Best Deodorant for Sensitive Skin

(Last Updated On: August 15, 2018)

When you’ve got sensitive skin, it’s essential that you choose your skin care products with care, and your choice of deodorant needs extra scrutiny because the skin in the underarm region is particularly delicate and subject to conditions that make irritation more likely.

Standard deodorants contain all kinds of skin irritants – dyes, perfumes, preservatives, aluminum, and alcohol – which make them high risk products for anyone prone to skin sensitivity.

Thankfully, gentle deodorants do exist and these products allow you to stay fresh without forcing you to put up with any burning, stinging or rashes.

Who Needs Deodorants Formulated For Sensitive Skin?

Who Needs Deodorants Formulated For Sensitive Skin

Anyone can develop a skin sensitivity at any time. Frequently irritation is short lived and the cause of the irritation may never be discovered. For other people, however, once a sensitivity occurs, the area remains sensitive, and it’s no longer possible to use the skin care products that have previously caused no issues.

Another group that has to be ultra-careful about the products they use on their skin are eczema sufferers. Using just one triggering product can result in a painful flare up that doesn’t confine itself to the area of application.

Pregnant women can find that their skin becomes particularly sensitive because of their fluctuating hormones.

Hormones are also the culprit guilty of causing sensitive skin for perimenopausal and menopausal women.

And then there’s the short lived sensitivity due to shaving, waxing, and using cream hair removal products. Applying your usual deodorant after hair removal when skin is irritated can leave you sore and itchy for hours afterwards.

Deodorants specially formulated for sensitive skin will help you to avoid unnecessary discomfort while ensuring that you don’t experience any unwanted body odor.

Deodorant or Antiperspirant?

Deodorant is the widely used name for both types of odor controlling products. But there are differences between the two.

A deodorant prevents your sweat from getting smelly, while an antiperspirant stops you sweating in the first place. And no sweat means no odor.

As you might expect, the ingredients in these products are different and you may find that your skin is more comfortable with a deodorant than an antiperspirant.

Did You Know That Your Sweat Isn’t The Root Cause Of Body Odor?

Believe it or not, your sweat isn’t actually smelly. Body odor comes from the bacteria that live on your skin and feed on your sweat.

These bacteria multiply rapidly when sweat is present, and offensive body odor is caused when they break down the proteins found in sweat into acids.

Deodorants containing natural antibacterial ingredients can inhibit the bacteria and prevent odors without the need for any harsh additives.

Which Ingredients Inflame Sensitive Skin?

Which Ingredients Inflame Sensitive Skin

Deodorants and antiperspirants can contain multiple ingredients that aggravate sensitive skin but the most common culprits are usually aluminum, fragrance, parabens and alcohol.

Aluminum

Aluminum is a very common ingredient in antiperspirants and it’s the active ingredient that plugs the sweat ducts and prevents sweat from reaching the skin.

This antiperspirant ingredient can trigger irritation in those with sensitive skin.

Some antiperspirants formulated for sensitive skin may use a less troublesome form of aluminum called aluminum sesquichlorohydrate, although the safest option is to use an antiperspirant which uses an alternative to aluminum.

Alcohol

Alcohol is hard on the skin – any skin, not just sensitive skin – and along with irritation, it causes dryness.

Alcohol serves two functions in deodorant, it is used as a solvent to dissolve other ingredients – most notably aluminum – and because it evaporates quickly, it’s fast drying and somewhat cooling.

If your skin reacts to deodorant applied after shaving, alcohol could be causing your irritation.

Alcohol tends to be used in sprays, roll-ons and gels, so a cream or antiperspirant/deodorant stick may be a better choice.

Fragrance

If you have problems with sensitive skin, then fragrance free is the way to go.

Fragrances are a major culprit when it comes to skin irritation, and it’s little wonder because fragrances are usually artificial, blending together numerous cheap chemicals to mimic the aroma of a fragrance found in nature.

Most deodorants use fragrance to mask body odor but fragrance free deodorants are available and these use other ingredients to keep your skin fresh.

Parabens

Parabens are a cheap and effective preservative and they are widely used in all kinds of skin care and personal hygiene products, but once again they are a source of irritation and there is concern over their general safety.

Because parabens are well known to cause problems, today, many products are formulated without them. Often you’ll see ‘paraben free’ clearly marked on the label or listed as a feature in the product description.

If a product isn’t marked paraben free, parabens are easy to identify in the ingredients list because they end with ‘paraben’. Examples of common parabens are ethylparaben and methylparaben.

Vichy 24-Hour Cream Deodorant for Sensitive Skin

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Cream deodorants are a great choice for sensitive skin because along with providing good odor control, they soothe and moisturize inflamed skin.

