The Truth About Antiperspirant & How To Improve Your Underarm Skin


Truth about antiperspirant

One of the wonderful benefits that has come from beauty blogging, is having access to top professionals within the cosmetic and personal care industry.  Recently, I had the opportunity to partner with Dove and ask Dr. Alicia Barba, a Dove dermatologist, some questions that I thought you would be very interested in hearing the answers to.  There are always questions I wish I had an opportunity to ask and then during a visit to the doctor, I forget!  I thought these may be things you often wondered about too!  Dr. Alicia Barba is a Miami-based board certified dermatologist who is a recognized authority on cosmetic dermatology and skin treatments.  Dr. Barba has phenomenal credentials and I would love to be her patient if I was based in Miami!

An area of skin and personal care that is often neglected is the underarm area.  Many men and women experience itching and discoloration of skin under their arms.  Also, I think we’ve all heard at some point that antiperspirants could contain ingredients that may not be safe to apply on our skin.   Is this true or not?  I certainly want to know.  I live in Phoenix so I’m no stranger to sweating, heat rash, and skin problems resulting from the environmental stress of the Sonoran Desert.  Dealing with heat, humidity, dry air, and other challenges we face in our daily lives can have a major affect on our skin.  Of course, there’s also sweating brought on by physical activity and let’s just lay it out on the table here… we sweat in a lot more places than just our underarms!

I think you will find the Q&A with Dr. Barba very useful and interesting so read on!  I’ve asked Dr. Barba questions about antiperspirant safety, oral supplements, and skin discoloration in the underarm area, a major issue for many women!  Of course, there’s plenty more information to glean from this interview and I am making several changes to my routines as a result which I will share after the Q & A.

Q & A with Dr. Alicia Barba Dove Advanced Care

1. There is a lot of buzz about ingredients in antiperspirants being unhealthy or unsafe.  Is there any scientific evidence this is true? 

Dr. Barba:”While there has been speculation about ingredients within antiperspirants and deodorants, research and independent studies have not shown any health or safety concerns associated with the use of these products. Manufacturers and regulatory bodies, including the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), rigorously assess antiperspirants and deodorants to ensure their products meet strict safety standards before they are made available to the public.”

2.  In the summer months, underarms tend to get itchy despite wearing antiperspirant every day and managing sweat.  Is there anything that would prevent the irritation and itch that seems to arise on hot days?

Dr. Barba:”Underarm irritation is something that many women come to me about. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Dove found that nearly 2 in 3 women experience some kind of underarm issue. I always recommend Dove Advanced Care because it offers 48 hour protection plus skincare benefits with its NutriumMoisture formula. Also, make sure that you are gentle when shaving. I often recommend my patients to shave at night and apply the antiperspirant in the morning, 8 hours after skin has healed from shaving the night before.”

3.  Underarms aren’t the only place people sweat (unfortunately).  Many women with large breasts may sweat underneath their breasts and this can lead to itching and even rashes. Is it safe to apply antiperspirant underneath the breasts?

Dr. Barba:”The way antiperspirants work, they theoretically would help stop sweating in that area. However, you should always use your antiperspirant as directed. Most of the time they’re for use in the underarm area only. When my patients do develop rashes under the breasts from excessive moisture, a sweat absorbing powder applied to that area works wonders. Some even come with anti-yeast ingredients to prevent yeast overgrowth in this moist environment.”

4.  Are there any diet supplements that can be taken that truly have an effect on skin, specifically anti-aging effects?  The market is full of collagen supplements, biotin, and others that are touted to improve clarity and elasticity.  Is there anything indicating these supplements really work?

Dr. Barba:”Many supplements get deactivated by stomach acids and never make it to the skin where they are really needed. One natural ingredient that has been proven to help is Polypodium leucotomos extract from a fern plant found in South America. It is a powerful antioxidant that has good clinical data that it helps to protect the skin from aging effects of free radicals. One thing that should be noted and understood: the FDA does not heavily regulate diet supplements like it does over the counter drugs. Sun screen and even antiperspirants, applied topically, receive more FDA scrutiny than diet supplements taken by mouth!! This is a problem as many supplements have been found to contain very little of the supplements on the label.”

5.  Whether it be facial skin or underarms, what besides a prescription strength form of hydroquinone will lighten skin and is there a product as effective as a 4-5% hydroquinone formula?

Dr. Barba:”Treat the skin under the arms very gently. This is very sensitive skin where friction, irritation and inflammation long term can lead to darkening. Friction from underarm skin rubbing on itself or on clothes and friction from aggressive shaving are often culprits, as is overzealous waxing. Darker skin tones are particularly prone to darkened underarms, which can be genetic in nature to some extent. To remedy dark marks on your underarms, treat the area under the arms as you would other sensitive areas on your body. Be gentle when removing hair. Use a deodorant that contains calendula, an ingredient known to help restore skin to its natural tone. I recommend Dove Advanced Care in Clear Tone. 

