Travelling with kids: what you need to know before going away this summer
Travelling with kids: what you need to know before going away this summer

Sarah Finnan

Try this crispy elderflower cocktail this bank holiday weekend
Try this crispy elderflower cocktail this bank holiday weekend

Holly O'Neill

What to do when your boss is a bully
What to do when your boss is a bully

Colette Sexton

Filming has begun on the TV adaptation of Graham Norton’s debut novel down in West Cork
Filming has begun on the TV adaptation of Graham Norton’s debut novel down in West...

Sarah Finnan

8 engrossing Netflix picks worth starting this long weekend
8 engrossing Netflix picks worth starting this long weekend

Jennifer McShane

Rihanna is about to release Fenty Parfum
Rihanna is about to release Fenty Parfum

Holly O'Neill

House of Gucci: The explosive true story behind Lady Gaga’s upcoming crime biopic
House of Gucci: The explosive true story behind Lady Gaga’s upcoming crime biopic

Jennifer McShane

Rosemary MacCabe: ‘I thought I’d accepted my body – then I got pregnant’
Rosemary MacCabe: ‘I thought I’d accepted my body – then I got pregnant’

Rosemary MacCabe

‘Hello? Where is Fergie?’: Sarah Ferguson offered her help to ‘The Crown’… but they declined
‘Hello? Where is Fergie?’: Sarah Ferguson offered her help to ‘The Crown’… but they declined

Sarah Finnan

Westlife’s Mark Feehily is selling his Sligo lakeside home for €1.15 million
Westlife’s Mark Feehily is selling his Sligo lakeside home for €1.15 million

Megan Burns

Image / Style / Beauty

Does glycolic acid work as deodorant?


by Holly O'Neill
02nd Jul 2021
blank

We're taking a dive into TikTok's viral trend – glycolic acid as a deodorant.

TikTok is a breeding ground for questionable viral beauty hacks, from sunscreen contouring a la Gwyneth Paltrow to at-home face masks made in your kitchen (the next person to ask me if they should rub turmeric or egg whites into their blackheads is getting an invoice).

The latest curious trend is to use glycolic acid on your armpits, with the hashtag #glycolicacidasdeodorant now at a whopping 4.6million views. According to the trend’s enthusiasts, glycolic acid will stop you sweating, put an end to body odour and reduce pigmentation. There are a ton of viral videos of gushing devotees to glycolic acid as deodorant, but given how irritating glycolic acid can be on the skin and how sensitive our underarms are, the idea of swiping a cotton pad of glycolic acid on your pits might make you grit your teeth. So is glycolic acid actually effective as a deodorant? And is it safe to use?

Best to take it from the pros – so here’s what Eavanna Breen, founder and senior skin therapist of Akina Beauty and Laser Clinic has to say – and with 28 years of experience, working on over ten thousand faces, she’d know.

What is glycolic acid, and how does it work on the skin?

Glycolic acid is an acid that is used in skincare to exfoliate the skin. It belongs to a group of acids known as alpha-hydroxy acids, and it works by breaking down the bonds between dead skin cells so that they shed at a faster rate. This action, in turn, stimulates cell turnover and encourages collagen production in the skin. Glycolic acid has a very small molecular structure, which can penetrate the skin quickly and easily.

Will glycolic acid work as a deodorant?

Potentially yes! Armpit skin has a pH of between 5.5-6.5, a higher pH than other parts of your skin, making it a less acidic environment. The bacteria that live on our skin and are responsible for causing the odour that we get when we sweat are affected by the pH of our skin. In changing the pH of your underarm skin, using an acid such as glycolic acid that lowers the pH, you can potentially decrease the bacteria that causes body odour.

Is glycolic acid safe to use on armpit skin?

Acids can irritate the skin, and those with sensitive skin should avoid using them on their underarms. If you have recently shaved and then apply glycolic, you are going to feel a sting! Likewise, it is not recommended to use it if you are undergoing a course of laser hair removal. As with all acids, you should start slow and if the skin becomes irritated, stop using it. There are other upsides to using it on the underarms though; it can also help with pigmentation and ingrown hairs.

Sold? We’ve rounded up some of our favourite glycolic acids below – though as the go-to skincare brand for the TikTok age group, The Ordinary’s one is the prevailing favourite among the app’s enthusiasts.

Photography by Jason Lloyd Evans.

We may earn a commission if you buy something from any affiliate links on our site.

Also Read

trending cuts and colours
BEAUTY
The trending cuts and colours to know for your long-awaited hair appointment

Celebrity hairstylists Larry King, Adam Reed and Luke Hersheson on the trending hairstyles, cuts and colours to know and consider for your long-awaited hair appointment.

By Holly O'Neill

apply an even tan
BEAUTY
How to apply an even, natural-looking tan without streaks or blotches

Vogue Williams shares her top tips for applying a streak-free tan. And, to get you started, we’re giving away the...

By Shayna Sappington

blank
premium HEALTH & WELLNESS, FASHION
I don’t know who needs to read this, but wear the damn shorts

Gillian Roddy posted a photo of herself in her “shorts normally reserved for the privacy of the garden” because she...

By Gillian Roddie

Color Wow Xtra Large Bombshell Volumizer
BEAUTY, SHOPPING
Color Wow Xtra Large Bombshell Volumizer is your easy cheat for mega hair volume

Everything you hate about texturising and volumizing products has been fixed with Color Wow Xtra Large Bombshell Volumizer, the brand’s most innovative launch yet.

By Holly O'Neill

blank
BEAUTY
Cream bronzers are a simple summer staple for sun-kissed skin

Sheer, seamless, buildable and foolproof – swap your powder for cream bronzers for a sunkissed glow that’s at one with...

By Holly O'Neill

hair
BEAUTY
“I didn’t really understand what my hair meant to me until it was gone”

Hair is so much more than what we see in the mirror. It’s linked intrinsically to who we are, to...

By Holly O'Neill

Insatgram / @sammcknight1
BEAUTY
Hairstylist Sam McKnight on his iconic Princess Diana haircut and how she’d dress now

Princess Diana said that the haircut Sam gave her was what sparked her confidence to change her life in the...

By Holly O'Neill