Skincare for your Underarms
When we think of skincare, we immediately think of cleansers, toners, scrubs and moisturizing creams that we can purchase and use to hopefully take our skincare routine to the next level. However, we rarely ever consider the deeper meaning of what skincare actually entails. In simplest terms, it is maintaining the hygienic state of the face and body. With that being said, it is not limited to cleansing the skin just on our face. Skincare applies to properly taking care of the skin in our underarms as well, so that we can feel squeaky clean and smell fresh all day long. We can do this by investing in deodorant that is formulated with specific acids that offer exfoliating, renewing and rejuvenating properties to the skin.
The Science Behind The Acids
Alpha Hydroxy Acids & Beta Hydroxy Acids
It has been scientifically proven that incorporating acids in deodorant is extremely effective at maintaining the proper health and overall appearance of the underarms. Exfoliating acids encompass both alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). AHAs such as glycolic acid and mandelic acid are water-soluble organic compounds that when formulated in skincare can offer many beneficial properties to the surface level of the skin. Similarly, beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) including salicylic acid are oil-soluble acids that can integrate deeper in the hair follicle to reduce excess oils and unclog pores to prevent skin irritation and ingrown hairs. AHAs and BHAs both reveal smoother, brighter, and more youthful looking skin by encouraging the removal of dead skin cells improving hyperpigmentation and uneven skin texture. These acids are being formulated in certain types of deodorant, confirming that the same exfoliating acids used on the face are also being used to treat the skin in the underarms as well.
When we sweat, it is released through pores in the skin that are connected to glands that produce an oily substance known as sebum. It is impossible to prevent the body from sweating and producing body odor. However, sweating is a natural bodily function that is an indicator of good health and can be controlled. The three types of glands in human skin are:
- Sebaceous glands - oil glands that coat each hair follicle with sebum (oil) but are not involved in thermal sweating.
- Eccrine sweat glands - produce sweat all over the surfaces of the skin and are responsible for cooling the body.
- Apocrine sweat glands - produces sweat mostly in the underarm region and is odorless until exposed to bacteria that break down the sweat and release malodor molecules.
Among the human body, the sweat glands serve as a great place for an abundance of bacterial growth. Therefore, the development of body odor is correlated to the overall composition of sweat, and sweat production occurs due to the proper functioning of the apocrine and eccrine sweat gland.
The Benefits of Using Deodorant Formulated with Acids
Using Acidic Deodorant Can:
- Neutralize odor causing bacteria
- Smooth & brighten underarm skin tone & texture
- Reduce overall irritation and hyperpigmentation
- Reduce or help prevent ingrown hairs
- Improve hydration by removing accumulated dead skin cells
Salicylic Acid - The Key Ingredient to Keeping Body Odor at Bay
Salicylic acid is an oil-based beta hydroxy acid that is commonly used in many skincare products. It acts as a chemical exfoliant to boost cell turnover by penetrating into the skin and removing dead skin cells to reveal the appearance of smoother, brighter skin and tighter pores. This ingredient also helps reduce skin inflammation as well as clogged pores by removing excess oils. Its exfoliating properties can also help minimize ingrown hairs. In low concentrations (0.5%-2%), it can be incorporated into daily skincare with low irritation potential, especially with certain areas of the skin that tend to be more sensitive. Incorporating this ingredient in deodorant would be beneficial, as it would purify and reduce odor, while also exfoliating and brightening the skin at the same time.
Lipohydroxy Acid - An Organic Derivative of Salicylic Acid
Lipohydroxy Acid (LHA) is an organic derivative of salicylic acid and has many exfoliating and skin renewing properties. It is used in many personal skin care products and has been clinically shown to induce dermal thickening by promoting the production of collagen. In reference to an article composed of how beneficial LHA is on the skin, the overall stimulation of proteins and fatty acids in LHA have demonstrated the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid, which are ingredients that are both recognized for their moisturizing properties. Enhancing levels of hydration helps promote skin renewal, allowing the skin to appear more glowly and refreshed. Therefore, incorporating this ingredient in deodorant formulation would be beneficial by promoting more moisturized and youthful underarms, due to the enhancement of hyaluronic acid, collagen and skin elasticity.
Mandelic Acid - A More Gentle Ingredient for Sensitive Skin
Mandelic Acid is a more gentle alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) chemical exfoliant, meaning it is designed to be more suitable for humans who have sensitive skin. It is considered a molecularly larger AHA, so it penetrates the surface of the skin at a slower rate. For comparison, glycolic acid has a much smaller formulation size and can therefore enter the skin much quicker. Both ingredients offer amazing effects, but one is simply more gentle than the other and works at a different pace. The main benefit of incorporating mandelic acid in deodorant is it would be less irritating to the underarms, while still providing desirable results. Along with this, mandelic acid would gently exfoliate, tone and enhance collagen production in the underarm area as well. According to a study conducted in 2013 in reference to using chemical peels containing 40% mandelic acid, the results demonstrated that there was an overall stimulation of collagen which would lead to the appearance of more youthful and calm skin. Daily regimens containing washing and shaving the underarms can potentially cause a build up of dead skin cells, so adding mandelic acid in deodorant as part of the daily routine would be very beneficial in regards to maintaining healthy and vibrant underarms.
Glycolic Acid - The Key to Achieving Bright, Fresh & Rejuvenated Skin
Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid and is a staple ingredient for chemical exfoliation. It penetrates the surface level of the skin and works to unclog pores, smooth and brighten skin tone and texture and reduce the appearance of scarring and hyperpigmentation. Although it can provide physical benefits, glycolic acid could be used in deodorant to reduce odor in the underarm area. It has been scientifically proven to lower the pH levels in the underarms, allowing the area to become less suitable for the growth of bacteria thus keeping odor at bay. Besides reducing body odor, it could also remove the layer of dead skin cells, allowing more of a closer shave and to reduce ingrown hairs as well. The underarm area is also prone to developing hyperpigmentation, scars, and dark spots, so using deodorant containing glycolic acid could reduce and prevent these skin conditions from worsening over time.
Fulvic Acid - Organic acid with Antiseptic Properties
Products containing fulvic acid can offer anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits to the skin. It is commonly used to treat certain skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, to help reduce the chances of flare ups on the skin. Due to it having antibacterial properties, it can minimize bacterial growth, especially pertaining to the underarm area. Although it works to reduce body odor by prohibiting the growth of odor causing bacteria, it can also tighten pores, reduce oil secretion and and reduce skin redness and irritation. According to an article that discusses how fulvic acid is a natural and multifaceted approach to the management of certain skin conditions, it can offer many anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-microbial solutions to the skin, especially when treating certain skin conditions such as Psoriasis. In many clinical studies, it has a high success rate of yielding many benefits to skin more prone to dryness, flakiness, itchiness and irritation. This supports that topical creams and lotions that are formulated with fulvic acid are very moisturizing and could help manage skin inflammation, while also being beneficial for long term daily application.
The Final Verdict
Based on current and ongoing research, it is apparent that we should absolutely consider adding acid-based deodorants into our daily routine. They can provide immediate odor control without a “detox” period and over time show noticeable improvements on texture and discoloration under the arms. With consistent and gentle use, the underarms should respond well to deodorants formulated with exfoliating acids and reveal fresh, bright and rejuvenated underarms.