Glycolic Acid For Underarms. The New Deodorant?

Is glycolic acid safe and effective to use on your armpits as a deodorant? If you follow beauty trends on Tiktok , you will surely say “yes”. The hashtag #glycolicacidasdeodorant has millions of views and might convince you that applying glycolic acid toner is the solution to armpit sweat and odor. While glycolic acid can actually help prevent body odor in the underarms, it can also cause irritation. Still, glycolic acid can work incredibly well as long as the formulation and concentration are just right. But many dermatologists are wary of suggesting using it. Before diving into this new deodorant trend, get to know this particular alpha hydroxy acid and see why it is wildly popular.

What Exactly Is Glycolic Acid?

Glycolic acid, derived from sugarcane, is part of a family of compounds known as alpha hydroxy acids. Other members of this group are, malic acid, citric acid, lactic acid and others. Glycolic acid is the strongest of the alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), owing to its small molecular size, which allows it to penetrate the deepest into the skin layers. So, of all the members of the AHA family, it has the most potential for profound effects on the skin. This is why dermatologists have harnessed glycolic acid in their practices for decades. It has been used as the go-to for chemical peels for facial skin. Why is it the chosen one? It’s soluble in water, it’s easy to source, it’s plant based and it’s a chemical exfoliator. Glycolic acid is known as a keratolytic which gives it its skin benefiting properties.


Exfoliation, which is glycolic acid’s superpower, is the key to why it works wonders for skin. and why it is gaining attention for use all over the body. Exfoliation is a “dusting off” or a “polishing” of the very top layer of the skin. At the uppermost layer of the epidermis are cells known as keratinocytes. These skin cells naturally shed and are replaced every few days. But dryness, aging and other skin issues can reduce the functioning of this assembly line of skin cell replenishment and this will cause the skin to appear dull, dry and lackluster. Exfoliation can be accomplished by physical means like with dry brushing, skin scrubs, exfoliating sponges and also by chemical means with glycolic acid or salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid, BHA). Exfoliating the skin speeds up and enhances the skin cell turnover. By breaking up the connection between keratinocytes and encouraging the sloughing of spent skin cells, glycolic acid sets in motion the reawakening of the skin surface by keeping the dull cells to a minimum while revealing new fresh cells. The result of shedding dead skin cells is the potential for significant improvement in pigmentation, texture and clarity. Here’s how:

How Does Glycolic Acid Benefit the Skin?

  • Helps hyperpigmentation and dark spots caused by extrinsic aging and environmental exposure like cumulative sun damage
  • Helps correct discoloration caused by thickened skin
  • May brighten the complexion by lifting off the dull appearing dead skin cells
  • Speeds up the normal cell turnover, keeping the top layer of skin looking plumper and smoother
  • Helps prevent ingrown hairs and clogged pores by sloughing dead skin cells
  • May help the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

How Can Glycolic Acid Help Body Odor?

Stinky underarms are the result of several factors: dead skin cells, oils, specific bacteria, friction, retained moisture, lack of airflow, disruption of the microbiome and of course, lack of hygiene. Glycolic acid, while it will not prevent or lessen moisture we get from sweating, (for that you need an antiperspirant that blocks the sweat ducts), it can reduce odor by inhibiting bacteria’s role. Glycolic acid, as the name suggests, is an acid with a pH of approximately 2.0 (depending on concentration) and when applied to the skin it changes the surrounding skin pH and makes it less hospitable to the odor causing bacteria. AHA’s can also help the skin’s barrier function, by protecting what’s known as the acid mantle.

Glycolic acid is well known to skin care professionals and beauty experts. There are properties of glycolic acid that can help eliminate or diminish some of the causes of body odor.

Properties of Glycolic Acid Which Can Help Offset Body Odor

  • Allows sloughing off of dead skin cells from the skin surface
  • Reduces chance of bacterial overgrowth
  • Minimizes presence of some surface skin oils
  • Helps maintain ideal skin pH and may assist in keeping the skin’s acid mantle intact

And Here Are Some Added Skin Benefits of Glycolic Acid For Underarms

  • Helps lighten superficial skin pigmentation caused by thickened skin or product build up
  • Prevents ingrown hairs and breakouts
  • Brightens dull appearing skin
  • Leaves skin smoother in texture

Why You May Not Want To Use Glycolic Acid As Deodorant

Important to know what glycolic acid is not helpful for. If you want to try it as a deodorant be aware it cannot minimize sweating. So if you suffer from extreme sweat production, known as hyperhidrosis, this may not be the choice of deodorant for you. If you sweat excessively you should be treated with the help of a board certified dermatologist.

Potential pitfalls of using glycolic acid on the delicate underarm area include irritation from this chemical exfoliant. Glycolic acid is listed as “corrosive” in chemistry terms. Glycolic acid can be found in different concentrations. 10-20 % or even higher strengths are used for chemical peels. But the face may be able to tolerate this level better than underarms, because the skin of the armpit (axilla) is a skin fold so any product you put there gets doubled over or sandwiched by skin rubbing on skin. Known as intertriginous skin, the skin folds of the body, particularly the underarm skin, are at risk for irritation. But even using lower strength AHA may potentially be a source of skin inflammation which is why the formulation and the method of applying it is so pivotal. Using a glycolic acid toner by applying it with a cotton pad on underarm skin, which has become so popular, may be great for some but with repeated use can lead to skin sensitivity which is why using a glycolic acid formula which also contains soothing ingredients is helpful.

Surface Deep Anti-Odorant Is The Glycolic Acid Perfectly Formulated For Your Body Odor Prevention

While ordinary glycolic acid may spell disaster for sensitive skin, Surface Deep has been tested and found not to cause irritation among study participants and has been used effectively by all skin types. Also, Surface Deep is dermatologist founded, invented and has also been patented

Surface Deep Anti-Odorant Brand Spray and Pads come to you as a natural deodorant which is aluminum free. Without aluminum, Surface Deep, which is powered by glycolic acid, will not block sweat ducts or inhibit the function of sweat glands. As a dermatologist-invented brand, we know that sweat is an important bodily mechanism to maintain a healthy body temperature. Sweat is intentional, odor is preventable. With Surface Deep you can sweat normally but still be odor free. Why banish sweat which is actually odorless? Be proud of your sweat which often results from hard work. Odor, that’s a different story, we can live without it. Surface Deep blocks odors at their source.

Use Surface Deep Anti-Odorant Skin Wash, Pads or Spray (or all three) daily as part of your skincare routine to banish odor causing bacteria. You can be odor free all day with its skin friendly but odor enemy ingredients that leave you clean. It contains moisturizing ingredients such as aloe vera plus post biotic ferments that maintain the skin’s normal microbiome.

So glycolic acid as deodorant? Yes! Welcome pH balancing Surface Deep Anti-Odorant.