Whole body deodorant vs. regular deodorant: What’s the difference?

Whole body deodorant vs. regular deodorant: What’s the difference?

As someone who easily overheats, I’m always looking for the next best product to help me manage sweat and odor. Whole body deodorant caught my interest, so I spoke with dermatologists to find out everything about them, including what whole body deodorants actually do and how to shop for one. I also compiled a list of whole body deodorants for you to consider, all of which come recommended by experts or NBC Select staffers who have tried them. 

SKIP AHEAD What is whole body deodorant? | How I picked the best whole body deodorants | The best whole body deodorants in 2024 | How to shop for a whole body deodorant

Selected.Our top picks

Whole body deodorants are designed to reduce or eliminate odors from all areas of the body, rather than just the underarms, according to experts. Dr. Michele Green, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist in New York City, says that while whole body deodorants may not be necessary for everyone, they are safe to use all over the body, including more sensitive areas like the groin or under breasts. Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology in Manhattan, says that these deodorants are ideal for people who want  a comprehensive solution for all-over body odor.

Just as regular underarm deodorants come in a variety of formulas, so do whole body deodorants. They’re most commonly available as creams, sprays and sticks.

Whole body deodorant vs. regular deodorant

Differences between whole body deodorants and regular deodorants can vary depending on the product. According to Green, some whole whole body deodorants may include stronger ingredients to boost moisture absorption, since other areas of the body may secrete more sweat than under the arms. 

However, Garshick says that generally, whole body deodorants are formulated to be gentler, and contain skin-nourishing and antibacterial ingredients for increased sensitivity. “Regular deodorants are primarily designed for underarm use and may not be as gentle or effective for other body areas,” she says. “Using regular deodorant all over the body can lead to irritation, especially in sensitive areas.”

How I picked the best whole body deodorants

When choosing the best whole body deodorants, experts warn of using products containing parabens, propylene, phthalates and sodium lauryl sulfate, since they can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions. For those with more sensitive skin, be sure to use your discretion when it comes to choosing products with fragrance, or consider going with an unscented choice.

In line with this guidance, all deodorants listed below are paraben-free, formulated for whole-body use and recommended either by experts or NBC Select staffers who tested them. I also include deodorants that come in a variety of formulas (cream, stick, etc.) and scents, with most of my picks having unscented options.

The best whole body deodorants in 2024

Best overall whole body deodorant: Lume Whole Body Deodorant

Lume Whole Body Deodorant

What we like

  • Invisible
  • Safe for sensitive skin
  • Dries quickly

Something to note

  • Strong smell at first

If you’ve read my Lume deodorant review, then you know how much I love this option. I use it on my underarms, underboobs, and even in my private areas, and it always keeps me odor-free whether I’m in the office, the gym or running errands The formula dries quickly and invisibly, and it’s also safe for sensitive skin — NBC Select associate updates editor Zoe Malin tried it as well, and says the deodorant is gentle and non irritating. The Lume Whole Body Deodorant is available in a cream tube, cream stick and solid stick formula, and in eight scents, including Soft Powder and Clean Tangerine.

Formula: Cream | Invisible: Yes

Best whole body deodorant balm: Hume Supernatural All Body Deodorant Balm

Hume Supernatural All Body Deodorant Balm

What we like

  • Anti-chafing
  • Safe for sensitive skin

Something to note

  • Only available in balm formula

Hume’s deodorant balm is a long-lasting all body deodorant that uses ingredients like plant-based zinc, probiotics and antioxidants to stop odor while nourishing your skin, according to the brand. Greene says that this deodorant is formulated with plant-based ingredients like zinc ricinoleate to neutralize odor, along with prebiotic extracts and colloidal oatmeal, which help to support the skin’s moisture barrier. It’s safe for sensitive skin, and Hume says it also helps to prevent chafing with its silky, non-greasy balm formula. For best results, the brand recommends applying a small, pea-sized amount and massaging into your desired area, as long as the skin is clean and dry. It’s available in three scents; Coconut Coast, Desert Bloom and an unscented option.

