Known for its skin-smoothing properties, glycolic acid is now being hailed as an alternative to traditional deodorant. With #glycolicacidasdeodorant reaching over 12 million views, beauty enthusiasts are noting its potential to not only combat body odor, but also improve underarm pigmentation.


Hey girl. I wanted to share some tips with you guys to help keep your armpit fresh in 2023. NoGatekeeping over here. #ordinaryglycolicacid #armpitroutine #bodycare #nodeodorant #blackgirlskincaretips #fyp

♬ original sound – Chloey

Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid that works by breaking down dead skin cells, promoting smoother and clearer skin. This property, combined with its acidic nature, makes it an effective agent for killing bacteria, which is the source of body odor.

Glycolic Acid as Deodorant

Board-certified dermatologist Heather Kornmehl explained in a recent TikTok video that the acidic properties in glycolic acid should work as deodorant.

“The thing to know is because it can kill bacteria due to its acidic properties, it can also be irritating,” Kornmehl notes. “I would recommend spot treating with it first before using it … or even diluting it.”

In agreement with Kornmehl, many experts warn people about the potential risks, especially on the sensitive skin of the underarms. That area on the body is more prone to friction and moisture, leaving the door open for irration. Ana Mansouri, an aesthetic doctor and skin expert, emphasizes the importance of cautious use.

“Armpit skin is already sensitive in nature due to constant friction and rubbing, as well as a moist and occluded environment,” she told 21Ninety. “This sensitivity can be exacerbated by shaving, making the application of glycolic acid potentially uncomfortable and even painful.”

One of the key reasons for the popularity of glycolic acid as a deodorant is its ability to reduce hyperpigmentation. Glycolic acid exfoliates the skin, promoting a more rapid cell turnover. It reduces the thickening of the skin that leads to underarm hyperpigmentation. However, overusing the acid can lead to irritation and worsen the condition.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness of using glycolic acid as a deodorant can be compromised. Water from sweat can neutralize glycolic acid, which reduces the benefits of the product. Dermatologists advise caution and recommend patch testing and dilution if you choose to experiment with this trend.