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The best deodorant for sensitive skin, according to dermatologists

Keep your pits free from rashes and painful irritation by switching to deodorants for sensitive skin, including top picks from Vanicream, Dove, Native and Lume.

The best deodorant for sensitive skin, according to dermatologists

Finding the right deodorant can feel like a never-ending struggle, especially if you have sensitive skin. Many deodorants on the market contain harsh ingredients, like added fragrances or alcohol, that can cause irritation and leave your underarms red, itchy and uncomfortable.

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The armpit area, in particular, is prone to sweat and friction, which makes it even more susceptible to irritation, particularly considering how sensitive the skin in this region is. "Skin folds are areas of occlusion, which can increase the penetration of topical products applied to the area. This can exacerbate irritation when using harsh products," Dr. Connie Yang, a board-certified dermatologist at PFrankMD in New York City, tells Yahoo.

Fortunately, there are options available for those with sensitive skin. To better understand what to look for and what to avoid when shopping for the best deodorant for sensitive skin, we spoke with three board-certified dermatologists and two physician assistants with a focus in dermatology. Based on their expertise and insight, we researched more than 40 top-rated deodorants and chose our winners based on key ingredients for sensitive skin, user reviews and proven results.

Cost: $10 | Active ingredients: Triethyl citrate, sodium polyacrylate, undecylenoyl glycine | Scents available: Unscented | Longevity: Not listed

Vanicream Deodorant has earned its reputation among consumers and dermatologists as a top deodorant for those with sensitive skin. According to Dr. Todd Minars, a board-certified dermatologist with Minars Dermatology in Florida, deodorants with limited ingredients, no color and no fragrance, such as Vanicream Deodorant, are his go-to recommendation when it comes to his clients whose skin is easily irritated.

Vanicream contains only five ingredients, leaving out added fragrances, lanolin, parabens and alcohol — common culprits for irritating the delicate underarm region. 

Pros
  • Contains only five gentle ingredients
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Easy-to-apply gel formula
Cons
  • Only available through Amazon and the Vanicream website
$10 at Amazon

Cost: $7 (per stick) | Active ingredients: Dipropylene glycol, glycerin | Scents available: Sensitive | Longevity: Up to 48 hours

Dove 0% Aluminum Deodorant Stick Sensitive is a standout choice for best budget deodorant for sensitive skin due to its gentle yet effective ingredients and cost-effective price. Not only does this product avoid many of the harsh ingredients commonly found in deodorants, such as aluminum, alcohol and baking soda, but the unique formulation contains Dove's signature one-quarter moisturizing cream, which helps soften and smooth the underarms and reduces post-shaving irritation.

The 48-hour odor protection also provides longer-lasting results than many other deodorants designed for sensitive skin, with many users praising its effectiveness in controlling odor without causing irritation. However, some users note it doesn't dry following application like other deodorants they've tried in the past, which can take some getting used to.

Pros
  • Enriched with moisturizers for smooth underarms
  • Does not contain aluminum, alcohol or baking soda
  • Long-lasting protection
Cons
  • Some users report it doesn't dry after applied
$17 at Amazon

Cost: $18 | Active ingredients: 5% AHA, niacinamide, panthenol, chamomile flower extract | Scents available: Fragrance-free, Eucalyptus | Longevity: Not listed

The Deodorant Gel from Nécessaire is a popular choice if you're willing to spend a little extra on your deodorant. Not only is it formulated without aluminum, baking soda, parabens or synthetic fragrances, it also contains 5% alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), which helps fight odor-causing bacteria and provides gentle exfoliation to correct discoloration and bumps. 

"I've purchased this deodorant five times now. The darkness under my arms is fading and zero ingrown hairs like I have had before," shared one reviewer.

And while the cost may deter some, this splurgeworthy deodorant has many users hooked. "Price is a bit high, but no doubt it's worth it. Nice smell, feel and I love this brand," shared another customer.

Pros
  • Free of aluminum and baking soda
  • Clear and quick-drying
  • Designed to improve uneven skin tone
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Product runs out quickly
$18 at Amazon

Cost: $9 | Active ingredients: Aluminum zirconium tetra-chlorohydrex gly (20%) | Scents available: Unscented | Longevity: Up to 72 hours

For those who need additional sweat protection, look no further than Secret Clinical Strength Soft Solid Antiperspirant and Deodorant — our choice for best antiperspirant deodorant for sensitive skin. Its clinical strength formula helps fight against wetness and odor for up to 72 hours. "This product works really well, probably the best I've ever used in terms of keeping sweat and odor away for long periods of time (including overnight)," shared one Amazon reviewer.

The product also contains skin-soothing conditioners to help minimize and soothe underarm irritation, making it an excellent option for those with sensitive skin.

