A new week, and a new TikTok trend to unpack. But unlike “slugging,” face-taping or building up our skin’s “sun tolerance” (ugh – don’t get us started), this trend is pretty legit. While many of the trends we’ve explored here have dubious origins and little to no benefits for the skin, this is one that we can actually get behind. Friends, the young people of TikTok are using Glycolic Acid as an alternative to deodorant. And we are here to tell you that yes, it does, indeed, work.
A quick word of warning: there is still a ton of misinformation surrounding this trend on TikTok, including how to use and benefit from glycolic acid. We’d advise against wading into those waters at all. Our team of experts has parsed the good info from the bad, the fact from fiction, and we’re here to give you the full skinny. Read on to learn how to exploit the benefits of glycolic acid for underarm odor safely, economically, and effectively.
Anti-Perspirant Vs. Deodorant – What’s the Difference?
First things first, it’s important to understand the difference between anti-perspirant and deodorant. They are often used interchangeably and this is the source of a lot of confusion. Anti-perspirants block the production sweat, deodorants help to prevent odor. Many anti-perspirants also contain deodorants, but the reverse is not true. In order for a product to be considered an anti-perspirant it has to contain a sweat blocking agent, typically aluminum. Deodorants do not contain this ingredient. Glycolic acid works as a deodorant, and does not block the production of sweat in any way. After its application, you will still sweat! But you’ll probably notice a real improvement in underarm odor.
How Does Glycolic Acid Work as a Deodorant?
Body odor results when bacteria and sweat intermingle on the skin, specifically on areas of the body without a lot of natural ventilation or airflow, and which also have a higher concentration of hair follicles, like the groin and the underarms. Sweat itself is a clear, odorless liquid, but when the sweat and bacteria interact and sit on the skin, it results in odor. Anti-perspirant does a really good job of blocking the production of sweat. But it doesn’t do anything to address the bacteria that causes odor. Here’s where glycolic acid comes is. If you use glycolic acid in your daily skincare regimen, you’ll know that it has a host of wonderful benefits, one of which is to destroy bacteria that causes acne and other inflammatory skin conditions. Well, it also destroys odor-causing bacteria. Another win for one of our fave skincare ingredients.
Is Glycolic Acid Safe to Use Under the Arms?
If used in the appropriate concentration and in a high quality formulation, a glycolic acid based product is perfectly safe to use under the arms as a deodorant alternative. In fact, it may impart additional benefits, like reducing in-grown hairs and evening out pigmented skin. One potential side effect of glycolic acid is irritation and dehydration. We most often see this when the concentration of glycolic acid is too high, or when it’s used too frequently. It can also happen if using a poor quality product that doesn’t include moisturizing and soothing ingredients. You want to aim for a concentration of between 3% and 5%. Anything higher than that may be too irritating or drying to the skin, and anything lower than that will likely not be effective.
What Glycolic Acid Should I Use as a Deodorant?
There are companies now formulating deodorants with glycolic acid, but you really don’t need to add an additional product to your bathroom counter. Our Solution I or Solution II will work just fine. You can apply 2-3 pumps to a cotton pad and swipe both underarms a few times a week. Daily use is not required.
Are there other alternative products or treatments for underarm sweat and odor?
There are. But we’d definitely recommend giving Solution I or II a try for a few weeks. You will almost certainly notice a difference with odor. If you feel like the sweating itself is more of a concern, then we’d definitely recommend a different course of action. Excessive sweating most commonly affects the underarms, hands, and feet, and is very well treated by Botox injections. One Botox treatment can reduce underarm sweating for 4-12 months, and is a safe, on-label use of the drug.