What deodorant won’t give you a rash? Chances are, it’s one with as few chemicals as possible. Sensitive armpits tend to react to artificial fragrances, man-made aluminum-based salts, alcohol, preservatives, and even baking soda. That’s why the best deodorant for sensitive skin is free of irritants like these.
Take a look at the best deodorants and antiperspirants for sensitive skin below. Scroll down to learn more about allergic reactions to deodorant, which ingredients to avoid, and how to keep sensitive skin happy (and odor-free).
|The best deodorant for sensitive skin||Why we love it|
|CRYSTAL Deodorant Stick|
|Vanicream Anti-Perspirant Deodorant Clinical Strength|
|Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant for Sensitive Skin – Fragrance-Free|
|Lume Natural Deodorant|
|Almay Clear Gel Antiperspirant Deodorant|
|Ban Purely Gentle 24-hour Invisible Antiperspirant|
Table of Contents
- Deodorant versus antiperspirant: which is best for sensitive skin?
- Which ingredients in deodorants and antiperspirants irritate sensitive skin?
- Are there any other things that can help soothe sensitive armpits?
- Best Deodorants for Sensitive Skin in 2021
Deodorant versus antiperspirant: which is best for sensitive skin?
It’s not the sweat that the problem – it doesn’t stink. It’s the bacteria that grow in the moist environment that makes the odor.
If you use antiperspirant, it plugs the sweat glands with ingredients like aluminum chloride and aluminum chlorohydrate. Did you know that antiperspirants are considered to be over-the-counter drugs because they stop sweat? (1)
On the other hand, there are deodorants which focus on minimizing the bacteria that make the smell. Sometimes they have an additional pleasant fragrance to help mask the odor.
Generally speaking, people with sensitive skin do better with deodorant as opposed to antiperspirant. But because we know that not everyone enjoys wet armpits, we’ve included both types of products for sensitive skin in the reviews below.
Which ingredients in deodorants and antiperspirants irritate sensitive skin?
The number one offender is perfume. Artificial fragrances like balsam of peru and even scents made from essential oils can cause a rash.
But wait, there’s more – someone did a study of over a hundred deodorants and antiperspirants to discover all of the potential allergens (2).
Besides fragrances, other irritants are:
- Propylene glycol (the most commonly found ingredient)
- Essential oils
- Vitamin E (in the form of tocopherol)
It seems like these ingredients are everywhere. What’s a person with sensitive skin to do if they don’t want stinky armpits?
Short of running a science experiment on your body, we recommend you try the hypoallergenic deodorants reviewed below.
Are there any other things that can help soothe sensitive armpits?
When you shower, use warm instead of hot water and keep it brief. Use a mild soap and rinse thoroughly (3).
Removing the hair from the armpits helps minimize odor, so keep your razor clean and sharp. Try an electric razor which may not shave as close but is less likely to cause razor rash. An aftershave made for sensitive skin may also help.
Lastly, patch test the new deodorant somewhere you can tolerate itchiness before slathering it on your armpits. If nothing happens within twenty-four hours, you’re probably good to go.
If you’ve had rotten luck with so-called “sensitive skin deodorants” before, we highly recommend trying crystal deodorant as it only has one natural ingredient and no chemicals whatsoever. Check it out below.
Best Deodorants for Sensitive Skin in 2021
CRYSTAL Deodorant Stick
The best natural deodorant for sensitive skin is potassium alum. It’s a naturally-occurring mineral salt, not a synthetic aluminum blend like aluminum chlorohydrate. It has an impressive track record as it’s been used successfully as deodorant for centuries.
How does it work? The salt sits on top of the skin and kills the bacteria that cause the stink. It doesn’t clog pores or stop you from sweating. It just prevents the odor.
Editor’s note: Hi there. Out of all the hundreds of products we review each month, I rarely get to personally try as many as I’d like. Crystal deodorant, however, is something I can vouch for. On days when I’m stuck in the office, it keeps my pits from smelling bad for a full twenty-four hours. But if I perspire a lot, I have to reapply. Still, I’ve been using it for two weeks straight and haven’t made a noticeable dent in it yet. Yes, it takes longer to apply, but it dries quickly, then it feels like nothing is there. Also oddly enough, it doesn’t sting even if I’ve shaved. Better yet, it’s extremely cheap compared to what I would spend on other types of deodorant.
Did you know that potassium alum is used for purifying water? It’s also handy for stopping bleeding if you cut yourself shaving. It’s an astringent and an antiseptic, so it even helps dry up acne (4).
(No wonder my armpits haven’t been breaking out as much).
How do you use crystal deodorant? You need to wet it, or wet your clean skin first. Rub it all around the armpit several times. It’s not going to leave any kind of visible film, so be generous.
Let it dry on the skin and you’re good to go. Please also make sure the crystal is dry before you put it away. That way, it will last you for months.
- One single natural ingredient—mineral salt – used as deodorant since ancient times
- No artificial anything to irritate the skin, odorless and colorless
- Kills the bacteria that cause odor and doesn’t clog pores
- The stick lasts for months without needing a replacement
- None (unless you’re opposed to sweating because it doesn’t stop that)
Vanicream Anti-Perspirant Deodorant Clinical Strength
If you hate sweating, consider this antiperspirant made by one of the top manufacturers of hypoallergenic cosmetics. It uses aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex gly in a 20% concentration. If you don’t have a problem with aluminum (and no I’m not talking about the myths that it causes cancer or Alzheimer’s), it’s worth a try.
It’s ethanol-free, fragrance-free, and contains no masking fragrances, propylene glycol, botanical extracts, or gluten. Plus, it’s dermatologist-tested for sensitive skin.
