Can you use antibacterial soaps for armpit odor? Absolutely.
However, the key is to use the kind of soap that will not irritate or dry out your skin and to only limit the overgrowth of the bacteria, not to get rid of every single one of them.
Continue reading to understand why and what soaps are best to use.
Video: What causes body odor?
How Antibacterial Soaps Work For Armpit Odor
Armpit odor, and body odor in general, is not just caused by sweat alone. What actually causes it is when bacteria on the skin react with the sweat and dirt on our skin as well. The breakdown from that interaction releases gases that smell pretty funky.
So, we figured out that by controlling the number of bacteria on our skin, we can help to control body odor. And that’s where antibacterial soap comes in.
But remember that you should not aim to get rid of ALL the bacteria from your skin. As strange as it may seem, our skin and our bodies need some bacteria to keep it healthy. So, having some bacteria is normal and healthy. Only when they overgrow or end up causing stinkiness is when we have a problem.
On the other hand, if you’re still smelling funky even after using your antibacterial soap, it means that your pits either were not washed clean enough, or you have an excess build-up of sweat, dirt and bacteria.
You may need a few good washes to really smell the difference. If after a few washes, you still have the smell, you may need to see a doctor. You may have a condition called Bromhidrosis.
Best Antibacterial Soaps For Armpit Odor
The best soaps to use will be the ones with antibacterial properties that will not make your skin too dry. Here are a few that I found to work well:
1- Castille Soap
Castille Soap will not kill bacteria, but it will bind to them so that they can be washed off your skin.
However, I love using Dr. Bronners Castille Soap because it also contains tea tree oil, which does kill bacteria and gives it a nice frangrance. So you’ll get double the action. It can be used by both men and women.
2- Dial Gold Antibacterial Deodorant Bar Soap
Dial is a pretty common and affordable brand of antibacterial soap. I like using the gold one because not only does it get rid of bacteria, but it also has ingredients that moisturize and condition the skin.
It is also free of parabens, silicones, and phthalates. The scent of this is described as “clean” and “clover”. It has more feminine undertones but both men and women can use it.
Or check out my full review here Dial Gold Antibacterial Soap – Benefits & Side Effects
3- Irish Spring Deodorant Bar Soap
Irish Spring is a classic. It has been around forever, I grew up using it. Their deodorant bar soap is said to provide 12-hour protection against odor as it washes away odor-causing bacteria.
I love the original clean scent because it is unisex and crisp, but you can purchase this soap in different scents.
4- Dove Antibacterial Beauty Bar
Dove has created this bar soap to be cleansing (removes bacteria), sulfate-free, and moisturizing so that your skin does not become too dry. At least when I tried it my skin didn’t dry out like what it usually does with other antibacterial soaps that I have tried.
This makes it great for sensitive skin. The scent is gentle but in my opinion, is more for females.
Or you can click here to read my full review of it.
5- Salicylic Acid Soap
Salicylic Acid is great for killing bacteria. It’s why it works so great for acne. However, the downside here is that you should not use salicylic acid soaps on your armpit every day.
While it is a great ingredient, it deeply exfoliates your skin. So using it every day can irritate your skin and make it too dry. It is great to use 1-3 times per week, depending on how icky your armpits get.
To read more about salicylic acid soaps and to see some great options, check this article out: Best Salicylic Acid Soaps – Benefits, Risks & How To Use
6- Benzoyl Peroxide Soap
This is another great acne-helping ingredient that will work great for armpit bacteria. It also has great antibacterial properties.
However, like with salicylic acid, you should not use this on your armpit every day. It will irritate your skin and make it too dry. Instead, use a low concentration 1-3 times per week as needed.
To read more about Benzoyl Peroxide Soaps and see some great options, check this article out: Benzoyl Peroxide Soap: Benefits, Side Effects & Best Ones
Side Effects Of Using Antibacterial Soaps Everyday
Antibacterial soaps can be harsh. So, the most common side effects associated with using them are irritation and dryness.
Another possibility is that If you use them too much then you can also disrupt the normal bacterial ecosystem under your arms. This can damage the skin’s barrier, disrupt our natural pH (which also helps to keep bacteria in check), and strip the skin of its natural oils. All of this can lead to even more problems as the whole ecosystem under your arms goes out of control. You can get infections, rashes, and even more odor.
So, how do you prevent this?
- Use mild antibacterial soaps at least once daily (unless you have excess odor and need to use stronger ones or use them more often).
- Also, use soaps with formulas that also have moisturizing and conditioning ingredients.
- Apply moisturizer to your armpits after every shower and even in between if you need to.
- Don’t skip your antiperspirant.
- Do not use strong, harsh formulas, and do not use them more often than necessary.