Pros
  • Long-lasting sweat and odor protection
  • Contains skin-soothing conditioners
  • Protects against three types of sweat: stress, heat and activity
Cons
  • Some users don't like the soft solid consistency
$9 at Walmart
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$9 at Amazon

Cost: $20 | Active ingredients: Caprylic/capric triglyceride, tapioca starch, magnesium hydroxide, essential oils | Scents available: Fragrance Free, Lavender & Lemon, Cedar & Vanilla, Cannabis & Green Tea, Cardamom & Ginger, Rose & Vanilla, Citrus & Vetiver, Coconut & Lime, Sandalwood & Black Pepper, White Chamomile & Bergamot (limited edition) | Longevity: All-day protection

Each & Every Natural Deodorant is an effective choice not only for those with sensitive skin, but also for anyone looking for an eco-friendly option. The brand focuses on simple ingredients, starting with the deodorant packaging, which is created from sugarcane — a 100% renewable plant. The brand also offers a recycling program where customers can earn reward points toward new products for recycling their empty deodorant packaging.

The brand's eco-friendly focus isn't the only thing that makes this deodorant stand out — Each & Every Natural Deodorant is EWG Verified, meaning it meets the Environmental Working Group's strictest standards for the health and safety of its ingredients. The product is free of all potentially hazardous or irritating chemicals and avoids common irritants such as aluminum, parabens, baking soda and synthetic fragrance.

I can attest that the product, a personal favorite, glides on smoothly to prevent irritation and the scent lasts all day — although it may need to be reapplied on particularly hot or busy days. If you're wondering which scent to start with, the Rose & Vanilla is my go-to for long-lasting odor control.

Pros
  • EWG Verified
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Recyclable, plant-based packaging
Cons
  • Not all scents last as long as others
$20 at Amazon

Cost: $22 | Active ingredients: Mandelic acid | Scents available: Cool Cucumber | Longevity: Up to 72 hours

Formulated by an ob-gyn to prevent body odor from occurring in the first place, Lume Acidified Deodorant Wipes provide odor control for the entire body, including underarms, skin folds, thigh creases, feet and other odor-prone areas. Users have praised the product for providing a convenient and easy-to-use option both at home and on the go.

Even those with sensitive skin have found the product to be effective, but gentle enough for use. "It really works, and doesn't give me a rash (I have very sensitive skin)," shared one Amazon customer.

Pros
  • Convenient for on-the-go
  • For whole-body use
  • Developed by a doctor
Cons
  • Only one scent available
  • Wipes are small
$22 at Amazon

Cost: $13 | Active ingredients: Coconut oil, shea butter, tapioca starch | Scents available: Unscented, Coconut & Vanilla, Cotton & Lily, Cucumber & Mint, Sandalwood & Shea Butter, Aloe & Green Tea, Coconut Caramel (limited edition) | Longevity: Up to 24 hours

Native Sensitive Deodorant — a standout choice for best all-natural deodorant for sensitive skin — is designed with simple, naturally derived ingredients that help protect against body odor while keeping users smelling fresh. It's formulated without aluminum, parabens, phthalates, talc or baking soda, and it glides on smoothly to reduce irritation.

While some deodorants for sensitive skin don't seem to provide the same long-lasting odor protection as other products on the market, users have praised Native Sensitive Deodorant for its effectiveness. "I have spent soooo much money over the years on clean, aluminum free, baking soda free deodorant for my sensitive skin. I'm also allergic to fragrance. This deodorant doesn't irritate my underarms! The scent is soft and pretty. Highly recommend!" shared one customer on Amazon.

Pros
  • Clinically proven for 24-hour odor protection
  • Smooth application
Cons
  • May leave a white residue on clothes
$13 at Amazon
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$13 at Walmart$13 at Rite Aid

Cost: $8 | Active ingredients: Aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly (17%) | Scents available: Unscented | Longevity: All-day protection

Almay Sensitive Skin Antiperspirant & Deodorant provides all-day protection from sweat and odor, while its fragrance- and alcohol-free formula is gentle enough for sensitive skin. As a result, the product has earned our top spot for best sweatproof deodorant for sensitive skin.

"I have hyperhidrosis [a condition where someone sweats excessively], and it's hard to find deodorants that keep me dry. Almay has done that! Will be buying again! (PS: The gel makes sure I don't get marks on my clothes!)," shared one Amazon reviewer

Pros
  • Quick-drying with no residue
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Dermatologist-tested
Cons
  • Some users say it feels sticky if not allowed to dry properly
$4 at Amazon
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$8 at Walmart$3 at Rite Aid

Cost: $7 | Active ingredients: Potassium alum (mineral salts) | Scents available: Unscented | Longevity: Up to 24 hours

Crystal Mineral Deodorant Stick contains only one ingredient: potassium alum, a mineral salt that controls odor without clogging pores. This is not to be confused with aluminum-based deodorants, which are made specifically to clog pores and control sweat production.

