Q. My family has used milk of magnesia as a deodorant for 60 years since Cuba. That is what everyone used, even before the revolution. My family still uses it today in the United States, since it’s better than any deodorant.
This is old news for us!
A. We first heard about using milk of magnesia (MoM) back in 2006 from a reader of our newspaper column. She was traveling in Brazil and had run out of antiperspirant. A Brazilian suggested applying milk of magnesia to her armpits as a stopgap. She was thrilled with the results and commented that MoM “is the best underarm deosorant!”
At the time we were astonished, but thought we would give it a try ourselves. To our amazement, it worked. The only trouble is that it is messy! We tried pouring milk of magnesia into our palm and sloshing it on our underarms. Yuck. We tried soaking cotton balls with MoM and dabbing it on. Still messy and drippy.
Finally, we decided to enlist a natural product chemist who might be able assist us in creating a roll-on MoM deodorant without the muss or fuss. We also asked him to eliminate the bleach (sodium hypochlorite) preservative that is found in over-the-counter milk of magnesia liquid laxatives. We never have understood why the FDA permits bleach in something people swallow. And we definitely did not want bleach, even in small concentrations, in an underarm product.
If you would like more detailed information about various products and ingredients in MoM, here is a link.
We are thrilled to learn that this remedy goes back at least 60 years. It can be hot and humid in Cuba and people there no doubt needed to come up with practical solutions. That’s also true in Brazil. We are glad that we have been able to make this approach more accessible.