Derm DMs: Can Applying Toner on My Underarms Help Reduce Body Odor?

October 20, 2020
Sarah Ferguson
By: Sarah Ferguson | by L'Oréal
Derm DMs: Can Applying Toner on My Underarms Help Reduce Body Odor?

I’ve been trying to make the switch from an antiperspirant to natural deodorant for a while but just haven’t found the right formula for me. During a recent scroll through Reddit, I came across  an interesting option: applying toner on your armpits. Before trying it myself, I wanted to find out more, including if it’s safe considering the underarm area can be sensitive. I reached out to Dr. Hadley King, consulting dermatologist and Nicole Hatfield, an esthetician at Pomp. Spoiler alert: They gave me the green light. 

Can Toner Help Get Rid of Body Odor? 

Both Dr. King and Hatfield agree that applying toner to your underarms can be effective at keeping odor at bay. “Some toners contain alcohol and alcohol kills bacteria,” says Dr. King. “Other toners contain alpha-hydroxy-acids (AHAs) and these can lower the armpit’s pH levels, making the environment less hospitable to bacteria responsible for odor.” Hatfield adds that “toners can help cleanse the area under your arms too”. 

What Type of Toner to Use Under Your Arms

Because alcohol and acids can potentially cause irritation on the delicate area, Dr. King recommends looking for a formula with a low percentage of either ingredient. “And look for a formulation that also contains soothing and moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera and rose water, for example,” she says.

Hatfield likes the Glo Glycolic Resurfacing Toner for underarm use because it is formulated with a combination of the AHA glycolic acid and aloe leaf juice. 

Personally, I tried the Lancôme Tonique Confort on my armpits. This toner has a gentle, hydrating formula that leaves my skin feeling fresh. 

Because I found that my body odor was noticeably diminished after trying toner on my armpits, transitioning to a natural deodorant has become an easier (and less smelly) process. 


How to Apply Toner on the Underarms

Soak a cotton pad with your toner of choice and gently swipe over the area daily. “Don't use a toner directly after shaving, as it could cause irritation to the skin or a slight burning sensation,” says Hatfield. Once dry, follow up with your favorite deodorant or antiperspirant. 

If you experience any irritation or adverse side effects, Dr. King suggests taking a break from toning and applying a gentle lotion until the skin has healed. If you want to try the method again, decrease the frequency of use. 


Design: Hannah Packer

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