This sensitive skin cream deodorant from Vichy has been formulated to care for sensitive skin and as with all Vichy products, it incorporates the famous volcanic thermal spring water.

Vichy thermal spring water contains a blend of 15 minerals that strengthen the skin’s natural protective barrier, reducing dryness and fortifying skin against external irritants.

Gentle enough to use on skin already irritated by hair removal or other factors, this cream deodorant provides 24-hour protection against wetness and odor using zinc gluconate and perlite to neutralize odor and absorb sweat.

When you apply Vichy deodorant, you need to gently rub the cream into your skin and wait a minute for it to dry before putting on clothing.

The cream is non-greasy and doesn’t leave a white residue on your skin so it’s perfect for when you want to wear sleeveless tops.

Vichy 24-Hour Cream Deodorant is alcohol free, paraben-free, fragrance free and hypoallergenic.

Almay Fragrance Free Antiperspirant Deodorant Roll On For Sensitive Skin

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Almay as a brand began its life when chemist Alfred Woititz formulated skin care products for his wife’s – Fanny May’s – sensitive skin. The name Almay is actually a combination of their names Al + May.

Since its inception in the 1930’s Almay has become one of the go to brands for sensitive skin care products.

Almay Sensitive Skin Roll On is non-sticky, quick drying, hypoallergenic, dermatologist and allergy tested, fragrance-free and paraben free.

The active antiperspirant ingredient is the less irritating aluminum sesquichlorohydrate and while it won’t give you 24 hour protection, you should find that one application gets you through your work or school day without needing to reapply.

This antiperspirant does contain alcohol, so you might find that it causes some irritation if you apply it soon after shaving.

To prevent transfer to your clothes, wait for the deodorant to dry before getting dressed.

Underarm Deodorant

Don’t Sweat It All Natural Lemongrass Underarm Deodorant Stick

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If you prefer your skincare products to use all natural ingredients, then you’ll love the Don’t Sweat It Lemongrass Deodorant Stick from Soap Me With Nature.

This sensitive skin deodorant is:

  • Paraben free
  • Aluminum free
  • Synthetic fragrance free
  • Alcohol free

The complete Don’t Sweat It range has a variety of naturally fragranced deodorants suitable for sensitive skin, but this one is made without baking soda which can be drying and irritating for those with very reactive skin.

Arrowroot powder absorbs moisture to keep you dry, organic coconut oil and raw shea butter moisturize and soothe your skin, and as natural antibacterials, they control odor producing bacteria. Indian healing clay soothes skin and lifts toxins, and lemongrass essential oil provides fragrance and controls excessive perspiration.

The deodorant contains beeswax to make the other ingredients solid at room temperature, so you need to hold the deodorant stick next to your skin for a few moments to allow your body heat to soften the beeswax before applying a small amount of the product to your skin.

Because this variant of Don’t Sweat It doesn’t contain baking soda it doesn’t control odor as well as the others in the range so you may need a second application during the day.

Bali Secrets Natural Roll On Deodorant

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Bali Secrets Deodorant provides long lasting odor protection without stickiness. Made from natural ingredients, this deodorant is free from parabens, problematic aluminum, phthalates, triclosan and GMO‘s.

Many natural deodorants use baking soda to control odor, but that can be a problem for some people, so if baking soda irritates your skin, Bali Secrets could be the deodorant you’ve been looking for.

Bali Secrets is made with seaweed extract, distilled water, natural mineral salt (potassium alum), aloe vera gel, alcohol, coconut oil, and essential oils of rose, mint, lavender, galangal and magnolia.

There are two items in that ingredient list to take note of. The first is alcohol which may cause soreness after shaving or if your skin is very sensitive, although aloe vera is a good counter to that kind of irritation.

The second ingredient is potassium alum, but don’t worry, this isn’t the aluminum that plugs up sweat ducts and causes irritation. Potassium alum is a naturally occurring salt, and its molecules are too big to be absorbed. Instead, potassium alum sits on the surface of your skin and along with the seaweed in this formulation forms a bacteria inhibiting barrier.

Bali naturals has a fresh uplifting fragrance and one application will keep you odor free all day long.

Thai Natural Crystal Deodorant Push-Up Stick

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All types of crystal deodorant, stones, sticks and sprays are made from naturally occurring potassium alum.

Potassium alum forms a layer over your skin which prevents bacterial activity and therefore keeps you odor free. Potassium alum isn’t the irritating aluminum which is found in the majority of antiperspirant products.

This is a single ingredient product so if you find that your skin reacts to just about everything it touches, crystal deodorants could be for you.

These deodorants don’t prevent all wetness but they do reduce perspiration and are very effective at preventing odor as long as you use them properly.

