Wait, Should We Be Using Deodorant Before Bed? Here's What To Know

The internet is always up in arms about something. Is the dress blue or white? Is the voice saying Laurel or Yanny? And now, everyone wants to know if wearing deodorant before you go to bed is a good idea. One Twitter user put the question simply, "Y'all wear deodorant to bed?" and their tweet went viral with over 2.8 million impressions and thousands of replies and retweets. Certain individuals were firmly in the yes camp, while others planted their flag on the opposing side. Some suggested that as long as you shower before bed, deodorant is superfluous.

It turns out a big celebrity has a clear opinion on the matter — "Riverdale" star Camila Mendes. "One part of my night routine that I love, is one of the best tips that Secret has given me, and that's putting on deodorant at night," Mendes revealed during an interview with InStyle. "It's the way to do it. You put deodorant on at night and then you wake up feeling fresh and ready to take on the day ... I woke up sweating this morning, to be honest, but I always apply deodorant right before bed. So even if my back is sweaty, hey, my armpits are clean and fresh."

Mendes may be sold, but experts have weighed in and it turns out there's some dissent about this practice.

Antiperspirants are more effective overnight

If you are like Mendes and want to wake up smelling nice while also saving time on your AM routine, then some dermatologists recommend giving your pits a swipe or two of antiperspirant before bed — not deodorant. First of all, what's the difference? Dr. Marisa Garshick told Bustle that antiperspirants contain aluminum or other materials that obstruct your sweat glands, preventing sweat from being released. In contrast, deodorants allow you to sweat but soak up moisture or hide the unpleasant scent. So, why is an antiperspirant better at night?

Dermatologist and professor Dr. Shari Lipner explained to TODAY.com, "We sweat less at night, so the antiperspirant can come into closer contact with sweat glands and decrease sweating." Over the course of the evening, your body will have a larger window of time to soak up the antiperspirant, allowing it to last long after you wake up the following day. Dr. Lipner said that deodorant doesn't need to be applied at night because if you're just after the smell-masking feature, it will serve you better to put it on in the morning. 

Dr. Lipner's colleagues are not all in agreement, however. In fact, some doctors and dermatologists warn against this practice.

Aluminum in antiperspirants may warrant health concerns

So, is it dangerous to apply antiperspirant at night? New York dermatologist Dr. Alan M. Dattner said yes, telling InStyle, "Antiperspirants coagulate proteins in the sweat ducts, so there is no reason to apply this at night. In fact, they should be used as infrequently as possible. There are some health questions about applying aluminum, where it can get absorbed, on a daily basis." Some of these "health questions" stem from studies that have suggested a link between aluminum in antiperspirants and breast cancer, per Cancer.org. The outlet reported that no conclusive evidence has surfaced so far, but Dattner related to InStyle that caution is warranted as we learn more.

What about putting on some deodorant before heading off to dreamland? Dr. Julia Tzu, the founder and medical director of Wall Street Dermatology, assured InStyle that you don't need it. "Perspiration levels are not as high compared to daytime and usually the 'deodorizing' is most important during the daytime," she said. Tzu added that applying deodorant too often might cause its own problems. "While using it occasionally at bedtime is not harmful, use of deodorants around the clock may be an additional source of unnecessary irritation to the skin."

At the end of the day, some concerns might be warranted. If you want to err on the side of caution when heading to bed, grab your deodorant rather than reaching for antiperspirant — but only when you need an extra boost to get through particularly hot summer nights.