The Best Deodorants for Psoriasis

Medically reviewed by Steven Kim, MD on November 20, 2015Written by Anna Schaefer on November 20, 2015

Soaps, deodorants, lotions, and other topical products can cause irritations in some people, especially those with sensitive skin. However, these irritations aren’t necessarily due to psoriasis, but to other issues like allergies.

Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse, a dermatologist and clinical instructor at the University of Southern California, explains that psoriasis and allergies aren’t related. They involve separate inflammatory processes in the body.

Psoriasis is more than a skin condition. It’s a chronic autoimmune disease. So solutions for and irritants of common skin conditions, such as dermatitis, don’t always apply to psoriasis.

The good news? Having psoriasis doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t use traditional deodorants.

How Deodorants and Antiperspirants Work

Deodorants and antiperspirants aren’t the same thing. Deodorants target the bacteria that cause body odor. Antiperspirants work to block sweat glands and give bacteria less food to thrive on.

Whether you use deodorant or a combination antiperspirant-deodorant, it likely contains alcohol and fragrance. These two chemicals can irritate sensitive skin. Your skin’s sensitivity level and whether you have allergies will determine how these and other irritants affect your psoriasis.

When Deodorants Irritate Psoriasis

Psoriasis causes a build-up of skin cells in patches that can itch and burn. Patches are sometimes more common in the underarm area, particularly with inverse psoriasis.

“These areas can become sensitive and irritated,” explains Dr. Shainhouse. “While these patients may not necessarily have allergic tendencies, irritated skin can have an impaired skin barrier, and irritants including fragrances, alcohol, and preservatives can sting the skin and cause secondary rashes.”

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When you scratch itchy patches, you risk breaking the skin. Broken skin allows bacteria and the chemicals found in your deodorant to enter. This is how otherwise non-sensitive skin could have a reaction to deodorant.

Psoriasis patches are often very dry. Anything that further dries the skin, like alcohol, can cause irritation. If your skin is sensitive or you have skin allergies, your psoriasis could be aggravated by certain deodorant products, especially those that aren’t hypoallergenic.

Which Deodorants to Purchase

When purchasing a deodorant or antiperspirant, look for varieties that are:

  • unscented
  • hypoallergenic (or non-allergenic)
  • alcohol-free
  • moisturizing

You may want to consider not using deodorant when your flare-ups are particularly bad. Simply wash your underarms well and apply your psoriasis medicine to the affected areas. If you notice an odor during the day, go to the bathroom to freshen up.

Dealing with a condition like psoriasis involves ongoing trial and error to discover which products work for you. Traditional antiperspirants and deodorants might work quite well for you. If not, eliminating those with irritating ingredients should do the trick.

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