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.