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Pits on Fire? Could be Chemical Burns!

Pits on Fire? Could be Chemical Burns!

Deodorant commercials promise their products can keep you smelling fresh even in the hottest of conditions, claims that South Louisiana weather definitely puts to the test. But does your favorite, tried and true product have active ingredients that can cause reactions or even a chemical burn? Here’s what you need to know.

Most deodorants and antiperspirants have similar active ingredients, so it’s fairly common for people to have a sensitivity to them or even experience an allergic reaction. The main culprits are preservatives, aluminum, fragrances or dyes, all of which can cause skin to itch, become red or inflamed, or break out in hives. It can happen when applying a product to cleanly shaven or broken skin. A deodorant allergy can be triggered by these ingredients in any product, even ones you have used regularly, as sometimes manufacturers change their formulas without anyone knowing. With these types of reactions, stop using the product and try a topical antihistamine, such as Benadryl, to help stop the itching and soothe burning.

But what happens when the reaction is more severe and results in open, blistered skin? A popular deodorant manufacturer has come under fire in recent years as people have taken to social media to share their experiences with chemical burns after using certain products.

More serious reactions to deodorant and antiperspirant products are caused by acidic or other ingredients and can result in severe and painful blistering of the skin, including open, peeling, oozing blisters or burns. These types of burns cause tissue damage, and the healing process can take weeks.

People with chemical burns most often report a burning sensation followed by red, irritated and inflamed skin in the armpits. Blistering occurs quickly, so it’s important to clean the area with cool water and a mild soap. Gently pat dry and try using topical over-the-counter corticosteroids. The area should be covered with a large bandage that extends beyond the affected area. Healing can be slow, and infection can occur, so the areas should be cleaned regularly, and no deodorant or antiperspirant products should be used until the entire area is healed. If your symptoms get worse or persist, call your healthcare provider. You should also find a new, milder hypoallergenic product made for sensitive skin, and remember to never apply a new product on irritated or broken skin.

It’s unclear why some people react to ingredients while others don’t, but aluminum, which helps to stop the sweat, is known to be one of the main ingredients that can cause reactions or burns to the skin. Dyes, alcohol and parabens can also cause the same reactions for some people. There are options out there that are free of metals, dyes and aluminum, so it’s best to do your research to minimize the chance of having a reaction. And just because something is labeled as a natural product doesn’t mean it’s the best choice, so take the time to check out all the ingredients.