The 12 Best Deodorants For Sensitive Skin, According To A Dermatologist

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by Lisa Fogarty
Originally Published: 
Young woman with long blonde wavy hair, wearing a red crop top and a skirt, in a park.

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 12 gentle natural deodorants are a great place to start.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the best picks:

  1. The Stick Natural Deodorant With A Cult Following: Native Deodorant
  2. A Roll-On Formula With Mineral Salts & Chamomile: Crystal Mineral Deodorant Roll-On
  3. This Body Deodorant With 72-Hour Protection: Lume Deodorant For Underarms & Private Parts
  4. The Deodorant In A Jar That Is Made With Activated Charcoal: Routine Natural Deodorant
  5. This 6-Ingredient Deodorant In Plant-Based Packaging: Each & Every Aluminum-Free Deodorant


The Stick Natural Deodorant With A Cult Following

It isn’t often that a deodorant earns more than 50,000 reviews, but Native natural deodorant has a cult following because it’s free of aluminum, parabens, and talc, is cruelty-free, and relies on magnesium and natural tapioca starch to curb moisture and odors. The formula is also designed with moisturizing shea butter and it comes in scents like coconut and vanilla, cucumber and mint, lavender and rose, and unscented.

Helpful Review: “Until I found Native I’d heard of it, but assumed it was just like all the others, which smell good at first but don’t last more than a few hours at best, or worse, are too much for my sensitive skin. I tried Native almost as a last resort, and I’m so, so, sooo happy that I did. [...] So far, it smells fantastic [...] and, so far, I’ve only had to apply it once a day.”


A Roll-On Formula With Mineral Salts & Chamomile

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. This money-saving pick comes in a pack of three and has more than 1,500 reviews.

Helpful Review: “I have allergies and sensitive skin, so I have to be careful about the products I use. I'm especially prone to rashes from deodorant. This brand of deodorant is the best for my skin. [...] I love the scent of this one.”


An Unscented Baking Soda Deodorant With Omega 3 & 6

When you want your deodorant to contain absolutely nothing but the bare essentials, this organic natural deodorant comes to the rescue. The roll-on is 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.

Helpful Review: “Recently, I've had some medical issues which have caused me to be repulsed by any kinds of perfumes, including those from deodorants. I've tried crystal deodorants which, in my experience, actually made the odor worse. This product has been fantastic. I take my showers in the mornings and even after the following morning before my next shower there is no odor. Also, I'm surprised by how long it has lasted. I love the fact that it works so well and yet has no perfumes.”


A Salt-Free Deodorant In A Pack Of Three

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. It has an invisible dry-touch finish that won’t leave white marks on your clothing and it comes in a convenient pack of three.

Helpful Review: “Great product with no irritation, no ‘over the top’ aroma, my shirts stay fresh [...].”


This Powerful Unscented Natural Deodorant

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.

Helpful Review: “I do not know what it is about the blend of the ingredients (all natural, awesome) but this deodorant is OUTSTANDING! No body odor even after 10 hour work day and crossfit workout afterwards or a several mile run - and the best part is you only need to do one up-down swipe on each arm - seems like no where near enough applied but I am telling you it works like a MIRACLE.”


This Body Deodorant With 72-Hour Protection

Lume may be a newer kid on the natural deodorant block, but it is quickly earning a major following and has more than 18,000 reviews. This vegan lotion deodorant is free of aluminum, baking soda, and parabens, and is derived from natural ingredients that are safe on your skin. This deodorant isn’t just used under the arms — reviewers confirm they use it everywhere, including their private parts. The best part: it offers 72-hour protection and comes in a few different scents, as well as unscented.

Helpful Review: “This stuff absolutely works!!! ALL DAY LONG!!! NOTHING, NO ODOR!”


The Deodorant In A Jar That Is Made With Activated Charcoal

This natural deodorant is a cream formula that is free of aluminum, parabens, synthetic fragrance, and alcohol, comes in a small and sweet jar that’s perfectly portable, and is formulated with odor-reducing activated charcoal, magnesium, and prebiotics, with a “touch” of baking soda. This deodorant comes in 21 unique scents made from essential oil blends that range from musky vetiver and cardamom to sweeter raspberry and sage.

Helpful Review: “A little dab will do ya, especially if your skin is very lightly dampened. The first day I tried this, I didn't even give it a second thought until I was getting undressed for bedtime and realized my shirt still smelled as fresh as when I had put it on. [...] usually shower daily, but am convinced that this deodorant may go longer than 24 hours, as I haven't noticed any diminished effect the next morning. I am also very pleased that I haven't had any reaction or rash, and I tend to have very sensitive skin.”


A Baking Soda-Free Deodorant Cream

If you love the idea of a natural deodorant cream that you can apply with your fingers, but are especially sensitive to even the smallest amount of baking soda, this pick is for you. It’s free of aluminum and baking powder and counts magnesium and activated charcoal as its active ingredients. The 24-hour formula is certified cruelty-free and GMO-free and it has been hand-crafted on a farm in Tennessee. The deodorant has a 4.6-star rating, more than 4,000 reviews, and comes in seven scents and one unscented version.

Helpful Review: “This stuff is freaking amazing! I bought the activated charcoal and it’s been 2 weeks! Zero smell even after a hardcore 45 minute cardio session, working 12 hour shifts, sweating outside with my kids. I seriously cannot believe it! No rashes at all, no irritation and it works!! So glad that I finally found ‘the one’!”


The 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.

Helpful Review: “This one is a game changer. I've tried many sensitive skin deodorants over the years, but this one is hands down the best at eliminating odor without causing any rash. I'm very active, try to get a couple of workouts/runs in a day, and usually don't have time to shower until late at night due to my work schedule. This is the only deodorant that keeps me completely odor free.”


A Formula With Coconut Oil And Arrowroot

This lavender natural deodorant (which also comes in unscented and a number of other scents) keeps you dry and odor-free using ingredients like magnesium, zinc, and organic arrowroot powder. You won't find parabens, aluminum, dyes, synthetic fragrances, or baking soda in this formula and the addition of organic coconut oil and non-GMO vitamin E help keep your skin smooth and soft. The vegan, cruelty-free cream deodorant comes in a recyclable jar.

Helpful Review: “I might just cry tears of joy. I have tried SO many natural deodorants. [...] They either gives me a rash or just makes me stink more. Finally I have this deodorant that works without being toxic or wasteful.”


A Natural Mineral Salt Stick 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 and free of aluminum and irritating chemicals. This pick is backed by more than 10,000 reviews.

Helpful Review: “It can be used on sensitive areas without any irritation.”


This 6-Ingredient Deodorant In Plant-Based Packaging

There are no secrets with this popular natural deodorant: it contains just six ingredients that include Dead Sea salt (instead of baking soda) and optional essential oils if you prefer a light scent (it also comes in unscented). This aluminum-free balm is vegan, cruelty-free, and comes in recyclable plant-based packaging made from renewable sugar cane. It has a 4.4-star rating and more than 12,000 reviews.

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