The 5 best deodorants for eczema, according to a dermatologist

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BySteven Rowe

If you have eczema, you may have found that many skin-care products — including deodorant — can cause irritation. “Exposure to certain allergens or irritants can trigger eczema flare-ups,” Marisa K. Garshick, M.D, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, tells Mic. “In the context of deodorants, common triggers can include fragrances, propylene glycol, essential oils, parabens, and other preservatives.” That’s why the best deodorants for eczema help with unwanted body odor while being free of many potentially irritating ingredients. There are also eczema-friendly antiperspirants that help block sweat and keep your underarms dry.

Because fragrances are one of the leading causes of contact allergies, many deodorants for sensitive skin are fragrance-free as opposed to just “unscented,” since even unscented formulas may still contain fragrance. However, if you prefer a scent for additional odor neutralization and aren’t sensitive to fragrance, you can choose a deodorant with naturally derived or synthetic fragrance. Either way, it’s a good idea to perform a patch test when using a new deodorant, even if it contains only natural ingredients like essential oils or baking soda, which are both potential irritants for those with eczema. As Dr. Garshick explains: “It is important to remember that just because something is natural does not mean it can’t cause a reaction or problem, especially in someone with eczema.”

You’ll also want to consider deodorants versus antiperspirants. Where a deodorant works to prevent bacteria growth and unwanted body odor when you sweat, an antiperspirant often contains aluminum to actively reduce or prevent you from sweating. Your choice comes down to personal preference, but if you tend to sweat a lot, Dr. Garshick encourages considering an antiperspirant. “It is important to still use antiperspirants, even with eczema-prone skin, as the increased moisture that can result from sweating can actually lead to an irritant contact dermatitis,” Dr. Garshick explains.

Read on for the best deodorants (and antiperspirants) for eczema in a variety of skin-friendly formulas, so you can find the one that won’t irritate your skin.


The fan-favorite unscented deodorant

This fan-favorite deodorant is free of aluminum, parabens, talc, and phthalates — all ingredients that can commonly cause itching or rashes for people with eczema or sensitive skin. This deodorant stick is unscented and made with odor-absorbing tapioca starch, offering 24 hours of coverage. However, it does contain baking soda, which may irritate sensitive skin. The unscented formula has over 2,000 five-star ratings on Amazon, but if you’d prefer a fragrant deodorant, you can choose from scents including coconut & vanilla and cucumber & mint.

One reviewer wrote: “I’ve tried both their scented and un-scented versions with great results. They last all day and have not irritated my skin.”


The dermatologist-recommended antiperspirant

This dermatologist-recommended antiperspirant contains aluminum sesquichlorohydrate, which is considered gentle on sensitive skin, and it can help prevent sweating for up to 72 hours. According to Dr. Garshick, “[Sweating can] worsen redness, dryness, and flaking in the underarm area for which Certain Dri Extra Strength Clinical Solid is an effective option.” However, this antiperspirant does contain fragrance and has a powder fresh scent.

One reviewer wrote: “My armpits are very sensitive to some deodorants, which cause a burn sensation [...] I apply this deodorant in the morning, and it keeps me completely dry for a good 24 hours or more. It’s effective, long lasting and I haven’t had any side effects from using it.”


The fragrance-free antiperspirant

If you prefer an unscented antiperspirant, this one is free from fragrance and many other potentially irritating ingredients, including dyes, preservatives, parabens, and alcohol. This antiperspirant is dermatologist-tested and contains aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex (an ingredient that’s gentle on sensitive skin), offering 24 hours of protection from sweat. An aluminum-free, unscented deodorant is also available from the brand.

One reviewer wrote: “I have terrible Eczema and often get the scaly rashes in my underarms. I have started putting Vanicream moisturizer on minutes before I put this on, and my skin there is back to normal. [...] in 90 degree high-humid heat this has lasted for hours with no sweat or smell.”


The gel antiperspirant that goes on clear

This quick-drying gel antiperspirant offers all-day protection from sweat and odor, and the clear formula won’t leave behind residue on your clothing. Its active sweat-fighting ingredient is gentle aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex, and the antiperspirant is free from fragrance and alcohol. It has also been dermatologist- and allergy-tested for sensitive skin.

One reviewer wrote: “I am very sensitive to deodorants -- most of them cause a rash and itching. I have been using Almay for several years, and it is the only deodorant to which I have not had a reaction, either a rash or nasal allergies from the scent.”


The baking soda-free deodorant

Designed to be used anywhere on the body, this naturally scented deodorant is a great option for full-body odor protection. It contains a blend of arrowroot powder and tapioca starch to reduce unwanted odors and help keep your underarms dry. This deodorant is free from aluminum and potentially irritating parabens and baking soda. It comes in a variety of scents, including lime, lavender sage, and coconut, and it’s also available unscented. Plus, the brand also offers deodorant in an easy-to-use squeeze tube.

One reviewer wrote: “This stuff seriously works better than any deodorant I have ever used, even for stress sweat [...] I have very sensitive skin with eczema issues and I have had no kind of reaction to this product at all.”


Marisa K. Garshick, M.D, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City