In actuality, there is not much difference between men's and women's deodorant aside from fragrance and packaging differences. The active ingredients in each are the same, and both can be equally effective. To choose the best women's deodorant, then, consider the type of fragrance you want, as well as if you want an all natural deodorant, or prefer a standard deodorant and antiperspirant.
Though the terms are often used interchangeably, deodorant and antiperspirant are two different things. Deodorant helps to keep bacteria from forming on the skin, which can lead to odor, but does not prevent perspiration. Antiperspirant, on the other hand, actually plugs the sweat glands to prevent odor and perspiration. Generally, deodorant and antiperspirant are sold as a combination; this is the most common type of deodorant product that is found in stores.
The most common active ingredients in standard women's deodorant and antiperspirant are aluminum chlorohydrate or aluminum zirconium chlorohydrate. These ingredients plug the sweat glands and prevent perspiration and odor. When choosing women's deodorant, the deodorant with the highest concentration of this active ingredient will be most effective at preventing sweating. Some clinical strength deodorants are now available without a prescription; these have high concentrations of these ingredients. Some experts recommend that this type of deodorant should be applied at night, giving it ample time to soak in; it may then be reapplied after a morning shower if necessary.
All natural or crystal women's deodorant does not contain either of these ingredients, and does not function as an antiperspirant. Instead, it uses natural ingredients to form a barrier on the skin, which then prevents bacteria from growing; the bacteria is what causes body odor. Some of the common ingredients used in natural deodorants include zinc ricinoleate and ammonium alum. Some people prefer to use natural or crystal deodorant because of concerns about the safety of the antiperspirant ingredients; further study on this subject is needed.
The type of deodorant you choose depends on your personal preferences, and whether or not you want an antiperspirant ingredient as part of your deodorant as well. People with sensitive skin should choose a deodorant that is fragrance-free. In addition, it is not absolutely necessary to stick with women's deodorant, if you prefer the scent of men's deodorant or find it to be more effective. Deodorant for teens will generally not be effective enough for adults, because it contains lower concentrations of active ingredients.