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The Best Deodorants for Teen Body Odor

Going through puberty includes tackling new challenges, including increased sweating and changes in body odor. Finding an effective and safe deodorant or antiperspirant is crucial for your teen’s hygiene and self-confidence. But with an overwhelming number of options to choose from, and questions regarding ingredient safety, it can be tough to know where to start. Let’s break down the basics and explore our top recommendations. 

Why Deodorant?

Deodorant isn’t usually necessary for kids. However, hormonal changes during puberty activate sweat glands throughout the body. Apocrine glands concentrated in the armpits and groin begin to produce a thicker sweat containing proteins and fats. While initially odorless, this type of sweat attracts bacteria on the skin which break down sweat and produce chemicals leading to body odor. Additionally, puberty’s hormonal fluctuations can amplify sweating in general. 

There’s no specific age when someone should start wearing deodorant because puberty starts at different times for everyone. You’ll likely know when the right time to talk with your child about deodorant is though – look for signs like the development of body hair, changes in body shape, a persistent body odor, or the start of menstruation for girls. Some teens may want to start using deodorant before a strong odor develops simply because it makes them feel more confident.

Deodorant vs Antiperspirant – What’s the Difference?

Both deodorant and antiperspirant can be great options to help tackle teen body odor. Deodorant primarily works to mask the smell of sweat with fragrances. It may also contain antibacterial ingredients to reduce the bacteria that cause odor. Antiperspirants go a step further by physically blocking pores and sweat glands to decrease or prevent perspiration. The most common active ingredient for this is an aluminum-based compound.

The Aluminum Debate

Over the years, concerns have arisen about the use of aluminum in antiperspirants. Some have suggested potential links to health problems like breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also important to note that some individuals may experience skin irritation from aluminum.

However, major healthcare organizations like the American Cancer Society and the Alzheimer’s Association have found no conclusive evidence linking aluminum in antiperspirants to these health risks. You should have a candid conversation with your teen about whether or not you feel comfortable using a product with this ingredient. There are many great aluminum-free options available as well. If clean, natural, and low-hazard ingredients are important to you and your teen, consider using EWG as a resource.

Choosing the Right Deodorant for YOUR Teen

With so many available options available, here are a few things you may want to consider.  

  • Skin Sensitivity: If your teen has sensitive skin, it’s best to start with gentle, fragrance-free, and aluminum-free deodorants. Patch-testing a new product on a small area of skin before use is always a good idea.
  • Activity Level: Highly active teens will likely benefit from an antiperspirant to help control sweat. If your teen is less active, a simple deodorant may do the trick.
  • Format Preference: Sticks, roll-ons, gels, and sprays are all available. Often, a teen’s personal preference will dictate the best choice.
  • Ingredients: Take a moment to look at the ingredient list on a deodorant or antiperspirant, and consider any allergies, sensitivities, or preferences that your teen may have. In addition to aluminum, you may also want to watch out for fragrances and baking soda, which may irritate sensitive skin. Parabens, a type of preservative used in some deodorants, have also raised concerns about their potential impact on hormone function, though more research is needed. 
  • Cruelty-free: Many brands proudly display cruelty-free certifications. Check labels if this is an important factor for your teen.
  • Scent: Scent is a major personal preference. Some brands offer fun, teen-focused scents, while others have more subtle or fragrance-free options. 
  • Gender: While puberty affects everyone, teen boys often tend to sweat more than girls due to hormonal differences and sometimes larger body size. This might mean boys could benefit from a stronger antiperspirant or more frequent reapplication. Underarm hair, which develops in both genders, may trap sweat and odor. While deodorant brands often market scents based on gender stereotypes, encourage your teen to ignore these labels and choose something that they like. 

Our Top Recommendations

Trusted Brands with Aluminum Free Options

Tom’s of Maine: A classic in the natural deodorant space, they offer a variety of scents and their long-lasting formula is a favorite. For kids or younger teens check out their Wicked Cool kid’s formula.

Tom's of Maine Long-Lasting Aluminum-Free Natural Deodorant
$9.79 ($4.35 / Ounce)
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06/26/2024 11:43 pm GMT

Dove 0%: Dove’s aluminum-free line provides gentle yet reliable odor protection. It’s a great choice for those who love the Dove brand but want an aluminum-free option.

Doze 0% Aluminum Non-Irritating Deodorant
$20.97 ($2.69 / Ounce)

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06/26/2024 11:44 pm GMT

Schmidt’s: This brand offers both regular and sensitive skin formulas in both jar and stick formats. They are known for natural scents using essential oils.

Schmidt's Aluminum-Free Vegan Deodorant Charcoal & Magnesium
$10.99 ($4.23 / Ounce)

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06/26/2024 11:47 pm GMT

Best Antiperspirants for Teens

Dove: A classic brand with a vast range of antiperspirant/deodorant formulas and scents. Their clinical strength options provide extra protection.

Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant Deodorant Stick
$25.18 ($2.42 / Ounce)

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06/26/2024 11:49 pm GMT

Degree: Offers many sport-focused antiperspirants with motion-activated technologies for long-lasting protection.

Secret Clinical Strength: Provides prescription-level sweat protection, ideal for teens who struggle with excessive sweating.

Secret Clinical Strength Antiperspirant and Deodorant
$12.97 ($4.99 / Ounce)

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06/26/2024 11:55 pm GMT

Best Smelling Deodorants for Teens

Fresh Monster: Specifically designed for kids and teens, with fun packaging, playful scents like gummy bears and bubble gum, and gentle yet effective formulas.

Native: Highly popular for its wide range of fun scents and effective odor-fighting formulas. Popular scents include coconut & vanilla, eucalyptus & mint, cucumber & mint, as well as fun seasonal options.

Other Tips for Managing Teen Body Odor

Deodorant is a powerful tool, but it’s not the only solution for managing teen body odor. These additional tips can work in tandem to keep your teen feeling fresh and confident:

  • Regular Bathing: Showering or bathing daily, especially after sports or sweating, is crucial. Pay attention to washing thoroughly with soap in areas prone to odor, like the armpits, groin, and feet.
  • Encourage Changing Clothes: Fresh clothes make a big difference. Emphasize changing daily, especially underwear and socks. After workouts or activities that cause sweating, clean clothes are essential.
  • Consider Foot Odor: Teens can be prone to smelly feet. Make sure they’re wearing socks (cotton or moisture-wicking are best) and airing out shoes properly.
  • Dietary Changes: While research is limited, some people find that strong-smelling foods like garlic, onions, or certain spices can contribute to body odor. If it’s a major concern, temporary elimination of these foods might help to see if it makes a difference.
  • Hydration: Staying well-hydrated can help flush out toxins and potentially contribute to less pungent sweat.
  • Talk to a Doctor: If body odor seems excessive or is accompanied by other symptoms like unusual sweating or skin rashes, consult a pediatrician or dermatologist to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
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