Formula: Balm | Invisible: Yes

Best whole body deodorant spray: Duradry Body Spray

Duradry Body Spray

What we like

  • No scent
  • Natural formula
  • No residue

Something to note

  • Spray bottle can jam easily

Duradry says that this body spray will keep you odor-free for a full 24 hours by neutralizing your body’s natural smell. It uses ingredients like glycolic acid to help stop the growth of odor-causing bacteria, according to Greene. “It also contains potassium alum to decrease sweat production and is fragrance-free to reduce skin irritation,” she says. The spray is clear and dries invisibly on clothes, and is completely unscented, according to the brand.The brand also sells a number of other deodorizing products, including body wash, rice paper wipes, and body powder.

Formula: Spray | Invisible: Yes

Best whole body deodorant stick: Dove Whole Body Deo Anti-Friction Stick

Dove Whole Body Deo Anti-Friction Stick

What we like

  • Helps with chafing
  • Easy to apply

Something to note

  • Not for private areas

This whole body deodorant is a two-for-one special — it acts as both a full body deodorant and an anti-chafing stick for your thighs, feet, or anywhere else, according to the brand. Garshick recommends this deodorant for those with sensitive skin, because of its gentle ingredient list. The stick works by using ingredients like niacinamide, glycerin, lactic acid and vitamins B3 and E to balance and nourish the skin. However, Dove says that this stick shouldn’t be used in private areas, and recommends its Whole Body Deo Invisible Cream formula for those situations instead. The stick comes in coconut-vanilla and unscented versions.

Formula: Stick | Invisible: Yes

Best whole body antiperspirant: Lume Whole Body Deodorant plus

Lume Whole Body Deodorant plus Sweat Control

What we like

  • Antiperspirant
  • Gentle formula

Something to note

  • Nothing to note at this time

For those who struggle with excessive sweating, Garshick suggests Lume’s Sweat Control deodorant. “It includes aluminum salts to reduce sweat and tapioca starch and mandelic acid, making it effective and gentle for various body areas,” she says. The deodorant is formulated to control sweat and smell for up to 72 hours by blocking odor before it forms, according to the brand. It’s available in four scents, including Soft Powder, Lavender Sage, and an unscented option.

Formula: Cream | Invisible: Yes

Best whole body deodorant for sensitive skin: Native Whole Body Deodorant

Native Whole Body Deodorant

What we like

  • Invisible
  • Natural formula
  • Safe for sensitive skin

Something to note

  • Bottle may malfunction

Both Malin and NBC Select associate reporter Bianca Alvarez recommend this natural whole body deodorant, which they both love and use on their underarms. Alvarez, who’s never used a whole body deodorant before, was skeptical at first, but says that she’s since started using it in her regular deodorant rotation. “The lilac and white tea scent is my favorite out of all three and does a great job of controlling any unwanted odor that is bound to show up in the summer for me,” she says. “I also love that it dries clear because I don’t have to worry about it transferring to the armpit portion of my shirts.”

Formula: Spray | Invisible: Yes

Best scented whole body deodorant: Secret Whole Body Deodorant

Secret Whole Body Deodorant

What we like

  • Dries down quickly

Something to note

  • Strong smell
  • No unscented option

This whole body deodorant from Secret is formulated to balance your skin’s pH and keep you fresh for a full 72 hours, according to brand. Before trying this, I’d never used a deodorant spray before, and I was surprised at how quickly it dries down after applying. Although the spray did keep me fresh and body odor-free while I was wearing it, the peach and vanilla scent — despite smelling delicious — was strong at first and took a little getting used to (I usually like my deodorants to have a softer, clean scent). However, I love that the spray doesn’t leave any residue on my clothes and has a gentle formula that doesn’t irritate my underarms. The deodorant is available in peach and vanilla and lilac and waterlily scents.

Formula: Spray | Invisible: Yes

Best natural whole body deodorant: AKT Deodorant Balm

AKT Deodorant Balm

After the brand sent her this natural deodorant to try, NBC Select SEO editor Nikki Brown says that she’s “pleasantly surprised by how high performing it is”. The deodorant uses sodium bicarbonate and zinc oxide to help eliminate odors, and comes in a moisturizing balm formula that the brand recommends applying with your fingertips to freshly clean areas for best results. Brown loves that the deodorant dries down to a powder finish (which makes application a lot less messy) and that the tube packaging is very travel-friendly. “I’m absolutely motivated to use products when they’re as cute as they are functional,” she says.

