Is This Deodorant Responsible for Causing Burns on Thousands of People?

Hundreds of people across several states have taken to the Internet to complain about Old Spice deodorant—one of Procter & Gamble's best-sellers in the personal care space.

Other people even took it a step further, filing a $5 million class-action lawsuit against the company, saying the products—more than 10 deodorants under the Old Spice umbrella including Pure Sport High Endurance, Arctic Force High Endurance, Classic Fresh, Fiji, etc—caused severe rashes and chemical burns.

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The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus, OH, states that the products are defective and that some of the online complaints go back as far as 2009. In addition to these written complaints, there are also YouTube videos of people documenting the rashes and irritation on their armpits from using the deodorants (many of them say it hasn't happened with any other deodorants they've tried).

According to The Daily Mail, the complaint reads: "P&G falsely reported that the foregoing deodorants have 'no known effect' with regard to skin irritation. After viewing advertisements for Old Spice deodorants, Plaintiff purchased Old Spice deodorant. Plaintiff has used deodorant in the past and had never experienced irritation, rash and other discomfort. After only a few uses of the Old Spice product, Plaintiff suffered severe rashes, burning and discomfort requiring the Plaintiff to immediately cease using the product."

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A spokesman from P&G, Damon Jones, said in a statement, "We go to great lengths to ensure our products are safe to use, and tens of millions of men use this product with confidence and without incident every year. A small number of men may experience irritation due to alcohol sensitivity, a common ingredient across virtually all deodorant products. For men who have experienced a reaction to a deodorant, an antiperspirant may be a better option because they have a different formulation."


Montclair, NJ, dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD, says, "I have seen a few people in my own practice come in complaining about irritation under their armpits from Old Spice. This is a classic case of contact dermatitis and can cause a chemical burn in those with very sensitive skin. I would instruct any patient or anyone with burning, stinging, irritation or itching under their armpits after using Old Spice to stop immediately and report their side effects to Procter & Gamble. Some of the severe burns are really significant, and this absolutely needs to be dealt with or the products should probably be discontinued."