Antiperspirant or deodorant and cooling

What is the conventional wisdom for using deodorant? If i had a penny for every time my wife and kids said “urrgh you smell” i’d be able to afford a new bike… I shower loads and always straight after a workout but i guess “normal” people would just put some roll-on on their pits and problem solved.

My query/worry is that this stuff always seem to be sold on the basis of “24 hours sweat free anti-perspirant” or similar. If you’re blocking all your sweat pores then how does this adversely impact on cooling? I’m pretty skinny but in a decent trainer workout i have both fans on full blast to avoid a serious puddle of sweat. I get the impression that cooling is a good thing…

So - what is the correct way to approach this?

I just use deodorant, don’t have any problem on hot rides. I’m fine with people telling me I cycle too much, have too many bikes, lycra looks ridiculous, etc, but I would draw the line at having my family tell me I stink on a regular basis!


Everyone is different, both in sweat amount and body odor so your mileage will vary. I use Old Spice Red Zone, which is a deodorant, not an anti-perspirant. Not a big fan of the white stuff and I don’t seem to sweat much with the deodorant. It works for me.

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Coincidentally, yesterday I was watching this:Women 10000m Finals | U.S Track & Field Olympic Team Trials June 26,2021 - YouTube and the commentator stated that the runners (because of the heat) would not be wearing deodorant, antiperspirant, lotion, etc. to avoid risk of messing up their evaporative cooling. I suppose when you’re the color commentator on a long race, you need to think of things to talk about… :slight_smile:

Comments start at 4:07: Women 10000m Finals | U.S Track & Field Olympic Team Trials June 26,2021 - YouTube

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I use Schmidt’s charcoal and magnesium natural deodorant. This has been my go-to for years now as it keeps my BO in check better than any other I’ve tried over the years since dropping anti-perspirents. As far as stinking with riding; I definitely smell a bit from long hard rides now and then but not always. It depends how much I sweat. Since getting a second strong fan setup behind me on my trainer it’s less frequent. Outside rides depends on humidity and intensity, but generally with the airflow from riding I’m fine.

I think it is not sweat itself that smells but bacteria that comes into contact with sweat. You may try out some anti-bacterial soaps. Also, food you eat may affect body odor.

Anyway, those are just thoughts. Better google around to check if there is any ground to it.

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I’d think you’re really looking at very marginal gains by not wearing deodorant. Unless you’re getting paid big bucks to ride your bike, wear some deodorant and be a normal human.


If smell is the issue, use hibicleanse (or generic equivalent) after soap in the shower.

I live where the temps are 70 to 90F from April to November (it’s HOT!). I would never even consider going without antiperspirant/deodorant.

As for the sweating issue, are you using a Lasko Carpet Drying fan? If not, it makes a massive difference. I use it, plus a Halo headband, and keep the temp at about 76 for indoor workouts and I never have a puddle.

But keep it away from your junk. Seriously…

I’ve pretty much stopped wearing deodorant and antiperspirants. The wife says I’ve gone ‘caveman’, but admits that I really don’t stink much. The sweat does get nasty on kit that sits for a few days so I have taken to washing things quicker, and shower after every riding excursion so it’s not a problem. I use a Nivea Men’s Charcoal body wash stuff that seems to work well for cutting any stink. For outdoor requires social events I use a cologne, Calvin Klein Shock mostly. Nivea used to make a Nivea Men’s Sport line that also worked well (the face soap could burn eyes) but they seem to have dropped it. Maybe from the eye irritation. I used to ride with someone who put on ‘pit stuff’ before riding. I found that so bizarre. I’d never recommend doing that, ever. But to each their own I guess… When I ride, I sweat all over, not just from the pit area. I’d have to coat my whole body with the stuff if I was going to get that weird.

I’ve found the antiperspirants are pretty disgusting. They turn into a gooey mess that’s hard to shower off. I use deodorant before the workout if I’m already a bit smelly, then of course shower right after, and then deodorant (not antiperspirant). During the workout and before the shower I’m going to stink.

Some people depending on genetics and nutrition and other factors don’t stink much if they don’t use deodorant. Some of us aren’t so lucky.

Anti-perspirant is gross and bad for your health. For cycling / bikepacking / festivals or anything where you want to not stick for long periods, I’ve found this deodorant called trust that’s incredible;

  • Apply once every 6 or 7 days approx.
  • Totally sweat & waterproof for swimming/showers whatever.
  • Totally effective

Conventional? Here?

I use it but I’m showering twice a day so don’t really need it.

Funny you should ask though as I’ve just started back in the office and the underarm spray seems to be ruining my nice new shirt :slightly_frowning_face:. And I seem to be sweating a ton more than I did a few years ago.

‘Stench’ seems to vary with diet. Has anyone found certain diets, foods, seem to result in worse odor? I ‘cheated’ and ate something beef years ago, and the next couple of days I seemed to really stink.

Deodorants kill bacteria on your skin and reduce the amount of sweat. Everyone is different, so the type of deodorant or antiperspirant they use varies. Deodorant shouldn’t replace showering, but it’s a great way to stay fresh throughout the day. If your wife tells you that you smell even though you take care of your hygiene, you should check with a doctor. It’s rare, but some health conditions might impact how your body smells. However, if you don’t have any health issues, I’d recommend buying deodorants from pharmacies like Some drug store deodorants don’t work well on everybody, but pharmacies have natural products with active ingredients that will help with the smell problem without causing skin irritations.

I find that intense sweat from exercise barely smells (especially if showering soon after), but sweat from being at the computer etc can quickly become unpleasant.

I never use deodorant during exercise, as sweating helps for cooling, and i sweat so much that maybe the bad smell just drips away :sweat_smile:.

I had an issue with heavy pit sweating (shirt always wet) and often the smell that goes with it for years. I was overweight, and my diet was horrible. I reached a point where it seemed like the antiperspirant was maybe exacerbating the issue, and though I was using a lighter scent the scent with the BO was possibly worse than without the BO. So I went in search, and found that Arm & Hammer Essentials deodorant (not antiperspirant) (unscented, has a slight citrus in the applicator but I can’t smell it on me), and it made a huge difference in how much I was sweating in my pits, and how often/bad I had BO.

I also went on a low carb diet (with plenty of cheating) and narrowed consumption of wheat as the cause of my tummy gurgling and other GI issues, and eliminating it has almost completely eliminated the odor issue for me. I also got back into biking and lost a bunch of weight. I live in FL and sweat a LOT, but haven’t had odor issues for year. Weight loss probably helped, exercising outside in FL (getting acclimated to the heat), surely has helped, but I’m sure the deodorant and/or wheat made it stop.