Could This Skincare Staple Be The Secret To Odorless Armpits?

While most of us probably wouldn't look for medical advice on TikTok, beauty tips are a whole other story. Sometimes, there's a trend that catches on so fast and furious that it practically begs you to check it out. Using glycolic acid to attack smelly armpit odor is one example. The #glycolicacidasdeodorant tag on TikTok has already garnered a whopping 8.1 million views and counting. Users claim to have found an effective way to banish underarm B.O. by repurposing glycolic acid-based facial toner as a natural deodorant. Just dab some onto a cotton round and give your pits a swipe, and you're good to go...and go...and go. Some users, like @victoriouslogan, claim a single application can eliminate odor for almost a week, but the burning question is — is it safe?

Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from sugar cane, which works in skincare products as a chemical exfoliant. It's normally used in facial toners, peels, and cleansers because it's effective in sloughing away dead skin cells and reducing hyperpigmentation (via Today). When it comes to the armpits, though, some dermatologists warn against using it as a replacement for deodorant or antiperspirant.

The Ordinary's Glycolic Acid Toning Solution is a popular swap for deodorant

Even though some TikTok users claim that using glycolic acid helps them not sweat so much, it's really not an antiperspirant. "Applying glycolic acid will not reduce sweating," Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City told Today. "In order to be considered an antiperspirant, or a product that blocks sweat, a product must contain an aluminum-based compound that forms a plug to block the release of sweat."

Since the skin in the armpit area tends to be relatively thin, damp, dark, and exposed to regular friction from movement, it's also prone to sensitivity. "Because the skin is somewhat thinner than other areas of the body and is prone to friction, irritation can definitely be a risk of using glycolic acid in this area," Dr. Rachel Maiman, a certified dermatologist, told Bustle.

It does, however, seem to help reduce body odor, and experts speculate that this is because glycolic acid lowers the pH of the skin, making it a less hospitable place for bacteria to flourish. Because of that, this is a trend that probably won't be going away any time soon.