The breakdown of sweat
There are two main sweat glands within our body: eccrine sweat glands that produce watery and salty sweat, and apocrine sweat glands that are found in areas of our body like armpits and groins. Bacteria tend to live where our apocrine sweat glands are located, and when we produce sweat, this bacteria breaks down the chemicals; its output creates both discoloration and an unmistakable scent. Our armpits have a normal pH balance of 5.5, but when bacteria live and thrive where our apocrine sweat glands are, the imbalance can seem like an uphill battle.
There are tricks and trades as old as time to cure the smells and stains that come with sweat, especially when it comes to underarms, and one of the hottest ingredients on the market includes glycolic acid. Before diving into a new deodorant, though, remember that your skin is your body’s biggest organ; knowing what you put on your body can make all the difference in keeping your daily skincare routine safe and balanced.
What is glycolic acid?
Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid from sugar cane that packs a punch. Because of its light molecular weight, it can easily penetrate your skin and remove dead skin cells. When using glycolic acid as a deodorant, benefits include:
- Lighter skin, especially in discolored areas
- New cell growth stimulation
- Balanced pH levels
While lighter skin and stimulated cell growth is great news for those who have darker underarms, one of the most powerful perks of glycolic acid as a deodorant is its ability to balance your armpit’s pH levels. Glycolic acid’s penetration can easily restore balance to your armpits, dislodging the bacteria breaking down your sweat, to create a fresh and odorless environment. It has worked wonders for people with a variety of skin types and has quickly become one of the hottest products on the market.
But does glycolic acid really work?
Though glycolic acid is safe in small doses, using high concentrations can damage your skin’s protective barrier. Glycolic acid products from brands like The Ordinary boast the benefits of glycolic acid, but the high levels in their products make everyday use a dangerous game to play. A harsh exfoliant applied to your skin—especially an area as sensitive as underarms—can create irritation, hyperpigmentation and other damaging effects. More than just a warning for those with sensitive skin, over-applying acid to your body on a daily basis easily does more harm than good.
Treating your body with respect is one of the most important ways to tackle the problems that come with sweat. Knowing that glycolic acid is harmful in high doses, using highly concentrated formulas from brands like The Ordinary can’t create a roadmap for skincare success. Investing in products that use safe ingredient levels offers a holistic and caring way to help your body as it helps you. Ways to reduce high acid concentrations while defending your skin’s protective barrier include:
- Use lower concentrations of glycolic acid
- Explore milder acids like BHA, otherwise known as salicylic acid
- Invest in products that implement a safer amount of acids within their ingredient list
How to use acid-based deodorant safely
For a proven deodorant you can use on the daily, Forgotten Skincare has launched The Original Underarm Brightening Deodorant Cream. Its ingredient list includes a safe concentration of salicylic acid as well as a grapefruit oil to target bacteria and reduce pH levels. With additional soothing ingredients like Aloe and Jojoba Oil, the benefits to this brightening cream include:
- Lighter underarm area
- Reduced body odors
- Smooth skin instead of razor burn irritation
- No ingrown hairs