This straightforward product provides up to 24 hours of odor protection without added fragrances or other harsh ingredients that could lead to irritation. But don't worry; the lack of fragrance won't leave you smelling less than fresh. In fact, the natural mineral salts help eliminate body odor by creating an invisible barrier against odor-causing bacteria. You simply wet the top of the mineral stone and apply it to your clean skin.

Crystal is also the only deodorant brand to receive the Clean Label Project Purity Award for its entire line of deodorants, an award only given to brands that follow strict criteria and transparency about the purity of their products.

Pros
  • Contains only one ingredient
  • Hypoallergenic and gentle
  • Dries quickly
Cons
  • Only available online
  • Application is less convenient than traditional deodorants
$7 at Amazon
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$7 at Walmart$7 at Thrive Market

With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to find the best deodorant for your sensitive underarms. However, there are a few key factors to consider when making your decision.

Dr. Navin Arora, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Borealis Dermatology, tells Yahoo that people with sensitive skin should be cautious about deodorants containing the following ingredients:

  • Fragrances: Synthetic fragrances can be irritating to sensitive skin. Individuals with sensitive skin should look for fragrance-free or hypoallergenic options.

  • Alcohol: Deodorants with high alcohol content can dry out and irritate sensitive skin.

  • Aluminum compounds: Some individuals may be sensitive to aluminum-based antiperspirants, which are known for blocking sweat glands.

  • Parabens: Parabens are preservatives that may cause skin sensitivity or allergies in some people.

  • Baking soda: While effective for odor control, baking soda can be abrasive and cause irritation for those with sensitive skin.

"For people with sensitive skin, roll-on or gel deodorants are often preferred. These types tend to go on smoothly without excessive rubbing, reducing the risk of skin irritation," Arora says. That said, the type of application that works best for you will depend on your personal preferences and sensitivities. Common application types include:

  • Solid

  • Invisible solid

  • Roll-on

  • Spray

  • Gel

  • Wipe

In addition to considering the ingredients and application type, it's also important to consider the strength of the deodorant. For those with sensitive skin, a mild or gentle formula may be more suitable than a strong antiperspirant. Deodorants containing natural ingredients such as essential oils or witch hazel can provide effective odor control without irritation.

"What lasts for 24 hours for one person might not last for 24 hours for the next," Ann Cameron Schieber, a physician assistant at Advanced Dermatology in Illinois, tells Yahoo. Consider your specific activity level and personal needs when choosing a deodorant. If you find that you need to reapply your deodorant frequently to get the desired effects, you may want to opt for a longer-lasting product.

When it comes to deodorant, the most expensive option isn't always the best choice. Fortunately, there are many affordable options available that can provide effective odor control for those with sensitive skin. Start by narrowing down your options based on your desired price point.

To find the best deodorant for sensitive skin, we consulted with top dermatologists and physician assistants in the field for their input on which key ingredients to look for and which to avoid. We then researched more than 40 products and evaluated each based on ingredients, user results and reviews, as well as firsthand experience.

People with sensitive skin should avoid deodorants containing fragrances, high alcohol content, aluminum compounds, parabens and baking soda. These ingredients can cause irritation and discomfort for those with sensitive skin, according to Arora.

The armpit area is prone to sweat and friction, which can cause irritation. This area is also considered an "occluded" area, meaning it has limited airflow, which can lead to increased penetration of topical products that may irritate sensitive skin. "Something that may not penetrate enough to irritate your hand, for example, will penetrate more and maybe irritate your underarm," Minars explains.

"Deodorant's odor-masking duration varies depending on many factors, [including] the product, ingredients and person. After morning application, if odor begins to occur it can be reapplied," Steven Prus, a physician assistant at Advanced Dermatology in Illinois, tells Yahoo.

Schieber adds that if you work out or shower, it's best to reapply your chosen deodorant afterward to keep odor at bay. Ultimately, the frequency of application will vary based on your individual needs and activity level.

While antiperspirants are considered safe for people with sensitive skin, it's important to pay attention to the ingredients they contain and choose a formula that works best for you. What works for one person may not work for another. To help limit possible irritation or reactions, "consider patch testing a small amount on a less sensitive area before applying it to your armpits to ensure there is no adverse reaction," advises Arora.

  • Connie Yang, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at PFrankMD in New York City

  • Todd Minars, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Minars Dermatology in Florida

  • Navin Arora, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Borealis Dermatology in New York

  • Ann Cameron Schieber, PA-C, a physician assistant at Advanced Dermatology in Illinois

  • Steven Prus, PA-C, a physician assistant at Advanced Dermatology in Illinois