Does Applying Deodorant Before Bed Clog Your Pores?

If you've ever made the disastrous mistake of forgetting to apply deodorant before leaving the house, then you've likely experienced the panic-induced paralysis that this simple mistake often elicits in its wake. This minor slip-up then leads you to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of driving back home during the morning rush, all for a quick swipe of deodorant to your armpits.


Deodorant has, undeniably, become an integral part of the everyday routine to the point where forgoing deodorant altogether is considered a grievous social faux pas. This unsaid rule exists for a reason. In fact, you'll be hard pressed to find someone who enjoys walking around sporting sweat-stained sleeves and a musty body odor.

Thankfully, deodorant and antiperspirant are there to save you from unnecessary embarrassment. People tend to confuse deodorant and antiperspirant, but they are not, technically speaking, interchangeable. Sometimes an antiperspirant even contains a deodorant and vice versa. Here's what to know about deodorant, antiperspirant, and clogged pores.

Deodorant versus antiperspirant

Both deodorant and antiperspirant combat body odor, but they do so through different means. Deodorant is designed to prevent smelly armpits, but it does not prevent you from sweating. The ingredients found in most deodorants typically contain alcohol-based components that alter the pH of your skin, according to Healthline. Armpit stink occurs when bacteria metabolize your sweat and produce a strong odor as a by-product (via DermNet). By applying deodorant and raising the acidity, you make bacteria less likely to thrive. The majority of deodorants also contain fragrance to help mask odor.


Antiperspirant, on the other hand, prevents perspiration using active ingredients such as aluminum salts. While deodorant masks body odor, antiperspirant reduces odor by blocking sweat from reaching the skin, which prevents the amount of waste produced by sweat-metabolizing bacteria. Most antiperspirants contain a combination of deodorant and antiperspirant properties that work together to fight sweat and mask the stench.

Should you apply deodorant before bed?

Many people apply deodorant at night instead of in the morning. But does applying deodorant or antiperspirant at night clog your pores? Between deodorant and antiperspirant, as explained above, only antiperspirant can obstruct your sweat ducts and pores.


Here's what to consider before applying antiperspirant before bed. Firstly, you sweat for a reason. Sweat keeps your body cool and regulates your temperature, and your underarms contain a large number of sweat glands specifically for this purpose. As medical advisor Aragona Giuseppe, M.D., G.P., tells Real Simple, "The absence of sweat can contribute to overheating because the body cannot regulate its temperature." Constant use of an antiperspirant also increases the risk of skin irritation.

Secondly, your skin absorbs small amounts of aluminum from your antiperspirant, which then accumulates in the breast tissue, according to Penn Medicine. Although many speculate that this phenomenon leads to the development of breast cancer, research disproves the connection between aluminum salts and cancer.


That said, you can certainly apply deodorant and antiperspirant before bed if you wish, though it may be redundant considering you don't sweat as intensely at night as you do during the day. Exceptions exist, of course, in cases where one experiences night sweats or hyperhidrosis. If you decide to experiment with wearing antiperspirant to bed, be sure to apply it to clean, dry skin to reduce irritation.