Dear Derm

Why One Dermatologist Ditched Her Deodorant for Good—and What She Uses Instead

Zoe Weiner

Welcome to Dear Derm, our video series in which dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, shares serious skin-care realness. In each episode, she’ll answer your most burning beauty questions and give you all the tools you need to take your glow game to the next level. See All

While many of us have been reaching for basic deodorant sticks morning after morning to help mask body odor, it turns out, there may be a better way. According to dermatologists, the best fix for masking smells actually doesn't come by way of your standard deodorant (which is great news, since mine stopped doing its job around the Fourth of July)—but elsewhere in your beauty cabinet.

In the latest episode of Dear Derm, Mona Gohara, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Connecticut sat down with Alicia Zalka, MD, another board-certified derm and the founder of Surface Deep Anti-Odorant to discuss why glycolic acid should be your go-to for getting rid of B.O.

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"It breaks down the glue in between skin cells to help the skin rejuvenate itself and to help skin cells turn themselves over," explains Dr. Gohara of the trusty alpha-hydroxy acid, which you may already be familiar with, thanks to its exfoliating prowess for your face. Knowing this, Dr. Zalka swiped her pits with glycolic acid when she was in a pinch one day, and realized that it was majorly helpful at combatting her body odor. It was so helpful, in fact, that she developed the Surface Deep glycolic-based formula based on her successful experience with the ingredient.

The reason it works so well is that it addresses the stench at three different 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," Dr. Zalka previously told Well+Good. "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."

But the fact that glycolic acid can keep B.O. at bay is only one of the many reasons it's worth adding into your pit-care routine. To find out what else it can do—particularly for ingrown hairs and discoloration—check out the video above.

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