To use, you need to either rub the crystal stick over wet skin or wet the top of the stick and then apply. Don’t be stingy with your use of the product either, one or two swipes won’t do the trick, you’ll need to rub on quite a lot to make sure it works, aim for rubbing it over your skin a good 20 times.

And be sure to dry the stick after use, if you leave it wet, the crystal will dissolve more rapidly and you’ll have to replace your deodorant more often. If you take care of your stick, you should get several months of use before you need to buy a new one.

Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant Deodorant For Sensitive Skin

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Even though aluminum causes problems for some people, it isn’t triggering for most, so you might be able to use products containing aluminum without experiencing any issues.

Dove Advanced Care is an aluminum containing antiperspirant that has been formulated for sensitive skin and as such it doesn’t contain any drying alcohol.

As you might expect from a more traditional antiperspirant, Dove Advanced care provides long lasting protection from wetness and odor, and since this is Dove, you also get a nice dose of soothing moisturizer.

If post shaving irritation is your main source of sensitive skin, then this antiperspirant will probably suit you well, but if you have very reactive skin, the aluminum and synthetic fragrance could cause you problems.

Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant Deodorant For Sensitive Skin provides protection for up to 48 hours and has a light, refreshing green tea and cucumber fragrance.

Schmidt’s Tea Tree Sensitive Skin Deodorant Stick

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This all natural deodorant contains tea tree essential oil which is a potent weapon against odor causing bacteria.

Formulated without aluminum, parabens, synthetic fragrance or alcohol, sensitive skins will find little to trigger reactions in this creamy deodorant stick.

Arrowroot powder is a starch that absorbs moisture, coconut oil and shea butter moisturize and care for skin while creating a hostile environment for bacteria, jojoba oil and vitamin E help to restore your skin’s natural protective barrier, and tea tree essential oil wipes out odor generating bacteria.

This deodorant won’t prevent all wetness like an antiperspirant, but the arrowroot powder does a good job of keeping skin dry under normal conditions.

If you tend to sweat heavily, Schmidt’s Tea Tree deodorant probably won’t prevent wet patches on your clothes.

Vanicream Antiperspirant Deodorant For Sensitive Skin (Clinical Strength)

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Vanicream have developed a sensitive skin formulation that’s gentle to underarms even though it does contain aluminum.

Aluminum is a trigger for many people with sensitive skin, but even so, plenty of people tolerate this ingredient perfectly well. It’s the addition of alcohol, dyes, lanolin, plant extracts and preservatives like formaldehyde that can send some sensitive skins into flare up territory.

This deodorant doesn’t contain any of those irritants and has been tested for safety by dermatologists.

Unlike many deodorants, this product won’t leave any residue on your clothes and it stays effective all day long.

If you have eczema, this may be safe for you to use because it doesn’t contain lanolin which damaged skin can’t tolerate.

Vanicream is definitely one to try if your skin can tolerate aluminum and you sweat a lot or live in a humid environment.

Nasanta Magnesium Deodorant For Sensitive Skin

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Clinically tested to ensure non sensitization, you can use this deodorant right after shaving without worrying about any stinging or rashes. The roll-on goes on clear and dries quickly without transferring any residue to your clothing.

This deodorant uses magnesium as its active ingredient to control body odor. And as your body needs magnesium for hundreds of functions, by using magnesium deodorant you can supply your body with a daily transdermal magnesium boost.

Free of irritants, Magnesium Deodorant contains no:

  • Parabens
  • Aluminum
  • Alcohols
  • GMO’s

Since this is a deodorant product it won’t reduce sweating but it will stop odors. The 80 ml roll on lasts for up to 3 months and the Australian company behind this brand promise a full 30 day refund (no need to return the bottle) if you don’t have success with their deodorant.

If every other deodorant you try causes problems, this one should perform well without causing you any discomfort.

Finding the right deodorant for your sensitive skin

Final Thoughts

Finding the right deodorant for your sensitive skin can often entail a lot of trial and error. What works for other people may not give good results for you, it all depends on the source of your skin sensitivity and its triggers.

Skin that feels sore after shaving should be fine with alcohol free products, while very reactive skin will be better off with a limited number of natural ingredients.

When trying out a new deodorant, to limit any discomfort from possible reactions, test for sensitivity by only applying a small amount to one armpit. Once you are sure your skin isn’t going to react, you can use the deodorant normally and evaluate its effectiveness for odor and perspiration control.

And don’t forget your soap or shower gel. Often these can be too harsh and predispose skin to react to subsequent products. Always look for gentle cleansers formulated for sensitive or damaged skin, like those from Aveeno or Avène.

 

“This article is due to be re-visited, proofread and updated a maximum of 3 years from its original upload date by Dr. Kimberly Langdon, M.D. All the content and media has been uploaded by Lily Greene our webmaster, who is also is in charge of page design.”

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.