CINCINNATI – A Virginia man sparked a class action lawsuit against Procter & Gamble, claiming that popular deodorant Old Spice left him with painful, red rashes under his arms.
Rodney Colley, of Alexandria, is the lead plaintiff in the case heading to Ohio court.
"I got out of the shower on Monday morning and it felt like my armpit was on fire," Colley told IJ.com. "So I looked in the mirror and sure enough the skin around it started scabbing."
Colley claims there are "hundreds, if not thousands" of other customers who have reported painful underarms after using the popular deodorants.
This is not the first time Colley has been injured while using common household products – he made news two months ago after a disastrous run-in with a nail clipper, which resulted in an infected big toe and a trip to the hospital, he said.
Colley is not alone in his concerns about Old Spice, though. The deodorant has an overall satisfaction rating of one star out of five on the Consumer Affairs website.
"I recently bought this product for my son and husband and after about 3 days my son's arm pits started to burn, he showed them to me and I was horrified to see what looked like burns, he said his arms were so sore that he couldn't even lift his arms above his head," a woman named Lori wrote in one of the hundreds of reviews.
Each deodorant bar does come with a warning not to use it on broken skin and to stop using it "if rash or irritation occurs," but many of the reviewers report what they say appears to be a "chemical burn" after a single use.
One young man posted a video on YouTube of his red, blistering armpits, saying it "hurts really, really bad and feels like a sunburn with needles that's being pulled apart." He says he noticed the severe irritation after using Old Spice's Aqua Reef deodorant.
Proctor & Gamble spokesman Damon Jones said the angry red skin is not actually a chemical burn, but "essentially skin reactions some people have that can be caused by a broad variety of factors or ingredients."
Jones says the company is looking into Colley's claims but says the deodorant is safe to use, and that millions of men use it daily without issue. Jones issued the following statement:
"The safety of the men who use Old Spice is the foundation of everything we do. 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 used 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. If anyone using Old Spice has questions, we encourage them to call us at 1-800-677-7582.”
Colley is seeking unspecified damages in the case.