Deodorants are a great way to eliminate body odor and keep your underarms fresh throughout the day. However, some products might contain potential irritants like fragrance and baking soda and are not suitable for those with sensitive underarm skin. To prevent irritation, it's important to look for a formula that's free from potential irritants and contains moisturizers to nourish your delicate skin.
If you don't know which products are safe for your sensitive skin, take a look at our list of favorites! Vanicream's Clinical Strength Deodorant was our top pick due to its non-irritating and moisturizing formula. There are nine other great options on our list, so keep reading to learn more. We also created a buying guide with many tips to help you with your decision.
Dr. Levy is a board certified dermatologist practicing in NYC and Westport, Connecticut. She has expertise in treating inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis. She has an interest in skincare and takes a personalized approach to all of her patients.
mybest US' editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in the US in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
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Before purchasing a deodorant for your sensitive armpits, you will need to consider important factors such as the type and the formula. It's important to avoid potential irritants like fragrances, too!
In this section, we will walk you through some ingredients that might be irritating to your skin. Read on to learn more!
Many deodorants are formulated with ethanol, an alcohol that's effective in killing odor-causing bacteria. However, it can dry out your sensitive skin and might even lead to itchiness.
But not all alcohols are bad for your skin! Many deodorants contain fatty alcohols such as stearyl alcohol. They act as emollients to moisturize skin and also work as a thickener to bind the ingredients together. The best part is that they are not irritating, even to sensitive skin.
Ethanol tends to be drying and can exacerbate conditions like eczema. Many gel deodorants or roll-on formulations contain ethanol, so avoid this if you are eczema-prone. If you suffer from hyperhidrosis, excessive sweating, a gel or ethanol-based product can assist in wicking moisture.
Fragrances are usually added to deodorants to mask your body odor. However, fragrances are proven to be a major cause of allergic contact dermatitis. So, for those with fragrance sensitivity, look for a fragrance-free formula.
There are also many deodorants labeled as "unscented," but don't confuse them with fragrance-free products. Unscented deodorants might contain masking fragrances to cover up the smells of other ingredients, even if the product itself doesn't have a noticeable smell. Therefore, they might still be irritating to people allergic to fragrances.
If you are allergy-prone or have a history of contact dermatitis, make sure you check the ingredient list on the product. There are many chemicals and ingredients that give a product fragrance, so you need to make sure the specific product does not contain the ingredient you are allergic to.
Additionally, check the ingredient for essential oils, which can make the product smell good but may still cause a skin reaction. If you have had a skin allergy evaluation with a dermatologist, ask them for a list of products that are safe for you to use.
Baking soda is frequently used in deodorants since it has strong antibacterial properties to eliminate odor-causing bacteria. However, due to its alkaline nature, baking soda might alter your skin's pH level and strip your skin of its natural oils.
If you choose a deodorant with baking soda, make sure it contains moisturizers to counteract its drying properties. Good moisturizing ingredients usually found in deodorants include sunflower seed oil, shea butter, coconut oil, and castor oil.
Baking soda is one of the most common ingredients to prevent body odor in deodorants. But if you're allergic to baking soda, consider deodorants with ingredients such as arrowroot powder, tapioca starch, and corn starch. They are gentle on the skin and are effective in absorbing moisture and preventing odor.
Many deodorants also use coconut oil, which has strong antibacterial properties to kill odor-causing bacteria. Other odor-eliminating ingredients that are generally safe for sensitive skin include zinc oxide and magnesium hydroxide.
Typically, deodorants only help you mask body odor and cannot reduce sweating. But some deodorants also work as antiperspirants to minimize wetness. The active ingredients in those two-in-one products are aluminum compounds like aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly and aluminum chlorohydrate.
They plug up sweat ducts to temporarily prevent sweating. However, there are concerns that those aluminum salts might lead to health problems such as breast cancer and kidney disease. But so far, no conclusive evidence has been established that aluminum salts negatively impact human health.
So if you have a problem with sweating, consider deodorants that contain aluminum salts. But if you are allergic to aluminum salts or just want to avoid them, opt for a deodorant formulated with ingredients like tapioca starch, charcoal, arrowroot powder, and baking soda.
Keep in mind that these ingredients won't stop you from sweating. Instead, they soak up excess moisture to keep you feeling dry and comfortable.
Aluminum is the gold standard antiperspirant ingredient. It is the ingredient that reduces the amount of sweat. If you are someone who produces a lot of moisture or suffers from hyperhidrosis, a condition with excessive sweating, then make sure you chose a product that has aluminum in it.
Many recent media publications suggest that aluminum can cause cancer; however, scientific and epidemiological studies to date have found no association between aluminum deodorant and breast cancer.
Your underarm skin is very sensitive and can become damaged when shaved or waxed. Shaving and waxing might dry out your skin, too!
