Exfoliating acids have been a staple in skincare routines for their acne-fighting powers and skin-brightening benefits by helping to remove dead skin cells. But did you know they can also multitask as a deodorant?
Beloved by TikTok users and beauty experts alike, your favorite AHA and BHA exfoliants can also help keep underarm odor at bay. If you’re looking to ditch traditional antiperspirants but haven’t had much luck with natural deodorants curbing body odor, you might want to give chemical exfoliants a try. Here’s everything you need to know about the new beauty hack, from the science behind reducing stinky armpits to the best products to use.
How does it work?
The main cause of armpit odor is bacteria in the area, which thrives in the armpit’s slightly less acidic pH—around 5.5 to 6.5—which is slightly higher than the rest of your skin, according to Labmuffin. When chemical exfoliants are used, they make your armpit’s pH more acidic and make it harder for odor-producing bacteria to thrive. By making your armpit’s environment less hospitable to bacteria, stinky body odor is reduced.
How do I use it?
Start with a skin-safe exfoliating acid, such as salycilic acid, glycolic acid, or lactic acid, which are found in many toners and chemical exfoliants. Beauty journalist Tracy E. Robey recommends using 2 percent BHAs or 7-10 percent AHAs for a product strong enough to kill bacteria but gentle on your skin. Make sure to test a small amount of the acid on your hand first to make sure your skin doesn’t have any adverse reactions before applying to the armpits. Then, apply a few drops to your armpits once a day in the morning using a cotton round. Keep in mind that everyone’s skin reacts to acid differently, so chemical exfoliants are not the solution for everyone—especially those with extra-sensitive skin.
What are the benefits?
Aside from reducing body odor, chemical exfoliants can work wonders on lightening darkened underarms caused by hyperpigmentation. Their exfoliating powers can also help treat ingrown hairs caused by shaving.
From L’Officiel USA