Deodorant is a consumer product or an ingredient designed to reduce, prevent, or cover up unpleasant body odors. Most external body odor occurs when bacteria react with perspiration and secretions on the skin. Perspiration itself has no odor. Deodorants generally contain chemicals that stop bacteria growth. Many contain a fragrance that masks odor. Deodorants called antiperspirants also reduce the amount of perspiration.
The word deodorant is most frequently associated with personal products that act against underarm odor. But deodorants are also made for the feet and genital area, and to reduce odors from surgical openings and those caused by various disorders. Deodorants are manufactured in the form of creams, roll-on liquids or lotions, sticks, and sprays. Common antibacterial ingredients in deodorants include magnesium salts, benzethonium chloride, and triclosan. Aluminum salts or aluminum-zirconium compounds in most antiperspirants act to reduce perspiration.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies antiperspirants as drugs, because they alter a body function. Antiperspirants must meet FDA regulations for safety and effectiveness. Underarm deodorants that do not contain an antiperspirant ingredient are not subject to these regulations.