If you have sensitive skin, you already know a lot of products can cause irritation, and deodorants are major offenders. Deodorants for sensitive skin are becoming increasingly popular as we learn more about some of the ingredients, like a potentially irritating form of aluminum used in many big-name deodorant brands, that can leave sensitive types red and itchy. This doesn't mean you have to stop wearing deodorant altogether — though that's totally up to you — you just have to learn which ingredients to avoid and which serve as worthy substitutes.
And there’s a whole lot of substitutes out there, many of which are natural formulas. "Natural deodorants tend to use ingredients like essential oils, fragrances, baking soda and sometimes salts, including aluminum salts," says Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse, a certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills. Shainhouse notes that the aluminum salts used in natural mineral salt-based deodorants is not the same type of aluminum used in store-brand or prescription antiperspirants, and it is likely a larger molecule that cannot be absorbed into the tissue.
Essential oils are a common ingredient in natural deodorants, but Shainhouse cautions that “[m]any 'natural' fragrances and 'essential oils' can cause irritants and/or allergic contact dermatitis," though some are more sensitizing than others. According to Shainhouse, chamomile and calendula are a safe bet for sensitive skin types, but lavender, citrus oils, mint, cinnamon, clove, and eugenol should be avoided by those with sensitive skin.
And, if you love to DIY products, keep this in mind: Highly concentrated homemade, natural baking soda deodorants (which are often up to 25 percent baking soda) can be very irritating to skin, according to Shainhouse. However, she notes that store-bought preparations usually contain pretty low concentrations of baking soda (it may only be 1 percent), so the irritating potential is buffered by other ingredients.
It may take some trial and error before you find the best deodorant for your sensitive skin, but these seven gentle natural deodorants are a great place to start.
1. A Roll-On Formula With Mineral Salts, Chamomile, & Green Tea
Prefer roll-on formulas to sticks? Here's a natural roll-on deodorant that combines odor-killing natural mineral salts with chamomile and green tea. It has absolutely no aluminum chlorohydrate, parabens, or phthalates, is hypoallergenic, and is gentle and mild on super sensitive skin, according to reviewers.
2. An Unscented Baking Soda Deodorant With Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids
When you want your deodorant to contain absolutely nothing but the bare essentials, this organic natural deodorant comes to the rescue. It's free of all fragrance, aluminum, parabens, soy, petroleum, mineral oil, silicone, menthol, and corn, is certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny, and is even made in a solar-powered facility. Of course you want to know if it works — and the majority of reviewers agree that this baking soda and cassava plant starch formula (rich in omega 6 and 3 fatty acids) stays strong throughout workouts and hot days.
3. An Aluminum- & Salt-Free Deodorant That Offers 24 Hour Protection
Feel fresh for a full 24 hours with this natural deodorant, which is free of aluminum, salt, fragrance, parabens, and alcohol. This brand has been allergy tested and won't leave a greasy residue under your arms. It may prove a little weak if you're about to kick off a high-intensity cardio routine, but it will protect you well during light to moderate activities.
4. An Unscented Natural Deodorant That Takes Just One or Two Swipes To Work
A vegan and chemicals/cruelty-free natural deodorant, this one works using ingredients like sodium bicarbonate, coconut oil, shea butter, and pumpkin seed oil. It's free of scent and a little goes a long way — in fact, all you need is one or two swipes under your arm — anything more might actually irritate your skin.
5. A Baking Soda-Free Deodorant With A Yummy Citrus Scent
With a delicious grapefruit scent, this sensitive-skin-friendly deodorant is free of baking soda (which can cause burning), clay, aluminum, and other harsh chemicals. Instead, it's made with magnesium, shea butter, and natural essential oils to keep your skin soft and smelling fresh throughout the day. Reviewers with sensitive skin swear by it, calling it "the best natural deo" out there.
6. A Baking Soda-Free Natural Deodorant Made With Antibacterial Tea Tree Oil
Sensitive skin types that react to baking soda will be happy to know this natural deodorant is free of the ingredient — as well as aluminum, parabens, and phthalates. This vegan and cruelty/gluten-free formula instead relies on bacteria-killing tea tree oil, arrowroot powder, and magnesium hydroxide to absorb moisture and block odors.
7. A Formula With Aluminum-Free Baking Soda & Organic Shea Butter
This unscented natural deodorant keeps you dry and odor-free using ingredients like aluminum-free baking soda, organic shea butter, organic arrowroot powder, and non-GMO Vitamin E. You won't find paraben, aluminum, toxins, chemicals, soy, or synthetic fragrances in this formula — even the lids are BPA-free.
8. A Chemical-Free Natural Mineral Salt Deodorant
This natural mineral salt deodorant is even more concentrated than roll-on formulas, but is applied in a much different way. Dampen it first with water and apply to your underarms, shaking off remaining water from the crystal before storing it upside down (and if you take care of this product it can last you one year). The crystal creates an invisible protective barrier that keeps odors away. Crystal deodorants like this one are hypoallergenic, free of aluminum chlorohydrate and irritating chemicals.
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