Print This Page

Seeking Aluminum-Free Deodorant for Teenager

  • Currently 3.2/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Not Helpful ..... Very Helpful
Was this information helpful? Average rating: 3.2/5 (190 votes)
What do you think? Click the stars to vote!
If you have more to say, post a comment below!

Q. I am looking for a deodorant or an antiperspirant that doesn't contain aluminum for myself and my teenage daughter. The natural, aluminum-free products from the health food store just don't do the job. My daughter is very self conscious about her underarm odor.

A. The overwhelming majority of antiperspirants contain aluminum in the form of aluminum chlorohydrate, aluminum chloride or aluminum-zirconium compounds. Without such chemicals, the FDA will not permit a product to be marketed or advertised as an antiperspirant.

There is a raging controversy about the safety of aluminum and paraben preservatives that are found in antiperspirants and some deodorants. Researchers have found both aluminum and parabens in human breast tissue (Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, Nov. 2011; Journal of Applied Toxicology, May, 2012). There is growing concern that repeated applications of antiperspirant chemicals to sensitive underarm areas, especially after shaving, is likely to lead to absorption. One British researcher, Philippa Darbre, PhD, has proposed that exposure to environmental estrogenic chemicals such aluminum-containing antiperspirants and paraben preservatives might be contributing to an increased incidence of breast tumors, especially in the upper outer quadrant of the breast closest to the underarm.

The National Cancer Institute is quite cautious in its response to investigators such as Dr. Darbre. The NCI states that "researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a part of the National Institutes of Health are not aware of any conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm antiperspirants to deodorants and the subsequent development of breast cancer...Some research suggests that aluminum-based compounds, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and cause estrogen-like (hormonal) effects. Because estrogen has the ability to promote the growth of breast cancer cells, some scientists have suggested that the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may contribute to the development of breast cancer."

The National Cancer Insitute acknowledges that, "More research is needed to specifically examine whether the use of deodorants or antiperspirants can cause the buildup of parabens and aluminum-based compounds in breast tissue. Additional research is also necessary to determine whether these chemicals can either alter the DNA in some cells or cause other breast cell changes that may lead to the development of breast cancer."

It is surprising that there is so little data regarding this issue, given that hundreds of millions of Americans use such products on a daily basis. It is entirely possible that both aluminum and parabens are perfectly safe. We won't know that for sure until the research is actually done.

In such instances we tend to follow the "precautionary principle." In other words, in the absence of consensus, we think the burden of proof should be on the manufacturers and the regulators to prove the compounds are safe. We would hate to learn in a decade or two that this was a a big ooops.

In the meantime, here are some possible other suggestions that visitors to this site have offered to deal with body odor:


"Take a wet washcloth and dip it in baking soda, then apply under your arms. It does not stop you from sweating, but it stops you from smelling."

+++++++++++++++++++

"My daughter is entering puberty and dealing with the usual underarm body odors. We tried many different deodorants and antiperspirants to no avail.

I figured if Listerine killed the germs that cause bad breath, it might kill the bacteria that cause underarm odor. I checked with the pediatrician first to make sure it would be safe. Sure enough, Listerine works. She applies it after showering, lets it dry and then applies an antiperspirant. She can go just about the entire day with barely any odor."

+++++++++++++++++++

"Thank you so much for writing about using vinegar and water on underarms. I have had a problem with smelly underarms most of my life and have tried almost every product on the market. Nothing really stopped the odor. When I read about vinegar, I gave it a try. It has been a miracle. I can now go out in the heat, exercise and go through the day without smelling at all. It is amazing and cheap."

Caveat: Use dilute vinegar and do not apply after shaving underarms. It will sting!

+++++++++++++++++++

"We have found that when the smellyness just does not wash off, we wash with hydrogen peroxide and poof the smell is gone. I am anxious to try the milk of magnesia as an alternative."

+++++++++++++++++++

"When I was growing up, my mother suggested I apply lemon juice under my arms at least once a week while I was taking a shower to avoid using deodorant. So I did.

I rubbed my armpit with half of the lemon and left the juice on for about five minutes while I washed. Before I ended my shower, I applied soap and water to remove the lemon juice.
 I have never used deodorant and have never needed it. I know that milk of magnesia is also good."

Same caveat as with dilute vinegar. Could sting if cuts or nicks in underarm area.

+++++++++++++++++++

"I can remember stinking since elementary school and nothing would help my underarm odor. All the years of being made fun of despite being an attractive girl turned me into a recluse. I'd wear sweaters and carry extra shirts with me wherever I went.

"I can swear that milk of magnesia works for me. It's quick. (You don't have to put it on the night before.)

"There's no smell even though I sweat. That's fine with me. I just wish I'd known about this when I was growing up. I would've been so much more outgoing."

+++++++++++++++++++

We continue to hear from many readers and visitors that milk of magnesia (MoM) is a terrific antidote to body odor. It can be applied with fingers right from the bottle. If that is too inconvenient for you or if you just prefer a roll-on product, we have developed just that, The People's Pharmacy Milk of Magnesia Roll-On Deodorant (without the sodium hypochlorite [bleach] that is used as a preservative in most liquid milk of magnesia laxative products).

