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What is Deodorant Soap?

Lainie Petersen
By
Updated May 21, 2024
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Deodorant soap is a cleanser formulated to help reduce body odor. While all soaps clean the skin, a deodorant soap is formulated to both kill and retard the growth of bacteria. By controlling bacteria, the deodorant soap acts to reduce the cause of unpleasant smells.

Body odor is typically caused when perspiration comes into contact with bacteria that lives on the skin. The bacteria begins to consume the perspiration, breaking it down into bad-smelling byproducts. When someone uses deodorant soap to wash, the antiseptic ingredients kill bacteria that is already present and discourages its further growth. Deodorant soaps can be used all over the body to discourage bad and stale odors from forming as a result of sweating.

The first deodorant soap, Royal Disinfectant Soap, was originally marketed as a general hygiene product. Developed at the turn of the 20th century, the soap was formulated using carbolic acid, a disinfectant commonly used in hospitals. The soap's ability to kill bacteria and other microorganisms was a selling point at a time when antibiotics were not available and infectious diseases were rampant.

Eventually people became aware that soaps infused with disinfectants also had deodorizing capabilities, leading to a change in marketing strategy. Ironically, some modern day soap companies are now formulating deodorant soaps with additional antibacterial ingredients and marketing them as tools in the fight against illness and disease.

For many people, deodorant soaps are not enough to prevent the occurrence of body odor throughout the course of the day. The armpits, in particular, can be a source of significant body odor, and many people need to use a separate deodorant product under their arms. There are various types of deodorants on the market including roll-on, stick, cream, and spray deodorant. Many deodorant scents are developed to appeal to a target market, with women's deodorants often smelling like flowers or baby powder and men's deodorants scented with traditionally "manly" smells such as pine. Some companies market both deodorant soaps as well as underarm deodorants that are scented with the same fragrance.

Even if someone finds that deodorant soap is effective at preventing his body odor, he or she may also want to use a separate product to control armpit perspiration. Underarm perspiration can be a source of embarrassment and can cause permanent stains on clothing. The antiseptic properties of deodorant soap will not prevent or retard perspiration. Underarm antiperspirants usually contain both an antiseptic that can control odor along with a separate ingredient to prevent perspiration.

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Lainie Petersen
By Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an editor. With a unique educational background, she crafts engaging content and hosts podcasts and radio shows, showcasing her versatility as a media and communication professional. Her ability to understand and connect with audiences makes her a valuable asset to any media organization.
Discussion Comments
By anon953036 — On May 23, 2014

@Valencia: Try a crystal deodorant, but check the ingredients because some have aluminum. I really like them. Crystal deodorant might be the "stone" that's been recommended to you

By anon304160 — On Nov 18, 2012

I used nivea anti-perspirant deodorant. It says you are protected for 48 hours, so why do I still get sweaty and even have a bad odor? Can someone help me to get rid of bad odor?

By anon294293 — On Oct 01, 2012

There are even some fragrances that have a matching talcum powder which really helps seal in the moisturizing benefits of your body lotion.

By anon291167 — On Sep 12, 2012

I try to vary what I use. I also love to use body washes especially if they are scented with my favorite fragrance. I like to layer my body wash and then use the body lotion of the same scent and that is usually enough. I don’t have to apply the same perfume although sometimes I do that. It also allows you to use less of your perfume which tends to cost more than your body wash.

There are even some fragrances that have a matching talcum powder which really helps to seal in the moisturizing benefits of your body lotion.

By anon272749 — On Jun 03, 2012

To me, the best deodorant soap on the market is Shield. Shield has an aqua-fresh fragrance and contains a special deodorizing ingredient to kill the bacteria that react with sweat and create unpleasant body odors. It's a fresh, clean and unisex fragrance that suits both men and women and it lingers enough to keep you feeling fresh all day but not so strong that it's overpowering.

The soap cleans the skin well and leaves it feeling smooth without dryness or tightness and without leaving a greasy residue on the skin surface. Shield soap is great to use in the shower or bath and can be used all over the body.

