Is it a good idea to use hand sanitizer on your armpits? Partially yes. You may do it once in a while, but it’s not a good idea to regularly use it.

Can You Put Hand Sanitizer on Your Armpits?

Here is 1 Pro and 3 Cons:

Yes, when:

  • You are in a situation when you don’t have another cleaning source around you, but hand sanitizer.

No, because:

  • One of the core components of a hand sanitizer is alcohol. Applying it might dry your armpits and even harm them under certain circumstances;
  • The skin of your hands is different from the skin on your armpits. A hands’ product focuses on solving a problem on your hands, not your armpits – right?
  • If you have hyperpigmentation (or other issues), you might be even harmed by using hand sanitizer on your armpits.

Read the text below to understand when is it safe to use it and why you should avoid it.

How do the armpits differ from the other parts of the body?

The armpit area is very delicate and needs special care. What makes it so important?

Many women spend quite a bit of time grooming their armpits. Even if clothing does not expose this area, many people feel more confident when it is hairless. 

woman touching her armpit

For others, the purpose is to protect themselves from infections and diseases that could emerge from armpits’ areas. Problems are often related to an unpleasant odour. This can greatly affect the quality of life of a given person. 

The skin of the armpits is different when compared to other parts of the body. Its thickness is almost comparable to that of the face and groin. This makes it more vulnerable to damage and requires more specialized care. 

The good news is that this also makes it more susceptible to treatment with creams. The skin in the armpit area has a higher number of hair follicles and glands, including sweat glands.

Epilation can be temporary or permanent. Most people remove the hair in this area using plucking, waxing or shaving. Permanent hair removal measures include laser devices. 

Plucking and waxing remove the hair along with its root, thus the effect remains for longer. Shaving cuts the hair, which sprouts faster – in a few days. 

Before proceeding with any hair removal procedure, as well as after it is done, it is very important to make sure that the skin of the armpits is clean. Moisturising the skin after hair removal should also not be skipped, as this will speed up the skin’s natural repair process.

How can alcohol impact your armpits?

It is important to note that there are different types of alcohol when talking about cosmetic formulas. Some of them, (like fatty alcohols) have mostly positive effects on the skin.

We mainly consider ethanol as alcohol that might harm our skin. If someone has sensitive skin, ethanol can dehydrate and irritate the skin, can cause redness, could harden the fight with the free radicals and disrupt the skin cells.

When is it safe to use hand sanitizer for underarms?

In case you are not allergic to the ingredients in a typical hand sanitizer (like fragrances, additives, etc.) it won’t be an issue using it.

There are people that use rubbing alcohol to refresh and keep clean their armpits during the hot period of the year. It is kind of similar when they use a deodorant with alcohol. With a bit of imagination – the hand santizer is like a fragrance-free deodorant.

Could hand sanitizer work as a backup deodorant?

Here comes the main difference between a hand sanitizer and a deodorant. The main purpose of the first is to kill germs and bacteria, not to improve the body odour.

roll-on deodorant with natural ingredients

So, if your purpose is not to aromatize your armpits, but just to keep them clean and to remove the bad body odour – a hand sanitizer might do the job for you.

Please, be aware that typically you will continue sweating, as the hand sanitizer is not an antiperspirant.

The unpleasant smell under armpits appears when the glands release fatty oils while the bacteria are consuming them. The waste from that process causes the smell.

Yes, in short term the hand sanitizer could act as a deodorant, while in the long run the ethanol will dry up and the effect will be lost.

5 actions to protect your armpits in the long run

Exfoliate regularly
When you exfoliate your body during your morning or evening shower, make sure you take care of the skin under your arms. Of course, as long as you haven’t exfoliated that day, you’ll irritate it.

Regular exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells and makes the skin smoother. And if you have any ingrown hairs, this procedure will help them grow back properly.

Find the right deodorant
Whenever you step out of the house during hot summer days, make sure to apply deodorant or an antiperspirant roll-on. If you’ve waxed recently, a roll-on is preferable as it doesn’t irritate sensitive skin.

Choose a quality, alcohol-free product that leaves no residue and provides at least 48 hours of protection.

If you have a problem, visit a dermatologist
If you notice anything wrong with the skin of your armpits, such as darker discolouration in that area or you regularly have small pimples that won’t go away, consult a skin doctor.

The problem won’t go away on its own, and you’d better know exactly what’s on the way so you can treat it properly.

Hydrate after shaving
The skin of the armpits needs moisturising because different cosmetics dry it out more or less. After shaving, be sure to apply moisturizing face cream.

Light formulas are best because they absorb quickly. Don’t put on deodorant or roll-on before the cream has fully absorbed into the skin.
A cola mask is a good alternative to shaving, although it is quite painful. But you won’t have to “scrape” yourself with the blade every few days.

In case of unpleasant smell, try bicarbonate of soda
An unpleasant odour is part of the bitter reality associated with armpits. You can of course trust all sorts of deodorants and antiperspirants.

You can try something natural, too. Once every 2-3 days, wash your armpits with water and a little baking soda to tackle the unpleasant smell.

Try 5 DIY recipes for amazing armpits!

Recipe # 1

Mix lemon juice, turmeric, yoghurt and honey and apply the mixture under the armpits. It is best to lie down and wait for 10 minutes for it to work. Then rinse with cool water. This mask will soften the skin, nourish it and whiten it (in case its pigmentation is darker).

lemon used for armpits

Recipe # 2

A good idea for a hydrating homemade exfoliant is sugar mixed with olive oil. With the resulting sugar exfoliant, gently clean the underarms with massage movements and rinse.

Recipe # 3

Rub the armpits with a slice of potato and leave them until they get dry. Or squeeze the juice from grated potato and apply it with a cotton ball. Let it soak for 15 minutes and rinse with cool water. Repeat 2 times daily throughout the day for noticeable results.

Recipe # 4

Mix cucumber juice with little turmeric and lemon juice. Apply the paste for 30 minutes and wash it off. Repeat the procedure throughout the day when suitable for you.

Recipe # 5

Rub your armpits with a quarter of a lemon. Leave it on for 10 minutes and wash it off. Keep in mind that lemon juice dries out the skin, so be sure to apply a moisturizer.

What happened when I put hand sanitizer on my armpits?

This is the moment to share my personal experience when I have used hand sanitizer on my armpits.  I didn’t face any issues, but my skin is not sensitive so this result was expected.

The ingredients, included in the product that I used were as follows: Alcohol (Ethanol), Aqua, Pectin, Pyrus Cydonia (Quince) Extract, Aloe Vera extract, Jojoba Oil, Calendula Officinalis Extract, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, melaleuca alternifolia oil, Chlorhexidine gluconate, Benzyl alcohol, Fragrance (natural occurred),

In fact, I felt my armpits refreshed and clean.

To wrap it up

To put it plain and simple: In emergency situations, don’t worry to use such a solution for your underarms. 

But don’t turn it into a rule – hands and armpits have different types of skin – to give them the best possible care in the long run, use the right products for the right body parts.

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