Eczema is a common, chronic condition characterized by dry, itchy, and very sensitive skin.
While flares are most typically found in the creases behind the knees, elbows, feet, hands, and face, eczema can occur anywhere on the body, including underarms, where sweat and friction exacerbate symptoms.
There is no singular ‘cure’ for eczema necessarily. Still, treatment methods tend to focus on mitigating and soothing eczema flare-ups and crucial preventative lifestyle changes to give your body the best chance of healing. That’s why finding the best deodorant that also cares for your sensitive skin is essential.
Throughout this post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about:
- How deodorants work and why they may irritate sensitive skin
- What is the best deodorant to use if you suffer from eczema
- Natural deodorants for eczema
Keep reading to learn more about how your deodorant could impact your eczema today.
How Does Deodorant Work?
Conventional deodorants work in two ways.
Firstly, they offer you odor protection by targeting odor-causing bacteria that feed off of the fats and proteins within your sweat for up to 24 hours.
Secondly, many deodorants also contain antiperspirants, metals such as aluminum that block your sweat glands physically and offer sweat protection.
Why Do Some Deodorants Cause Skin Irritation?
Take even a quick peek at the label on the back of your deodorant roll-on or spray, and you’ll likely see a long (and tiny-printed) list of potentially irritating ingredients that may be wreaking havoc for your eczema-prone skin. When searching for the best deodorant for eczema, you’ll want to steer clear of:
- Synthetic fragrance, perfumes, and chemicals that are harsh on sensitive areas
- Metals such as aluminum and nickel are common culprits behind contact dermatitis outbursts
- Parabens or preservatives
- Propylene glycol
- Formaldehydes irritate your body and have even been linked to cancer
- Alcohol, which is effective at killing bacteria but it will irritate your skin by stripping your body of its essential moisture reserves
But What About A Natural Deodorant?
Natural deodorants can be excellent in many ways, offering you cruelty-free options and sometimes coming in plastic-free packaging.
But unfortunately, in the world of eczema, just because an ingredient is naturally derived doesn’t mean it is automatically safe for sensitive skin.
Take baking soda, for instance. This simple ingredient is found in many deodorant recipes, yet it can be detrimental to your eczema flares.
This is because the skin PH of people with eczema tends to be more alkaline, while healthy skin is usually more acidic (around 5.5 PH level). Because baking soda is more alkaline, it can throw off an unbalanced skin microbiome even further, making you more vulnerable to harmful bacteria and eczema flares.
Essential Oils and Botanical Extracts
While these naturally derived oils and extracts may sound (and smell) enticing, for folks with sensitive underarms, even natural ingredients are potential irritants for an eczema flare. This being said many essential oils do have the benefit of being naturally antibacterial.
Either way, it is better to be safe than sorry, so we’d recommend running a patch test with any new deodorant to check the product is safe for you to use.
What are the Best Deodorants for Eczema-Prone Skin?
As you’ve seen, for people with eczema, it can be a real puzzle trying to keep your body odor in check while keeping yourself hydrated at the same time.
If you’re unsure where to start, we’d recommend looking out for these key green flags to ensure your deodorant doesn’t irritate your skin:
- Fragrance-free deodorants
- Products that include mandelic acid, which helps to kill bacteria without irritating your underarms in the process, reducing that unpleasant sweaty smell
- Moisturizing ingredients such as coconut oil and shea butter to soothe dry skin naturally. Find out more about these natural oils and butters here and here).
- Tea tree oil which is naturally anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial (find out more here).
- Deodorants that contain a blend of tapioca starch and arrowroot powder can help reduce unwanted odors even further
- To avoid the harsh chemicals in artificial dyes and colors, find yourself a deodorant with a clear formula. Not only is it safer for you, but you’ll also avoid getting that annoying residue on your clothing.
- Although it comes down to personal preference, you may also look for a deodorant that doesn’t contain antiperspirants to allow your sweat glands more space to breathe. For people who tend to sweat less (or feel less troubled by sweating), odor protection in and of itself may be enough.
Our founder, Jennifer Roberge, just loves these natural deodorants from Attitude in cardboard pushups tubes because the contain good ingredients and they’re packaging is less harsh on the environment. She adores the orange or white tea scents and her husband and son really enjoy the Sandalwood version. Try the unscented varieties if you are extra sensitive to essential oils. Keep in mind, natural deodorants can keep odor away, but they aren’t as strong as traditional deodorant and aren’t made to reduce sweat. So it can take some getting used to, but your eczema will thank you.
Treating Eczema Flares
Even with the best deodorant, you’ll likely still experience an eczema flare-up from time to time. Thankfully, there are several different steps you can take to treat and prevent your skin irritation today.
While there is no known ‘cure’ for eczema, there are ways to mitigate and soothe your flare-ups to make this skin disease more manageable, including keeping your skin hydrated.
To prevent itching and restore flaky, dry skin, apply a fragrance-free moisturizer to the affected area.
In the case of underarms, where skin can get sweaty and heated, the Hot Skin Soother is a perfect option. Specially designed with safe, natural ingredients such as herbs, this cream relieves irritation in skin folds, armpits, groin areas, and elbow and knee creases.
Wear Breathable Clothing
To help keep your underarms dry, wearing loose-fitting, breathable garments can help you regulate your body temperature more effectively and reduce sweating, especially when exercising or in the summer months.
Made from moisture-wicking sweat control fabric, we’d recommend the Remedywear™ range. Though they are snug fitting, these soft, cooling garments have been designed with special materials to soothe and protect the skin. Each clothing item contains soothing TENCEL embedded with antibacterial Zinc Oxide for Eczema & Psoriasis relief.
Try the Remedywear™ Long Sleeve Shirt for Adults or Kids to benefit your underarm area. Again, these breathable fabrics will help you to keep your underarms dry, all while reducing the risk of unwanted odors and excessive sweating.
When Do I Need To Consult A Doctor?
If your eczema flare symptoms persist even with regular treatment and a deodorant switch, we urge you to contact your board-certified dermatologist for expert advice on your next steps.
Discover The Best Deodorants For Your Eczema Today
Follow these tips to find the best deodorant for you today, helping to keep your underarm area fresh while soothing and repairing sensitive skin.