By manykitties2 — On Jun 18, 2011

If you are traveling to different countries, especially in Northern Asia, you may find purchasing things like deodorant soap and deodorant nearly impossible.

In countries like South Korea, deodorant is rarely used, and it is considered somewhat abnormal to need it. There have been some scientific studies that show that some people from certain regions have stunted sweat glands, so they don't produce the same odors that we do in the west. It has a lot to do with genetics.

If you do find deodorant soap and deodorant in Northern Asia, it is usually quite weak. It is a good idea to bring a supply when you travel.

By drtroubles — On Jun 17, 2011

I find it interesting that not all people need to use deodorant soap throughout their lives. Often our scents change with age and depending on our health.

Nonenal is a kind of fatty acid that is produced when we are older, and many feel it has a distinct smell, similar to grease and grass mixed together. This unpleasant scent can prompt those who are aging to give deodorant soap a first try.

For those who notice the sudden shift in a loved one's smell, it is a good idea for them to had to a doctor. There have been many reported cases of cancers causing an abrupt smell change that is quite offensive. Using lots of deodorizing products barely masks it.

By surfNturf — On Jun 17, 2011

@BrickBack -I know what you mean. I like to use those body deodorant sprays when I get out of the shower. I like the fresh clean scent. It really relaxes me and makes taking a shower more fun because you have different body deodorants to choose from.

I also like to use body scrubs to exfoliate the dead skin layers and make my skin look fresh. When I follow with the body lotion it makes my skin even softer and the scent of the body lotion is nice enough to wear alone.

By BrickBack — On Jun 17, 2011

@Penzance356 - I have to say that I like bar soap especially Irish Spring because it has such a refreshing scent. I also like bar soaps with fruity scents like you find in many stores in the mall, but they are a little pricey.

I try to vary what I use. I also love to use body washes especially if they are scented with my favorite fragrance. I like to layer my body wash and then use the body lotion of the same scent and that is usually enough. I don’t have to apply the same perfume although sometimes I do that. It also allows you to use less of your perfume which tends to cost more than your body wash.

There are even some fragrances that have a matching talcum powder which really helps to seal in the moisturizing benefits of your body lotion.

By Penzance356 — On Jun 17, 2011

Before you start using a deodorant soap make sure that you are doing everything you can to avoid sabotaging its success.

I find that wearing clothes made of natural fibers, and never wearing any item more than once between laundering, really helpful to combat that stale odor.

If you are crafty it's possible to make your own soap, using natural anti-bacterials such as tea tree oil. At least that way you know exactly what is in the product.

By angelBraids — On Jun 17, 2011

@Valencia - I appreciate your care for the environment and your quest for a natural deodorant product. While I think a deodorant soap may be a good fit for you, please bear in mind some potential issues.

Brands such as Dial soap still contain chemicals, and have potential side effects ranging from eye damage to skin rashes or dermatitis.

Glycerin soap is a more skin friendly alternative, and it's not hard to find anti bacterial versions which contain no colorings or preservatives.

Another option is Irish Spring soap, which is quite easy to find in a masculine orientated scent. Then of course older men will also love the Old Spice deodorant soap bar, if you can find it. I heard that it doesn't contain triclosan, so it may not be so great for those who tend to have a body odor issue.

If you think about it, not only is soap going onto your skin but it is also washing away into rivers and oceans. I'd rather avoid polluting the world if possible, and every small action helps. Consequently by bias is towards the non scented, natural products.

By Valencia — On Jun 17, 2011

I've been looking for an alternative to traditional roll on deodorant for a while, as I'm concerned about the aluminum most of them contain. I also avoid spray ons out of concern for the environment, which doesn't leave me with many choices.

As much as I care about nature and want to avoid chemicals I can't risk smelling bad at the end of the day, so what to do? Someone recommended I try a special stone that is supposed to reduce body odor, but I'm sceptical.

I know myself, and I will only feel reassured with an actual product that I can apply to my body in some way. If anyone has any recommendations for the brand with the best deodorant power in a bar of soap I'd love to hear them.

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen, a talented writer, copywriter, and content creator, brings her diverse skill set to her role as an...
Learn more
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