Treating this area with active ingredients to lighten is very difficult as this area does not tolerate acids or irritating ingredients. One can start with over the counter hydroquinone 2% mixed with over the counter hydrocortisone cream 1% to cut the potential irritation. Mix a pea size amount of both and apply to the underarms every other night for 2 weeks, before increasing to every single night. 

6.  How do the newer long term antiperspirants work?  For example, a 48 hour product, how is that manufactured differently than the traditional products and do you diminish effectiveness with showering during the 48 hour period? 

Dr. Barba:”There are many factors that can determine the level of effectiveness of an antiperspirant, but primarily it will come down to the level of active ingredients when it comes to wetness and fragrance profiles when it comes to odor. The products are then tested with consumers to gauge the efficacy and validate the product’s ability to last for the duration that it claims. While antiperspirants can continue to provide benefits even after showering, they are most effective when applied to clean skin after showering

Changes to my personal care routine

I learned a lot from Dr. Barba and I’m very excited that I was able given the opportunity by Simply Stylist to partner with Dove. This has been an incredible learning experience.  I’ve made a number of changes to my personal care routine and I’ve already noticed improvement with my skin.  Prior to the opportunity to speak with Dr. Barba, I was using not using Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant which she recommends to her patients.  Why?  Well, that’s easy for me to answer.  I used what my mother always used.  However, times have changed and some brands, such as Dove, have innovated and advanced more than others.

I noticed an immediate change when I began using the Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant.  Dove’s NutriumMoisture formula made the skin under my arms noticeable softer within two days of using it.  The NutriumMoisture formula contains humectants and products to form a barrier and lock in skin moisture.  Sunflower seed oil and stearic acid help facilitate the skin’s natural renewal process.  Since I started using the product, despite hot days and high humidity due to desert monsoons, my skin did not get itchy like it usually does.  I also took Dr. Barba’s advice and changed my shaving routine.  I stopped shaving during my morning shower before applying antiperspirant and began exfoliating and shaving at night.

Dove Advanced Care

I have found the Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant does continue working all day but since I always shower in the morning, I reapply the product each day.  I began using the Dove Advanced Care Cool Essentials with a refreshing cucumber and green tea scent.  The formula delivers up to 48-hour protection and underarm care.  As I learned more about Dove’s Advanced Care Antiperspirant line, I found that 9 out of 10 women agreed it made their underarms soft and smooth.  Dove offers a wide range of fragrances so I think anyone could find something to suit their likes.  The Clear Tone formula contains calendula to help restore skin to its natural tone.  This is ideal for women who experience discoloration under their arms and Dr. Barba explained various reasons why that happens.

Dove Advanced Care NutriumMoisture

Many companies have tried to sell me collagen capsules and other supplements which I have declined and I’m glad that I did based on the information from Dr. Barba.  I’m very interested in learning more about Polypodium Leucotomos extract (PLE) and from what I have read so far, it can be very helpful to people who are photosensitive, like I am.  If I am over exposed to the sun, I experience hives and itching so I am diligent with sunscreen.  I will use an SPF 30 product and then if I plan to be outdoors, I will then apply an SPF 50 cushion foundation.

Cushion Foundation with SPF

This supplement may help better protect me from UV radiation.  Clinical trials have been performed and results show that PLE provides significant protection of skin against UV radiation.  Of course, this is in conjunction with a good topical sunscreen.  The supplement has also been shown to help prevent the formation of cancer causing skin cells from UVB radiation and help prevent the release of chemicals in our body that causes inflammation, redness, and itching.  This is certainly something I’d like to explore further!

What did you find most interesting in from the Q&A with Dr. Barba?  Is there anything in your personal care routine that you plan on changing?

Best Beauty Blog

19 thoughts on “The Truth About Antiperspirant & How To Improve Your Underarm Skin

  1. This is such an interesting topic and wish more people would talk about it. I love how you structured this post and presented the interview first and then how learning more on the topic made you change your routine. I’ve found this post very informative, what a great read!

    ~ Cat L.

    1. Thank you so much Cat! This was actually one of the posts I enjoyed writing the most of all. I learned a lot and I thought the doctor was exceptionally well informed. I go to my dermatologist and I don’t get this information! If I only I lived in Florida, I’d be a patient for sure! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and thank you for your comments! XOXOX

  2. This is such an interesting topic, I wish more people would talk about deodorants. I have a couple on rotation, but typically struggle to find something that would work and not contain aluminum at the same time.

    1. I have never found any of the natural products to work. I really do like the Dove product especially because it leaves my skin softer and I don’t get itchy (Phoenix is so hot and dry, it’s crazy). What do you use now?

  3. Great article and a very nice subject to touch upon as it is overpassed often. Thank you for sharing it with us. I will be more cautious now between shaving my armpits and applying the deodorant – before I’d complete both consequently, now I will try to follow the above instructions. Have a great evening beautiful.

    1. I was not a user of Dove simply because my mom used other products. I’ve got her switched and I switched and I couldn’t be happier. Glad to hear you enjoy it. I think it’s an excellent product.

Please leave a comment. I'd really love to chat with you!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial
%d bloggers like this: