February 14, 2020 at 12:00AM by CWC
When it comes to my armpits, I’ll try anything to make sure they stay fresh—even in the midst of the sweatiest boot camp workout. And boy, do I mean anything: deodorant wipes, sage-spiked stuff, natural sticks galore, and even antiperspirant cycling. But in the most innovative (and out-there!) move yet, I’m here to tell you about what happened to my pits when I used glycolic acid deodorant wipes for two weeks.
Surface Deep Anti-Odorant ($25) is a deodorizer that comes in the form of thin, round (biodegradable!) wipes that you swipe over your armpits like you would with a peel pad. The glycolic acid—aka the star ingredient—is a fruit-based alpha hydroxy acid that neutralizes odor-causing bacteria in the area. It also gets rid of dead skin cells (which can build up and lead to odor) and lowers your skin’s pH (so bad bacteria can’t thrive), according to intel that New York City-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD previously shared with us.
The brand’s founder and dermatologist Alicia Zalka, MD, chose glycolic acid because it works on three levels: “It creates a more acidic skin environment to offset the alkaline pH often caused by soaps, which makes it inhospitable for bacteria related to odor-causing skin flora to take hold,” she says. “It also reduces sebum oil deposits on the armpit skin, which further reduces the odor process, and then it also works as a gentle exfoliator to remove dead skin cells and other clogging elements.” Because this deodorant exfoliates while staving off odor, it keeps your pits from feeling coated or sticky the way some deodorants can make you feel.
The Surface Deep wipes also have probiotics, aloe leaf juice, and glycerin in the formula, which are meant to balance the underarm microbiome, while hydrating skin to stave off itchiness. “Probiotics support the integrity of the skin barrier function and decrease the chance for irritation,” says Dr. Zalka. The hydrating ingredients help to offset any dryness that might come from the glycolic acid, so that you can regularly use the acid to tone away odor and bacteria.
Although swiping these glycolic acid pads over my armpits feels different than when I swipe on a deodorant stick, the wear throughout the day feels similar to a natural deodorant. The pads aren’t means to stop you from sweating; instead, they kill odor. “These are designed to allow you to sweat as the body is physiologically intended to do, without causing undesirable odor,” says Dr. Zalka. So while I still felt my pits perspire when I was mid-workout or schvitzing in the overly hot office, I didn’t smell like BO when that happened.
If you’re working to make your beauty routine more sustainable, note that the Surface Deep wipes are biodegradable and come in a 100-percent recyclable box. But another eco-friendly route you can try is to simply swipe the acid toner from your skin-care routine onto your armpits for a similar smell-squelching effect.