The anti-sweating effects last for up to twenty-four hours.
If you’re not sure about the anti-perspirant thing, Vanicream also makes deodorant without talc, baking soda, alcohol, botanical extracts, or gluten.
Both products melt into the skin and leave it feeling soft and natural. Users in high humidity and hot weather say that both products work like a champ.
- From a brand that specializes in hypoallergenic products
- Free of all common irritants including gluten
- Stops perspiration for up to twenty-four hours
- Also available as a fragrance-free deodorant without baking soda or talc
Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant for Sensitive Skin – Fragrance-Free
Schmidt’s makes a variety of natural deodorants with different fragrances. We recommend the fragrance-free version for sensitive skin. But if you feel confident that you won’t react to essential oils or botanicals, feel free to try one of the other scents.
Instead of aluminum or baking soda, the formula uses magnesium hydroxide to neutralize odor and minimize wetness. Moreover, the creamy stick moisturizes the skin with shea butter and coconut oil.
It’s an award-winning deodorant that’s made the rounds on Allure, The Today Show, Forbes, and other sites. Happily, it’s vegan and cruelty-free.
What are other reviewers saying about this sensitive skin deodorant? We’ve seen a mix of opinions, but most are positive and acknowledge the expected limits of such a product. Any deodorant is going to need to be reapplied if you’ve been working out or nervous and sweaty. They seem to appreciate the creamy texture and the complete lack of fragrance.
- Natural deodorant that’s free of aluminum, baking soda, and chemicals.
- Available without a fragrance or with botanical scents
- Creamy texture that moisturizes the skin
- Award-winning product that’s been featured on beauty and business sites
- Vegan and cruelty-free
- Contains tocopherol (vitamin E) which negatively affects only a few people
Here’s another aluminum-free deodorant that doesn’t contain talc, parabens, or phthalates either. It’s lightweight and not sticky. Furthermore, it’s made for women and men alike.
The magic ingredients are magnesium hydroxide, tapioca starch, and baking soda that neutralize the bacteria that cause odor. The deodorant claims to put a damper on stink for up to sixteen hours.
- Free of talc, parabens, phthalates, and aluminum
- Made for both women and men
- Provides odor protection for up to sixteen hours
- A little pricier than some options
Lume Natural Deodorant
Not everyone loves baking soda, so this deodorant doesn’t use it. It doesn’t have aluminum, parabens, masking fragrances, or essential oils, either.
What’s interesting is that it still offers seventy-two hours of odor protection. How is that possible? The secret lies with mandelic acid. Unlike baking soda, the acid is close to the skin’s natural acidity so it doesn’t cause dryness or irritation.
In fact, you don’t have to use this deodorant only on your armpits. What about those stinky feet? Maybe you can think of other places, too.
Another bonus is that the formula isn’t waxy – it’s water-based. Therefore, it doesn’t glom onto clothing and leave a film or stain the fabric.
The deodorant comes in either a stick or a tube. The brand recommends applying only a dab and rubbing it till it’s transparent, which takes about five seconds. There shouldn’t be any residue visible on the skin after that.
- Outstanding odor protection for up to seventy-two hours
- Contains no baking soda, aluminum, parabens, essential oils, or masking fragrances
- pH-balanced and gentle to the skin
- Water-based to avoid residue and staining
- Available in stick or tube formats
- Also pricey, but awesome if you hate reapplying deodorant
Almay Clear Gel Antiperspirant Deodorant
What about drugstore deodorant for sensitive skin? Many people have had success with this one that uses aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly in a 17% concentration. It skirts the edge of the no propylene glycol requirement by using dipropylene glycol instead. Plus, it has no artificial fragrance and it’s been allergy-tested.
Yes, it’s an anti-perspirant, not just the deodorant. Users say it’s cheap and just a little bit literally lasts all day. The gel texture sinks into the skin eventually but takes a little while to dry and may feel a little sticky at first.
- Made by a brand that’s familiar with what sensitive skin needs
- Prevents wetness and odor all day long
- Free of propylene glycol, artificial fragrances, and other common allergens
- Slow to dry and may feel sticky
Ban Purely Gentle 24-hour Invisible Antiperspirant
Although there are still more options when it comes to antiperspirant for sensitive skin, not all of them measure up to our high standards. We suggest Ban’s Unscented version instead of the other scents. It comes with a satisfaction guarantee.
The formula offers 24 hours of odor and wetness protection. One of the key ingredients is kihada extract, also known as Japanese yellow bark. It’s a traditional remedy that has an antibacterial effect.
Users say it’s transparent, dries quickly, and doesn’t leave a residue if it’s not thickly applied. One application a day takes care of unwanted smell and sweat.
- Up to 24 hours of protection against wetness and odor
- Transparent and dries quickly with no residue
- Available in an unscented version
- Uses an ancient antibacterial Japanese remedy
- Check the label/do a patch test if you have very sensitive skin
It’s hard to imagine a world without deodorant. Thankfully, you don’t have to. There are deodorants made for the most sensitive of skin.
We hope our reviews helped you find the skincare product you need today. If you’re pleased with your purchase, we’d love to hear about it. Please leave us a comment below.
1. https://cosmeticsinfo.org/antiperspirants-deodorants Accessed July 1, 2021
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3013594/ Antiperspirant and Deodorant Allergy: Diagnosis and Management by Matthew J. Zirwas, MD, corresponding author and Jessica Moennich, MD, published in J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2008 Sep; 1(3): 38–43, Accessed July 2, 2021
3. https://www.healthline.com/health/skin-disorders/sensitive-skin Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — Written by Corinne O’Keefe Osborn — Updated on August 8, 2019, Accessed July 1, 2021
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_alum Accessed July 1, 2021