To prevent skin irritation and keep your underarm skin nourished and moisturized, look for a formula with effective hydrating ingredients like glycerin or dimethicone. Plant-based oils such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, sunflower oil, castor oil, and shea butter contain many fatty acids and can soften your skin as well.
Some deodorants are formulated with soothing ingredients like goat milk, sage oil, and aloe vera to calm your sensitive skin and prevent irritation.
Dimethicone is a great ingredient to look for if you are active and suffer from irritant dermatitis (chafing) in the armpit area. This ingredient acts as a barrier between the skin and can prevent skin-on-skin rubbing that can lead to an uncomfortable rash. It is a great ingredient to use if you work out outside and sweat often.
Deodorants come in sprays, roll-ons, or sticks. It's important to know their pros and cons in order to choose the type that will work best for you.
Sprays dry quickly and are a great choice for occasions when you need instant odor control. You can also use it on other parts of your body like your feet, chest, or the back of your neck.
However, sprays wear off quickly, so you might have to re-apply frequently. On another note, sprays usually don't leave behind any white residue on your clothing.
I recommend sprays for those who are not heavy sweaters. It is often difficult to get the spray and active ingredients in the center of the armpit where most of the sweat glands are located. Additionally, many sprays can lead to clumping on the skin, which can lead to further skin irritation.
Roll-on deodorants have a ball that applies a gel, liquid, or lotion. They are moisturizing, making them a great choice for those with dry underarms. However, roll-ons do take a while to dry and might leave your underarm skin feel a bit sticky.
On another note, many roll-ons go on clear and won't stain your clothing. Their compact size makes them convenient to pack in your bag, too!
Stick deodorants are usually made with wax, such as beeswax, carnauba wax, or candelilla wax. Their solid form makes them easy to put on. They also have great moisturizing properties and can give your dry underarm skin a boost in moisture.
However, stick deodorants might leave white residue on dark-colored clothing. To avoid this, make sure your deodorant completely dries before you get dressed. Overapplying deodorant might cause white marks as well. Just one or two swipes should be good enough!
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Clinical Strength Deodorant ｜Unscented
Free From Many Potential Irritants
All Natural Deodorant ｜Mountain Lavender
Made With Only Natural Ingredients
Deodorant ｜Coconut & Vanilla
A Natural, Non-Irritating, and Moisturizing Formula
Sensitive Skin Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant ｜Fragrance Free
Suitable For Those With Fragrance Sensitivity
Super Natural Goods
Underarmed ｜Lavender + Eucalyptus
Soften Your Skin With This Deodorant
Purely Gentle Roll-on ｜Unscented, 2 pack
Quick-Drying and Leaves No Residue Behind
Sage Oil to Calm Sensitive Skin
Milk Stick Invisible Deodorant
Great for People Allergic to Baking Soda
Advanced Care Dry Spray ｜Cool Essentials
A Convenient Deodorant Spray for Sensitive Pits
Natural Deodorant ｜Hemp Seed Oil & Patchouli
Vegan, Cruelty-Free, and Moisturizing Deodorant
Vanicream's Clinical Strength Deodorant contains 20 percent aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex gly to reduce sweating and minimize body odor. Formulated with sensitive skin in mind, it's free from potential irritants such as fragrance, lanolin, paraben, and formaldehyde.
Some buyers say this deodorant leaves a lot of white clumps behind. Even so, many buyers, including those with sensitive skin, confirm that it's gentle on skin and doesn't cause any breakouts, rashes, or other allergic reactions. They also appreciate that it's very effective in eliminating body odor.
This vegan, cruelty-free deodorant from Humble is made with only a few natural ingredients. It contains coconut oil to protect you from odor-causing bacteria and corn starch to keep you dry. The scent is also naturally derived from lavender essential oil. What's more, this deodorant is free from baking soda, aluminum, and dyes!
A few reviewers say that this deodorant leaves a residue behind and is hard to clean off. On the other hand, many love the non-irritating formula and further note that the fragrance isn't overwhelming. They also like that the effects last for a long time.
Native's Coconut & Vanilla Deodorant uses a combination of natural ingredients, such as caprylic triglyceride, tapioca starch, baking soda, and magnesium hydroxide, to absorb wetness and prevent body odor. It also contains probiotics that promote the growth of good bacteria to tackle odor-causing bacteria.
A few reviewers say that it stains, but most reviewers confirm that it doesn't lead to any allergic reactions. They like that helps keep their underarm skin dry, moisturized, and comfortable throughout the day. They also enjoy this deodorant's pleasant coconut and vanilla scent.
Made with aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex gly, this product from Almay works both as a deodorant and antiperspirant. It's fragrance-free, making it a good choice for those with fragrance sensitivity. Plus, the gel formula doesn't cause any white marks on your clothes.
