Ingredients in deodorants that help mask body odors are perfume fragrances, essential oils, anti-microbials such as triclosan and metal chelant compounds. Ingredients found in deodorants work by counteracting the action of bacteria on body sweat, which is what causes the body odor.
Triclosan, which is an active ingredient in deodorants, changes the pH of the underarm area by making it too acidic and salty. In these conditions, bacteria cannot thrive. Without a thriving number of bacteria to break down the proteins and fats released through sweating, no odor is produced. Alcohol, which is an ingredient of deodorants, works by killing bacteria, while metal chelant compounds slow the growth of bacteria. Perfume fragrances and essential oils mask the smell of perspiration.