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How To Remove Antiperspirant From Skin

Whether you just don’t like the feeling of your new deodorant, or you’re actively breaking out in a rash, knowing how to remove antiperspirant from your skin can save you from the unpleasant side effects of hygiene product experimentation.

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How To Remove Antiperspirant From Skin

There are a few ways you can remove antiperspirant from your skin. If you’re feeling lazy, try swiping your pits with a cotton swab doused in rubbing alcohol. Or, spend a little extra time soaping up your pits in the shower.

For a more heavy-duty, sure-to-get-it-done solution, use baking soda:

  1. Put some baking soda in a bowl. It doesn’t need to be a ton, just eyeball a two-armpit sized pile.
  2. Slowly add a little bit of warm water to the baking soda, stirring as you go until you have a paste.
  3. Take that paste to the shower with you and scrub it gently into your pits. You don’t need to get too vigorous. (Your pits are more delicate than you might realize!)
  4. Rinse the paste from your pits. If you don’t want to do this in the shower, you can follow all the same steps but wipe it off with a wet washcloth.
  5. Voila! Your pits should be antiperspirant-free*

*At least residue-free. If you’ve given your antiperspirant time to set in, then you’re going to have to wait for it to fully wear out to be truly antiperspirant-free.

One shortcut you can use is to just keep a box of baking soda in the shower with you. Whenever you notice annoying antiperspirant build-up during your shower, just dump a little bit of baking soda into your hands, add the warm water, and scrub away. It’s also a great pre-shave routine if you’re considering shaving your pits for more effective deodorant application.

Why Does Antiperspirant Leave Residue On Skin?

Your antiperspirant leaves residue on your skin because that’s its job.

Antiperspirants are built to sit in your armpits and block your sweat glands for 24 to 48 hours. The white residue you see in your pits and sometimes on your clothing is the aluminum salt that does the heavy lifting for antiperspirants.

Antiperspirant residue isn’t necessarily unhealthy, unless it’s irritating your skin. Some studies have connected the ingredients in antiperspirants to hormonal imbalances, but lots of products today claim they’ve “solved” that issue. 

That’s why I like to regularly use some baking soda to scrub away antiperspirant residue. Research around what that residue actually does to your skin isn’t complete, so better safe than sorry. Plus, you’ll leave fewer white streaks on your clothing if you rinse antiperspirant residue off frequently.

Does Antiperspirant Wash Off?

Antiperspirant wears off, but regular soap (and even baking soda) won’t necessarily wash it off completely.

The tricks we mentioned above get rid of white, powdery residue, but if your antiperspirant has already had time to set in, baking soda and rubbing alcohol will only get you so far. Once your skin absorbs the chemicals in your antiperspirants, those chemicals will continue to block your sweat glands until the antiperspirant wears off.

When To Wash Off Antiperspirant

You can wash off your antiperspirant right away, at least 30 minutes after it has set in, or once it wears off.

If you’ve just applied a shiny new bottle, and suddenly your pits are feeling itchy and rashy, you’ll want to hop in the shower with some baking soda ASAP. Don’t let the antiperspirant soak into your skin any further.

When you still want the antiperspirant to “work” and block your sweat glands, but you don’t want that residue to stay in your pits, you can apply it, let it set for 30 minutes to an hour, and then rinse it. Use just a smidge of baking soda, or a bar of regular soap.

For those of you who just want a pit refresher, you can wait out that 24-48 hours of antiperspirant protection, then use baking soda. You’ll feel squeaky clean.

Why You Should Switch To Natural Deodorant

Dealing with antiperspirant residue, rashes, and baking soda life hacks can be a big hassle.

Luckily, natural deodorants are often just as effective at helping you smell good and offering lasting B.O.-protection. Plus, they’re less likely to leave behind white, powdery streaks on your clothing, and they do a better job of warding off armpit stains.

The only caveat is that you’ll need to learn how to detox your armpits for best results. Also, they tend to be slightly more expensive, but don’t worry, they last just as long as a regular stick of deodorant.

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.