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Deodorant Shopping if You Have Underarm Psoriasis

Medically Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on May 11, 2020

If you have psoriasis under your arms, aka inverse or “hidden” psoriasis, you might wonder whether it’s OK to use deodorant or antiperspirant. After all, the product goes right between the folds of skin where this type of autoimmune disease happens.

The good news: you can safely use deodorant or antiperspirant. But you should take extra care not to irritate these high-friction skin parts.

Deodorant or Antiperspirant?

This is your first decision. Deodorants usually mask body odor with perfume or other fragrance. Most also have alcohol to turn your skin more acidic, which helps ward off bacteria that can make your underarms stink. But these chemicals can irritate your skin or even spark a flare-up.

Deodorants don’t help with sweaty armpits. You need an antiperspirant for that. Buy one made with aluminum chloride. This compound blocks your sweat pores to keep you dry. You can even use it during a flare-up as long as it’s not an antiperspirant-deodorant combo.

Stick, Roller, or Spray?

A stick form is best for either deodorants or antiperspirants. Sprays and roller-ball liquids can have chemicals that can inflame your skin. This is especially true if you have cracks or little splits in your underarms from a psoriasis outbreak.

Go Fragrance-Free

The key is to look for gentle products with ingredients that won’t worsen your psoriasis, or trigger a flare.

Head to the sensitive-skin section at the pharmacy or store. Look for brands labeled “hypoallergenic.” They have fewer chemicals that might inflame your skin. They also often contain substances to help soothe and soften the delicate underarm area.

Steer clear of dyes, too. The product should be white or clear.

Use Extra-Strength Products With Caution

It might also be labeled “clinical strength.” It may help if you sweat heavily. Extra-strength products may save you from having to switch to prescription-strength antiperspirants, which have higher concentrations of aluminum chloride. They’re more likely to irritate your skin if you don’t follow the user instructions closely.

Stay Away From DIY

It’s trendy to make your own personal products, including deodorant. Dermatologists advise against it if you have psoriasis in your underarm area. One reason is essential oils, a key ingredient in many “natural” products. Some oils can aggravate your psoriasis. The scent can inflame your skin, too. There’s also the chance they can spark allergic reactions.

If you have trouble finding a gentle deodorant or antiperspirant on your own, see your doctor or a dermatologist. They can help you navigate the shelves and zero in on a solution.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

Lawrence J. Green, MD, clinical professor of dermatology, George Washington University School of Medicine.

Sarah L. Taylor, MD, assistant professor of dermatology, Wake Forest School of Medicine.

National Psoriasis Foundation: “Best Beauty Tips For When You Have Psoriasis,” “Inverse Psoriasis.”

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association: “Autoimmune Disease List.”

The Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance: “FAQ.”

Mayo Clinic: “Sweating and Body Odor.”

International Hyperhidrosis Society: “”Antiperspirant Basics.”

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