Best Deodorant After Lymph Node Removal or Mastectomy: How To Choose | MyBCTeam

Connect with others who understand.

sign up Log in
Resources
About MyBCTeam
Powered By

Best Deodorant After Lymph Node Removal or Mastectomy: How To Choose

Medically reviewed by Hailey Pash, APN-BC
Written by Emily Wagner, M.S.
Posted on August 1, 2023

After undergoing breast cancer surgery — such as mastectomy, lumpectomy, or lymph node removal — you’ll want to take care of your skin as best as you can. If your surgery involved your underarm or armpit skin, you might be hesitant to use products like deodorant.

MyBCTeam members have turned to others with questions about their favorite deodorants or alternatives they’ve used after surgery. “I’m nervous about wearing deodorant after my lumpectomy. Does anyone have recommendations?” one member asked. ”I tried cornstarch and alcohol, but it didn’t work. Please help. I’m starting to smell like a bull!”

In this article, we’ll go over which safe and gentle deodorants and alternatives help MyBCTeam members manage body odor. We’ll also cover when it’s safe to start using deodorant after surgery and which ingredients to avoid.

Your Underarms After Breast Cancer Surgery

Surgery is a common breast cancer treatment used to remove some or all of your breast tissue. Depending on how far your cancer has spread, your doctor or oncologist may recommend a procedure, such as:

After surgery, your skin will be extremely sensitive as your incision heals. You’ll likely have gauze or bandages to protect it. During the first week after surgery, your doctor or surgeon will advise you to avoid using deodorant to prevent skin irritation and protect the incision area. It’s also best not to shave your armpits until your incisions have healed to avoid the risk of infected hair follicles.

Some MyBCTeam members have shared that their underarm odor has become much more noticeable after lymph node removal or breast surgery. One member wrote, “I had a mastectomy four months ago and a lymph node dissection. Recently, I’ve had horrid axillary body odor, just from that side. Even after a shower, it’s still there. Has this happened to anyone else?”

Another replied, “Are you wearing deodorant on that side? There are several non-aluminum breast cancer-approved ones. I have to wear clinical deodorant because I smell. I’ve found Crystal Essence helps.”

Recommendations for Best Deodorants From MyBCTeam Members

Once your doctor or surgeon gives you the green light to start wearing deodorant again, you might be wondering what your options are. Many MyBCTeam members have recommended using all-natural deodorants and powders after breast cancer surgery.

“Is there a specific kind of deodorant to wear? Or can you just use any kind? I have been told different things and I would just like some input on the subject,” asked one member. Several others replied with their suggestions:

  • “I use Crystal deodorant that you can get at any Walgreens.”
  • “I switched over to Tom’s of Maine natural deodorant. It smells good and works great. Plus, it doesn’t have aluminum and such in it.”
  • “I’ve used Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal Roll-On from Walmart for years.”
  • “I’ve been using the natural deodorant from Lush. It comes in a block and it works well.”
  • “I use Lafe’s, it’s all-natural aluminum, gluten, and propylene glycol free. I have the lavender kind.”

Some members have noted that they still have underarm odor, even after using their preferred deodorant. One shared, “I use Arm & Hammer and it works well. However, some of my gowns smell awful, especially the ones I’ve had on during hot flashes.”

Another member suggested an alternative to deodorant, “Ammens Medicated Powder, instead of deodorant, has helped me. It comes in a white 11-ounce bottle with blue lettering. I’m still using it after five and a half years.”

Deodorant Ingredients To Avoid After Breast Cancer Surgery

When choosing a deodorant, you’ll find that some are labeled as ”deodorants” and others are labeled as ”antiperspirants.” Deodorants only help treat body odor, while antiperspirants temporarily block your sweat glands to stop you from perspiring (sweating). The most common antiperspirant ingredients are aluminum salts.

Parabens are chemicals also found in deodorants and antiperspirants that help prevent bacteria and mold from growing in products. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), parabens are safe and are commonly used in other cosmetic products like makeup.

If you’ve done some research, you’ve likely seen theories that aluminum salts or parabens can be harmful and increase the risk of breast cancer. This information can be scary after you’ve received a diagnosis and had surgery to treat your cancer. Fortunately, these myths have been debunked — studies show that using deodorant with antiperspirant ingredients doesn’t increase your risk of breast cancer.

