use Tide on my husbands laundry. He doesn’t have a problem with odor.

  14. If you can stand the smell, I tried white vinegar and then put secret on top of it.. It works, keeps you from sweating and your underarms stay dry.. Hope this helps someone.

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