Formula: Balm | Invisible: Yes

A hand with purple nails holds the AKT Deodorant Balm in the scent Unfragranced in front of a tiled backsplash.
NBC Select SEO editor Nikki Brown loves the travel-friendly packaging of the AKT Deodorant Balm.Courtesy Nikki Brown, SEO Editor

How to shop for whole body deodorants

When shopping for a whole body deodorant, dermatologists recommend taking your skin type and sensitivity levels into consideration. They also suggest looking for ingredients that are exfoliating and odor-preventing, and choosing a formula that fits your lifestyle and preferences.

Skin type and sensitivity

Before purchasing a whole body deodorant (or any skin care product, really), the first thing you’ll need to do is assess your skin type, according to Garshick. This will help you determine which formulas and ingredients will work best for you. Common skin types include dry, oily, combination, acne-prone and sensitive — be especially vigilant if you have sensitive skin and plan on using your whole body deodorant on delicate areas, says Garshick. She recommends performing a patch test to check for allergies or potential irritation before fully committing to a product.


According to the experts, you should look for ingredients that effectively control odor and are gentle on the skin.

  • Gentle exfoliants: Both dermatologists recommend looking for exfoliants like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to smooth skin and prevent odor from building up. “AHAs decrease the pH of the underarm, making the environment less favorable to odor-causing bacteria,” says Greene. She suggests looking for lactic or mandelic acid, both of which are common AHAs in whole body deodorants.
  • Antibacterial agents: Antibacterial agents can help to reduce the presence of odor-causing bacteria, according to Garshick. She recommends looking for ingredients like triclosan or essential oils with antibacterial properties. “Ingredients such as baking soda, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, and eucalyptus oil are excellent for whole body deodorants,” says Greene. “These ingredients contain antibacterial properties to eliminate odor-producing bacteria on the skin’s surface.”
  • Aluminum salts: If you’re looking for an antiperspirant whole body deodorant, Greene says that products with aluminum salts — like aluminum chloride, aluminum chlorohydrate, and aluminum zirconium — are your answer. Aluminum salts work to reduce sweating by mixing with sweat and creating a temporary plug in the sweat duct,” she says. This plug temporarily prevents sweat from being secreted, which is what gives antiperspirants their effect and keeps you sweat-free and dry all day.
  • Nourishing ingredients: To keep your skin soothed, Garshick also recommends deodorants with ingredients that help to nourish skin, like . She suggests products with glycerin or hyaluronic acid.


Whole body deodorants come in a number of formulas, including sticks, creams, sprays and wipes. Garshick suggests choosing one that fits both your lifestyle and your application preferences.

  • Stick: According to Garshick, stick deodorants are convenient and easy to apply, which makes them “ideal for general use across multiple body areas.” They’re especially great for controlling your deodorant application in more sensitive areas, says Greene.
  • Cream: Creams are another common whole body deodorant formula, and according to both experts, they’re well-suited for sensitive and delicate skin. Garshick suggests them for use around the groin area, because “they allow for a more controlled and gentle application”.
  • Spray: If you’re looking to cover a large area on your body, Greene suggests trying a spray formula. They’re quick and easy to apply, making them a great option for on-the-go reapplications. They can also be useful for reaching areas that may be harder to access, adds Gorshack.
  • Wipe: For spot applications throughout the day, Garshick says wipes are “perfect for one-the-go use”. If you’re looking for a quick, easy and portable solution to body odor, this formula type may be right for you.

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Dr. Michele Green is a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist based in New York City.
  • Dr. Marisa Garshick is a board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology in New York City.

Why trust NBC Select?

Ashley Morris is an associate SEO reporter for NBC Select who regularly covers skin care, wellness and more. For this article she interviewed dermatologists about everything you need to know about the best whole body deodorants, including their recommendations on the best products and advice on what to look for when shopping for one.

Catch up on NBC Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance, tech and tools, wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to stay up to date.

Ashley Morris

Ashley Morris is an associate SEO reporter for Select on NBC News.

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