It’s not uncommon for people to feel as though their deodorant is no longer as effective as it once was. The most important step to figuring out why is pointing out the difference between antiperspirant and deodorant.
Antiperspirants block sweating, deodorants mask the odor. The recipe for odor is sweat + bacteria = odor.
With my quick primer out of the way it’s easier to understand what happens when a deodorant stops working. Either there is more sweat than before or more or different bacteria in the area. If there is more sweat, then the result will be a “damp” feeling along with the odor. If there is more odor than generally people will feel “dry” but know there is an odor.
If there is a damp feeling we have to re-evaluate our game plan with sweat. We either increase the strength of the antiperspirant or choose an alternate method of blocking sweat.
If there is a dry feeling with associated odor, then it may help to choose one of a few options. Either change up your scent choice, consider an antibacterial soap or lotion for a week or two to cut down on bacterial overgrowth, or consider using a mild scrub in the to gently exfoliate any buildup of bacteria.
If there is an excessively dry sensation resulting in itching constantly, it’s possible your antiperspirant is way too effective and drying you out so much it’s irritating your skin. In this case, the masking scent of a deodorant is fine, we would just adjust the antiperspirant choice.
If you see a rash in what we call the ‘axillary vault’ the area we rub the deodorant on directly that appears pink, swollen, crusty and itchy- you may have developed a reaction to the scent used.
There are so many essential oils used in deodorants that it’s possible to develop an allergy to these products over time with repetitive use.
To test this, it helps to swatch the product on your inner forearm and see if a reaction develops. It’s not a perfect test but can show a rash where you swatched for a true contact dermatitis.
The other big rash that I see here is folliculitis. Bacteria can find its way onto our razors, get into our hair follicles and infect them. It’s often misinterpreted as a reaction to our products. The key here is the rash is concentrated around the hair follicles.
READ MORE as Dr ILYAS discusses this with POPSUGAR