Lemon vs. deodorant: an investigation into natural armpit care

Lemon vs. deodorant: an investigation into natural armpit care

A new trend has taken TikTok by storm: users have started using lemon instead of deodorant to naturally keep body odor at bay. Typing “lemon underarms” or “lemon as deodorant” brings up hundreds of videos of users testing out whether or not this hack really works.

If you aren’t familiar with it, the beauty trick consists of cutting lemons in half or slicing them and rubbing them directly on the armpits. 

As a natural body care company backed by science, we decided to personally investigate viral TikTok trends to see if there is merit and legitimacy in their claims #caporfact.

Can lemon act as a natural deodorant?

What makes lemons favorable as a deodorant replacement is that they are rich in citric acid, which possesses antimicrobial and acidic properties. These properties change the pH level of the skin, creating an unfavorable environment for odor-causing bacteria.

But does using lemons as deodorant work?

While lemons do have antimicrobial properties, there is a lack of scientific studies specifically examining their effectiveness as deodorants. Most of the information available is anecdotal or based on personal experiences.

Lemons are also (surprise!) very acidic. With a pH of 2-3 they are much more acidic than your underarms natural pH of 5.5-6.5. While this does make it an unfavorable site for bacteria, it can also be much too harsh for the delicate underarm skin. Irritation can cause the skin to become red, darker, and inflamed. 

Be mindful of the high vitamin c concentration too, while it possesses many benefits, can lead to staining your clothes. 

If you are going to explore this alternative, proceed with caution.

Pros and cons of using lemon to reduce body odor


  • Natural and eco-friendly option
  • Citrus scent can provide a refreshing fragrance
  • Some antimicrobial properties may inhibit bacterial growth


  • Lack of scientific evidence on effectiveness
  • Lemon juice may cause skin irritation or sensitivity in some individuals due to its acidic nature
  • Lemon juice may disrupt the natural pH balance of the skin
  • Lemon contains vitamin C, which is known for oxidizing and staining clothes
  • Some skin tones react to irritation with inflammation which can lead to hyperpigmentation (causing skin to become darker).   

Alternatives for using lemons for underarm odor 

If you're interested in natural options for reducing underarm odor, deodorants like Nala Care’s free-from deodorants are a great option. In particular, Nala Care’s personalized deodorants are available in a sensitive skin formula, which is free-from any harsh  compounds and effectively reduces body odor without irritating the skin.


  • Pandey, N., & Rizvi, S. I. (2017). Plant extracts as natural deodorant. Journal of Endocrinological Investigation, 40(5), 503-511. doi: 10.1007/s40618-016-0570-y

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