Sure Deodorant: Under the Cap [Part 4]

July 09, 2019 1 Comment

Sure Deodorant: Under the Cap [Part 4]

Ah, deodorants/antiperspirants. What an interesting part of our ‘skincare’ routine that most of us don’t even think twice about. You likely use one or the other to prevent sweat or to cover up body odour. 

➔ But why do we sweat?

Sweating can happen for a variety of different reasons – a reaction to heat, stressful situations, spicy foods, infections. It's basically our body's way or regulating our temperature. We don’t just sweat from our armpits – concentrated sweat glands can be found in our palms, soles, and scalp.

Of course, excessive sweating can be an indication of a deeper health issue, but for run of the mill sweating did you know that sweat itself doesn’t smell? Research shows It’s only when bacteria feast on the fatty oils in sweat, that they produce the bad smelling gases we think of as ‘body odour.’ More than 6 types of bacteria have been found in armpits – each with a different purpose and ‘smell.’

➔ Do we all have different levels of body odour?

You probably already know the answer to this if you have a smellier sibling or significant other, but yes. Men don’t necessarily have more sweat glands than women, but they do have more of a bacteria called Corynebacteria, which are known to be particular stinky. Some people even have little or no body odour at all because of particular genotypes (for e.g. this is particularly true in East Asia).

➔ So what's the big difference between antiperspirant or deodorant?

Simply put – deodorants are for covering up smells, and anti-perspirants are for covering up sweat. Deodorants prevent the smell of body odour either by masking it, or by using anti-microbials to kill the bacteria that cause the smell altogether. Antiperspirants on the other hand prevent the ‘wetness’ from sweat by blocking the ducts and glands that produce the sweat to begin with. They often contain aluminium salts like aluminium zirconium or aluminium chloride. In fact, in some parts of South Asia and the Middle East, pure Potassium Alum (or crystal rock, Fitkiri) is used as an antiperspirant. 

Though many fear that antiperspirants lead to breast cancer or alzheimer’s, we couldn’t find any conclusive evidence to support the claim (link to National Cancer Institute here). The one thing that has been proven is that those who don’t use any under-arm aids have more Corynebacteria than those who have been using deodorants/antiperspirants for a long time. Some also claim antiperspirants are irritating, and cause a burning sensation leading to swollen skin.

When choosing what to use, think about what actually bothers/affects you – the smell of body odour or the ‘wet’ feeling from the sweat itself?

Image via Sweatblock

➔ How do I choose between a roll-on stick vs. spray-on deodorant?

Some argue that aerosol sprays have negative environmental effects (and you can inhale the chemicals while applying), but the pros are they tend to dry quicker (no stains), and you can share. On the other hand, roll-on sticks are better for travel and might offer ‘stronger’ antiperspirant protection.

We’re reviewing a roll-on stick this week and will share an aerosol spray in the coming weeks!

Under the Cap: Sure Men Antiperspirant Deodorant Stick 





Creates slip

Silicone, gives product a silky and slippery texture.

Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY

Antiperspirant ingredient

What ‘clogs’ your sweat ducts in antiperspirants and inhibits the bacterial growth that results in ‘BO.’ Some find that sweat mixed with AZG leaves a yellow-ish stain.

PPG-14 Butyl Ether

Increases smooth application

Synthetic petroleum product.

Stearyl Alcohol

Softens skin, thickens formulation


Hydrogenated Castor Oil

Emollient, creates slip

Helps product glide on easily and prevents formula from flaking.

PEG-8 Distearate


Helps oils and waters stay mixed together so they don’t naturally separate.


Absorbs moisture and oil

Mineral (naturally occurring or can be manmade), composed of magnesium, silicon, oxygen and hydrogen. Concern b/c talc can be contaminated with asbestos (another naturally occurring mineral that is often found near talc, but a known carcinogen). Read more from the FDA here.



All-encompassing term that can include 30-50 (or more) synthetic ingredients to add fragrance to a product.



Butylated hydroxytoluene, comes from Toluene (a type of crude oil). Some countries require health warnings to be listed when BHT or BHA (a chemical cousin) is used in food products. May cause endocrine disruption and dermatitis.

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride


Often used in skincare products – made by mixing coconut oil and glycerine.

Gelatin Crosspolymer 

 Skin conditioning

Usually taken from animal's body parts, in this case we've read it might come from fish. 

Cellulose Gum

Thickening agent


Sodium Benzoate


Restricted usage in some countries.

Hydrated Silica

Bulking agent





Sodium Starch Octenylsuccinate, Maltodextrin, Hydrolysed Corn Starch


Stabilise emulsions.


Absorbs moisture from sweat

Absorbs moisture from sweat, has been found to be irritating for some.

Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone

Fragrance components

Restricted use due to sensitisation.

Benzyl Alcohol


To prevent products from growing mould and bacteria.

Benzyl Salicylate

Fragrance additive


Citronellol, Coumarin, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool

Fragrance components

When in quantities of .01% or greater, these fragrance components need to be listed out separately because the IFRA (International Fragrance Association) deems them to be allergens.

Now that you know what some of the ingredients in your deodorant do, have a look at what's in your products. Over time you'll get familiar with why each of those ingredients are in there and can spot some unnecessary filler ones. 

It'll take time to learn but trust us it's worth it -- you'll armour yourself with the knowledge to cut through a lot of false marketing claims.

1 Response


July 09, 2019

Oh wow how interesting!! I didn’t know this; it was very informative!

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