So, to sum up, there are several non-aluminum possibilities to deal with body odor. They include:

• Baking Soda
• Listerine (old-fashioned amber color)
• Dilute white vinegar
• Lemon juice before shower
• Hydrogen peroxide
• Milk of Magnesia

Let us know what works for you as an effective deodorant. We will be happy to share your success story with other visitors.


  • Currently 3.2/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Not Helpful ..... Very Helpful
Was this information helpful? Average rating: 3.2/5 (190 votes)
What do you think? Click the stars to vote!
If you have more to say, post a comment below!

14 Comments

| Leave a comment

My husband was having a real problem w/ underarm rash. After trying an antifungal cream which worked temporarily, I told him about milk of magnesia.

He will never go back to any deodorant and absolutely raves about the effectiveness of MOM. Thanks to People's Pharmacy for great information. I'm a nurse and it has helped me give sound and simple advice to a lot of people!!

A deodorant stone works very well (better than regular commercial deodorants).

Over a year ago I found a simple formula online that works even better than the deodorant stone! It is simply 1/4 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup arrowroot powder (don't substitute cornstarch) and 1/4 cup coconut oil. Mix together (if coconut oil is hard, you can gently melt over a low flame). When everything is incorporated, add 10 drops of grapefruit essential oil. Pour in a little jar, and you're good to go.

after your recommendation, I started using milk of magnesia. It works better than any deodorant I used before. It seems I developed an allergy to even the natural deodorants, but MoM is just wonderful. Thanks

I'm 72 old male who works out side a lot, plus long walks. For over 50 years have never used aluminum-based deodorant. When I came in at days end, I could not stand my self it was that bad.

5 years ago moved to NC from VA and the summers are hotter, so I was very glad to try Milk of Magnesia Roll-On Deodorant. It work great, also had odor in my groin area, so being a Scotts man. I bought a bottle of milk of magnesia, put in spray bottle and now after my shower at night, a spray under each arm and my groin, last all next day. no odor at all THANKS.

I use MoM too, pour the white kind (generic brand) into an empty moisturizer jar, then use my fingers. I will be going on the guaifenesin protocol for fibro, will not be able to use any products that contain concentrated plant products; this will be perfect. I found the information here.

I have been using coconut oil, a natural antibacterial and anti-fungal, mixed with cornstarch and baking soda for the last 6 months after reading that there might be something to the deodorant/cancer rumors. It has worked well for me. There are recipes for it on the internet - makes kind of a paste that softens when it gets warmer, so might be hard to travel with. However, sitting in the drawer at home works fine. I mixed in a few drops of essential oil for a light scent. That, and shaving every 2-3 days keeps me smelling fresh.

I have found dipping a cotton ball in witch hazel and applying it to the underarms keeps me odor free and dry!

I use white vinegar in a pray bottle. Have had good results for over 15 years using this.

I have used baking soda in a small dish beside the lavatory. Dip the two middle fingers of each hand in water and then into the dish of BAKING SODA. Lean over the sink and apply to under arms so residue falls in sink. Normally good for 24 hrs. Carry some soda in a small zip lock bag so you can apply anytime or anywhere when you travel. It is friendly to our body as some bicarbonate is actually produced in our body. Been using this for more than the last 20 years.

I have been using baking soda now for almost a year and it has NEVER let me down! It burnt my arms up sometimes but that is a small price to pay for being odor free. I pat a little "downstairs" too. I live in a tropical climate and regular deodorants have failed me before but since the soda, I can be confident no matter how hot it gets. I have tried MOM, vinegar and lime but the soda works best for me.

I use alcohol, just plain rubbing (isopropyl) 70% alcohol. I keep it in a little (repurposed) 6 oz. squirt-top bottle, and after showering I squirt about about a teaspoonful in each hand and apply under arms. Let air dry a couple of minutes before dressing, lest clothing absorb the alcohol before its bactericidal mission is accomplished.

I've been using this for about 30 years (now 75, man) and it has worked very well, indoor, outdoor, sedentary, running, cycling. I had to find something because all the deodorants were all giving me a rash. And of course they all smell way too strong.

Yeah this information is helpful. The summers are hotter, so I was very glad to try Milk of Magnesia Roll-On Deodorant. It work great, also had odor in my groin area, so being a Scotts man. I bought a bottle of milk of magnesia, put in spray bottle and now after my shower at night, a spray under each arm and my groin, last all next day. no odor at all THANKS.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE:

Thank you for sharing your experience. Glad to hear MoM (milk of magnesia) is working so well. Anyone who would like to learn more about The People's Pharmacy Roll-On Deodorant can visit this link:

http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/deodorant/

I have been battling underarm odor which I could not get rid of since January...just started all of a sudden. I tried everything (MOM, witch hazel, alcohol, vinegar) but nothing worked well. A friend said her MD had suggested Gold Bond Powder for a rash under her breasts. I tried it & the odor is gone!! Maybe it's the zinc.

I was having problems with deodorant/anti-perspirant not doing it's job. My family practice MD suggested to put hand sanitizer on the armpits, let it dry, then put your deodorant/anti-persperant on! It has worked wonders for me!

Leave a comment

Share your comments or questions with the People's Pharmacy online community. Not all comments will be posted. Advice from other visitors to this web site should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical attention. Concerns about medications should be discussed with a health professional. Do not stop any medication without first checking with your physician.

Check this box to be notified by email when follow-up comments are posted.