I Swapped My Antiperspirant Deodorant for Anti-Odorant Wipes for a Month — Here’s What Happened

May 26, 2020
Samantha Holender
By: Samantha Holender | skincare.com by L'Oréal
I Swapped My Antiperspirant Deodorant for Anti-Odorant Wipes for a Month — Here’s What Happened

I’ll try just about anything to squash the smell of body odor. I use extra-strength men’s antiperspirant before a sweat sesh, I’ve tried every natural deodorant out there, and I’ve even gotten my pits lasered in hopes of removing bacteria buildup. I simply won’t stand for bad-smelling underarms. My latest experiment? A few weeks ago, I discovered a new-to-market deodorant alternative, Surface Deep Anti-Odorant Pads, which were gifted to me by the brand for purposes of this review. Developed by a dermatologist, the biodegradable cleansing pads leverage a glycolic acid base with anti-microbial peptides to address odor causing bacteria. I was intrigued, and given I’ll be staying home for the foreseeable future, I decided it was the perfect time to swap out my antiperspirant deodorant, which was helping fight both sweat and odor, in place of the Anti-Odorant Pads, which work to stop just odor, for a 30-day period. Find out if the pads actually worked for me ahead.

How Are the Glycolic Acid-Based Pads Different Than Antiperspirants and Deodorants? 

According to Dr. Alicia Zalka, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Surface Deep, antiperspirants are designed  to minimize sweat production by plugging sweat ducts with aluminum-based compounds. Deodorants on the other hand are designed to address the smell associated with underarm sweat, typically with fragrance.  Surface Deep Anti-Odorant Pads however, don’t stop sweat but rather are designed to prevent odor by making the skin’s surface inhospitable to the odor-causing bacteria. “When perspiration emits from your sweat ducts, it is odorless and colorless,” she says. “It only becomes smelly when the sweat is acted upon by odor-causing bacteria found on the skin.” The Anti-Odorant pad itself, which feels damp to the touch, wipes away odor-promoting dead skin cells, surface bacteria and excess oils. What’s more, the fruit-based glycolic acid and probiotic-rich formula help the skin stay balanced and odor-free. 

Will Any Glycolic Acid Product Work? 

“Glycolic acid was chosen as the base because it’s fruit-based (vegan), has a well-established tolerability and safety profile and lack of an offensive smell or staining potential,” says Dr. Zalka. “An acidic pH seems to reduce the presence of the particular bacteria found in the underarm skin, and hence minimizes odor production by thwarting its proliferation.” While those factors make the AHA a great base for a product like Surface Deep, we recommend against using just any glycolic acid face serum in your armpits. Changing the pH in your skin too drastically, in either direction, can result in redness, tenderness, sensitivity or a rash. “A great deal of science went into the formulation of the pads,” says Dr. Zalka. “The key is using a well-tested concentration along with soothing elements that allow the desired outcome without overly stripping the epidermis.” 

My Review of Surface Deep Anti-Odorant Pads 


I have some pain points with regular antiperspirants and antiperspirant-deodorant hybrids. I’m not a big fan of the build-up or pilling that accumulates in my armpit. And I rarely leave the house without a white stain somewhere. I loved that with the individually wrapped, single-use Anti-Odorant Pads I didn’t experience any of these issues. The pad itself looks like a wet cotton pad, like something you would use to apply toner. It smells slightly acidic, but nothing too terrible. It didn’t sting or burn at all. It honestly just made the skin feel clean, as if I had just showered. The feeling was great, but would I smell throughout the day? And, would the sweat bother me? I was about to find out. 

Day one, I had a fairly low-key day. Aside from sitting in the sun for a bit, I didn’t do anything that would cause me to work up a sweat or smell. Since the anti-odorant pads are not designed to address sweat, I definitely felt some dampness, but it wasn’t bothersome. But, I had no odor — at all.  I was hooked. I’ve continued using the pads every day since and I’m pleasantly surprised with just how well they stop odor. What’s more, I’ve had no irritation, redness or burning. 

While they’re great for the day-to-day, I still find myself reaching for an antiperspirant before a serious workout or sweat session. The pads do help with odor, even during a workout class, but they don’t stop sweat. Personally, I like to keep my sweat controlled at the gym. Overall though, I’m an Anti-Odorant convert. Who knew a product powered by fruit-based glycolic acid would be the unsuspected savior for smelly underarms?  


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