Glycolic Acid for Underarms – How to Use, Benefits & Risks

Glycolic Acid for Underarms - How to Use, Benefits & Risks
Glycolic Acid for Underarms – How to Use, Benefits & Risks

We have all heard about glycolic acid chemical peels, cleansers, and toners. But can we use glycolic acid for underarms too? 

Yes! Glycolic acid when applied to the underarms, lessens body odor, smoothens the skin, and minimizes pigmentation.

But for it to be effective, you need to use it correctly if not it might cause more harm than good.

So in this article, we are going to guide you on everything that you need to know when using glycolic acid for your armpits.

Benefits of Using Glycolic Acid For Underarms

  1. Lightens the skin
  2. Reduces odor
  3. Smooth fine wrinkles and improves the skin’s tone and texture
  4. Moisturizes the skin and prevents it from getting dry by holding on to water in the skin cells
  5. Fade dark patches caused by sun damage and protects collagen from the sun
  6. Prevent ingrown hairs and makes pores appear smaller by helping the skin shed dead skin cells
  7. Clean out pores to prevent comedones (bumps), blackheads, and inflamed breakouts

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Can Glycolic Acid Help With Smelly Armpit

Glycolic Acid will help to reduce odor. This is because it is Antibacterial: At certain concentrations, glycolic acid lowers the pH of the skin and helps to lessen the growth and buildup of bacteria.

Armpit odor is caused by a build-up of bacteria that feed on sweat. The effect of glycolic acid is temporary and can’t replace a deodorant.

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Can Glycolic Acid Lighten Dark Underarms

Glycolic Acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid that works by dissolving the connections between dead skin cells.

  • This aids in resurfacing (or smoothing) the top layer of the skin.
  • This also triggers your skin to make more collagen.

Now by chemically exfoliating your skin allows for new healthier skin to grow and which tends to be lighter and healthier.

Glycolic Acid doesn’t require abrasive scrubbing like mechanical exfoliants like face scrubs and brushes.

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Bonus Tip

For a faster way to lighten your underarm, you can consider laser whitening, click here to learn more.

Other Effects of Glycolic Acid on Skin

Glycolic Acid is a Humectant meaning it draws and binds water to skin cells. It accomplishes this by boosting the production of glycosaminoglycans, which are water-attracting molecules in the skin.

Is Anti-aging: Glycolic acid can lessen UV damage while boosting the skin’s collagen and hyaluronic acid levels. These elements give skin its structure and suppleness.

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How To Correctly Use Glycolic Acid For Underarms

Remember that because your underarm skin is thinner, rubs together, and is more sensitive, glycolic acid will penetrate more deeply. So, be careful!

The safest glycolic acid concentration for the underarm area is between 8% and 10%. You can also use a lower percentage but it will take longer to work.

It’s recommended especially for those with sensitive skin that they start off with a low concentration.

How to use glycolic acid on your underarms:

  1. Cleanse your skin and pat dry
  2. Conduct your regular underarm skincare routine
  3. Use a small amount of the glycolic acid product (toner, serum, or moisturizer) in the space of the coordinating skincare step in your routine. 
  4. Apply your underarm care products (deodorants and antiperspirants) 
  5. Apply sunscreen

To get the best results you need to moisturize correctly after using glycolic acid, click here to read how.

When Will You See Results From Glycolic Acid on Armpits

How long will glycolic acid take to make your underarms look lighter and smoother will depend on the concentration used and how frequently it is applied.

The higher the concentration the faster you can expect results. If you use a product with a 9 percent concentration 2-3 times a week, you should see results within a month.

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How Often Should You Apply Glycolic Acid to Underarms

Only use glycolic acid on your underarms 2-3 times per week, preferably at night. This way, you do not need to add deodorant over it if you do not do that at night. 

If your underarm skin tolerates it well, you may increase the frequency. However, remember that your underarms are thin and more sensitive to never use this more than once daily. 

