A liquid deodorant is a mixture of different chemicals designed to be applied to the underarm or other parts of the body to remove and possibly prevent body odor caused by perspiration. A deodorant works by attempting to destroy or inhibit the bacteria that grow inside the sweat that is excreted. The two ways that liquid deodorant can be applied are with a roll-on applicator or from a spray bottle, whether aerosol or pump styles. Deodorant is designed to remove the odor of the bacteria, not to prevent perspiration as an antiperspirant would do.
Body odor that develops as a result of perspiration is not actually because of the sweat. The sweat from a body is basically an odorless liquid made of mostly water and a small amount of fats or other compounds. The odor is actually generated by bacteria that are living on the skin or that are in the air. These bacteria enjoy the heat of areas such as the underarms and can feed on the sweat as it accumulates on the skin. After processing the sweat, the bacteria release waste gases and byproducts that actually create the odor associated with sweating.
The purpose of liquid deodorant is to remove the odor created by the bacteria feeding on perspiration. One of the first things that a deodorant attempts to do is to stop the bacteria. This can be achieved by using certain chemicals, such as alcohol or boric acid, to kill them when the liquid deodorant is applied. Although the bacteria will inevitably return, the deodorant can be effective for several hours after application.
An aspect of most liquid deodorant is the addition of fragrances to their ingredients. Once the bacteria have been stopped from producing their unpleasant odor, then it can be replaced with a more agreeable fragrance. Any scent that is added to a liquid deodorant should override the smell of the bacteria quickly, but also might dissipate over time as the deodorant formula evaporates and wears away.
One of the problems that some people can have when using a liquid deodorant is a sensitivity or allergy to some of the ingredients. The liquid can be an irritant causing swelling or rashes wherever it is applied. Certain types of liquid deodorant are labeled as hypoallergenic, meaning they contain very few ingredients beyond the basic ones required to inhibit bacterial growth. There also are hypoallergenic deodorants that do not contain any fragrance either, because some people are also very sensitive to the oils used to create the scent.