According to some reviewers, this deodorant leaves a sticky sensation on the skin and dries it out a little. Nonetheless, the majority are pleased that it doesn't lead to any skin irritation and is truly effective in eliminating body odor and controlling sweat.
Super Natural Goods' deodorant stick uses baking soda, coconut oil, mineral salt, and hydrogen peroxide to eliminate body odor and leave you feeling fresh. Plus, moisturizing honey, vitamin E, avocado oil, and sunflower oil leave your skin feeling soft and nourished.
Some buyers warn that this deodorant leaves oily stains on clothes, and others suggest using a small amount for the best results. Even so, many reviewers confirm that it doesn't cause allergic reactions, such as rashes and burning. They add that it does a great job of eliminating body odor.
Ban's Purely Gentle Roll-on works both as a deodorant and antiperspirant. Formulated with 18 percent aluminum chlorohydrate, it not only reduces your body odor but also minimizes sweating. It's unscented and is great for those who want to avoid strong scents.
The review section is overwhelmingly positive, with most buyers saying it goes on nicely and doesn't irritate their skin. What's more, many are happy that it dries fast and keeps them fresh for a long time. They add that this roll-on doesn't leave behind any residue.
This plant-based deodorant uses the power of coconut oil to prevent body odor without blocking your pores. It's also infused with sage oil, which has strong anti-inflammatory properties to provide relief to sensitive skin. The formula is hydrating, too!
A few buyers dislike that this deodorant makes their underarm skin a bit greasy. Some also mention that they have to re-apply it multiple times a day. Still, this deodorant receives many recommendations from buyers as it's gentle on skin, leaves no white marks, and has a nice scent.
If you're allergic to baking soda, consider this deodorant by Beekman 1802! Combining citrus peel oil, coconut fruit juice, and rosemary leaf extract, it naturally eradicates odor-causing bacteria to keep your underarms fresh. Goat milk soothes sensitive skin, too!
Many buyers say this deodorant keeps body odors away, but some note that it doesn't last for a long time. Besides that, a lot of buyers like that it glides on smoothly and doesn't cause rashes or breakouts.
Dove's Advanced Care Dry Spray is aluminum-based and can help prevent body odor and reduce sweat. Plus, it's made without alcohol and has a fresh scent. Since it's formulated with sunflower seed oil, this deodorant can moisturize your skin as well.
Some buyers find the spray difficult to use. Nevertheless, this deodorant is still many reviewers' favorite as it's quick-drying and leaves no residue behind. They add that it makes their skin feel moisturized and reduces body odor effectively. Buyers also like that the formula is non-irritating, and the scent is pleasant.
Schmidt's Natural Deodorant is certified vegan and cruelty-free. It includes ingredients such as coconut oil, arrowroot powder, and magnesium hydroxide to minimize body odor. It also contains many moisturizing ingredients like coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, shea butter, and hemp seed oil.
The major complaint some reviewers have about this deodorant is the overwhelming scent. Yet, many customers like that it's formulated with natural ingredients and doesn't irritate their underarm skin. They also say that the deodorant protects them from bad odor for a long time.
Vanicream's fragrance-free deodorant/antiperspirant is what I recommend for those with sensitive skin or a history of contact allergy. It does contain aluminum, which helps reduce sweating. I find it to be the deodorant that is least likely to cause contact allergies.
In addition to reviewing and commenting on our buying guide, Dr. Levy also took the time to answer some commonly asked questions about deodorant for sensitive armpits.
"Axilla or armpit skin is very sensitive for many reasons," Dr. Levy explains. "Firstly, the skin in this area is thin compared to other areas of the body. Secondly, the area is occluded since it is in a fold and is often covered by clothing. This can lead to sweat and products becoming trapped and leads to irritation.
Lastly, there are numerous terminal hair follicles in this area, meaning that the area can be prone to forming acne lesions and folliculitis."
Dr. Levy says, "Natural deodorant may burn due to certain ingredients present in the product. Essential oils, tea tree oil, and apple cider vinegar can irritate the skin causing a burning sensation. Additionally, applying products after shaving (when the pores are opened) can lead to irritation and burning. Avoid using a product with ethanol immediately after shaving as this can lead to a burning sensation."
It's hard to choose skincare products for sensitive skin as it's highly prone to irritation. But don't worry! We have many product guides that will help you choose skincare products that are less likely to trigger allergic reactions.
No. 1: Vanicream｜Clinical Strength Deodorant ｜Unscented
No. 2: Humble｜All Natural Deodorant ｜Mountain Lavender
No. 3: Native｜Deodorant ｜Coconut & Vanilla
No. 4: Almay｜Sensitive Skin Anti-Perspirant & Deodorant ｜Fragrance Free
No. 5: Super Natural Goods ｜Underarmed ｜Lavender + Eucalyptus
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