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Tips To Follow When Using Glycolic Acid For Armpits

  • Use a low concentration of glycolic acid (the most common one available is 7%).
  • It is also best to use glycolic acid on your underarms in the form of a cleanser, toner, serum or even in a moisturizer or mask. These preparations are usually more gentle on the skin than chemical peels.
  • Just use one product. Using a whole line of glycolic acid-containing skin care products is not necessary. To reap the benefits, just one product is required.
  • Always do a patch test. Choose a small area of skin and try out the product before spreading it on the whole area. See how your skin will tolerate it. 
  • Even though it is your underarm, still use sunscreen as glycolic acid can make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure. 
  • Do not skip the deodorant and antiperspirants. 

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Best Glycolic Acid Products For Underarms

1. The QRxLabs Glycolic Acid Gel Cleanser

This cleanser combines gentle and effective natural ingredients such as Coconut Milk, Honey, and Sweet Almond Oil with medical-grade Glycolic Acid to provide deep pore cleansing and gentle exfoliation.

With an optimal 5% Glycolic Acid concentration, this gel cleanser is sufficiently strong to be highly effective but not so strong that it will leave the skin irritated.

Click here to check out The QRxLabs Glycolic Acid Gel Cleanser on Amazon.

2. Pixi Beauty Glow Tonic

This contains 5% glycolic acid which gently exfoliates the skin. It also contains ginseng which improves circulation and energizes the skin, and aloe Vera soothes and hydrates. 

Pixi Glow is best for individuals with very sensitive skin, it won’t be as effective since it has a low concentration of glycolic acid. But it won’t be so harsh on your skin like products with higher concentrations

Click here to see the price for the Pixi Beauty Glow Tonic on Amazon.

3. Facetheory Glycomide Body Cream

This is a rich body cream formulated with 9% glycolic acid to expedite the shedding of dead skin cells for a smooth, refined texture.

It also contains ceramide 3, a lipid that binds skin cells together, acting as a protective layer to retain moisture. It is cruelty-free, non-toxic, and vegan. 

Facetheory is a very effective product since it has a higher level concentration of glycolic it will work faster. But it is not ideal for those with very sensitive skin

Click here to see the price for the Facetheory Glycomide Body Cream on Amazon. 

Can Glycolic Acid Replace Deodorant

Glycolic Acid cannot permanently replace your deodorant. 

A theory rather than a proven fact is that glycolic acid can be used as a deodorant. While it may help to lessen odor, it does not stop you from sweating.

This new take can be credited to the viral TikTok trends we see so often of people replacing their deodorant with glycolic acid. 

However, while glycolic acid has many benefits, it simply cannot replace your deodorant. Here is why:

1- Glycolic Acid does not stop you from sweating under your arms.

It does not contain any ingredients that block your sweat glands. 

While it temporarily lowers your pH and can lessen the buildup of odor-causing bacteria from accumulating, you will still sweat, which will eventually neutralize the glycolic acid. After this, odor-causing bacteria can still accumulate, just not as much. 

2- Glycolic Acid Should Not Be Used Everyday

When applied on the armpits too, where the skin is thin and the folds rub against one another, glycolic acid, like other exfoliating acids, can irritate the skin.

This could result in sensitivity, flaking, and redness, especially if used every day. 

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Risks Of Using Glycolic Acid For Underarms

Like all active ingredients, especially chemical exfoliants, there are some possible risks and side effects to look out for when using glycolic acid, especially in sensitive areas like the underarms: 

  1. Increase UV sensitivity – AHAs like glycolic acid might lessen the effects of sun damage. However, they also destroy the top layer of skin cells, making the cells underneath more susceptible to more UV damage. Because of this, it’s imperative to use sunscreen every day.
  1. Irritation – This can happen if you use glycolic acid that is too strong, if you use it too frequently, or if you use it in very sensitive areas. You may experience redness, itching, burning, and even some swelling. 
  1. Hyperpigmentation – Even though glycolic acid is known to reduce the appearance of darkened patches of skin, if the product causes too much irritation, your skin can actually darken further in response. 

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Related Article

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Sources:

Glycolic acid for the skin: Benefits and how to use it

Glycolic Acid: What Is It and How Does It Work for Skin Care? | Glamour

Glycolic acid as deodorant: a dermatologist weighs in – TODAY

Can you use glycolic acid as a deodorant? | Metro News

Glycolic Acid As Natural Deodorant On TikTok: Safety

The Truth About Using Glycolic Acid On Your Underarms

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