However, these ingredients can be irritating to sensitive skin, especially skin that’s recently healed after surgery. Antiperspirants temporarily clog your pores to stop you from sweating, but for many people, these ingredients can do more harm than good.

Some people are allergic to aluminum salts found in antiperspirants, causing skin itching and discoloration. Other ingredients found in deodorants that can cause allergic reactions include fragrances, propylene glycol, and lanolin.

When you’re shopping for a deodorant in your local grocery store or pharmacy, try to avoid deodorants and antiperspirants with these ingredients. You can also use an all-natural deodorant under your affected arm and an antiperspirant under your unaffected arm.

For more suggestions on deodorant brands and instructions on when they’re safe to use, talk to your doctor or oncologist.

Talk With Others Who Understand

MyBCTeam is the social network for people with breast cancer and their loved ones. On MyBCTeam, more than 64,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their tips with others who understand life with breast cancer.

What deodorants or alternatives have you used after your lymph node removal surgery or mastectomy? Do you have any recommendations? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.

Posted on August 1, 2023
All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

We'd love to hear from you! Please share your name and email to post and read comments.

You'll also get the latest articles directly to your inbox.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Hailey Pash, APN-BC , a registered nurse and advanced practice nurse, holds a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of South Alabama. Learn more about her here.
Emily Wagner, M.S. holds a Master of Science in biomedical sciences with a focus in pharmacology. She is passionate about immunology, cancer biology, and molecular biology. Learn more about her here.

Related Articles

“No more oncology, no more medicine, and the results of my physical were great. Now just to maint...

HER2-Positive Breast Cancer: 5 Ways To Stay Healthy After Treatment

“No more oncology, no more medicine, and the results of my physical were great. Now just to maint...
Meet Becky Caroll | Meet Nina Melad | Return HomeMyBCTeam members often share stories and advice ...

I’m the One in Charge: How I Set My Goals for Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatment

Meet Becky Caroll | Meet Nina Melad | Return HomeMyBCTeam members often share stories and advice ...
Meet Nina Melad | Meet Becky Caroll | Return HomeTelling family about a metastatic breast cancer ...

The Hardest Part: How I Told My Kids About My Metastatic Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Meet Nina Melad | Meet Becky Caroll | Return HomeTelling family about a metastatic breast cancer ...
Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) most commonly spreads from the breast to the lungs, liver, bones, ...

What Is Progression-Free Survival in Metastatic Breast Cancer?

Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) most commonly spreads from the breast to the lungs, liver, bones, ...
For anyone with a recent diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer (mBC), coping with the emotional a...

5 Tips for Moms With Metastatic Breast Cancer: Ways To Cope

For anyone with a recent diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer (mBC), coping with the emotional a...
Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is cancer that starts in the breast but has spread to other parts ...

Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer: 5 Tips To Feel Your Best

Metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is cancer that starts in the breast but has spread to other parts ...

Recent Articles

MyHealthTeam does not provide health services, and if you need help, we’d strongly encourage you ...

Crisis Resources

MyHealthTeam does not provide health services, and if you need help, we’d strongly encourage you ...
Receiving a HER2-positive breast cancer diagnosis can be life-changing. You may wonder how a HER2...

HER2-Positive Breast Cancer Prognosis and Life Expectancy

Receiving a HER2-positive breast cancer diagnosis can be life-changing. You may wonder how a HER2...
Watching for early symptoms of breast cancer — including human epidermal growth factor receptor 2...

6 HER2-Positive Breast Cancer Early Symptoms To Watch For

Watching for early symptoms of breast cancer — including human epidermal growth factor receptor 2...
Meet Becky CarollBecky takes an active role in managing her metastatic breast cancer treatment. S...

MyBCTeam Stories: Real Stories From Real Members

Meet Becky CarollBecky takes an active role in managing her metastatic breast cancer treatment. S...
“When we travel, it gives me something to look forward to.”

Nina’s Tips for Traveling With Metastatic Breast Cancer (VIDEO)

“When we travel, it gives me something to look forward to.”
MyBCTeam member Nina spoke with us about the twists and turns of her treatment journey...

My Treatment Journey With Metastatic Breast Cancer: Nina (VIDEO)

MyBCTeam member Nina spoke with us about the twists and turns of her treatment journey...
MyBCTeam My breast cancer Team

Thank you for subscribing!

Become a member to get even more:

sign up for free

close