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Hand Sanitizer Doubles as Deodorant

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Q. I can't stand the smell of most deodorants, so I tried a hand sanitizer. It works very well. I had no odor at all, even by the end of the day.

The main ingredient is ethyl alcohol. Do you know of any reason I should not use it?

A. Many other readers have found that alcohol in one form or another can control underarm odor. One person wrote: "I've tried rubbing alcohol under my arms. It kills bacteria and works well but I was not sure using it daily would be good for my skin. I now am trying vodka! It also kills bacteria. The smell is milder than the rubbing alcohol and is gone by the time it has dried, which is very quickly."

Our only concern about people using hand-sanitizing gels on their armpits is the other ingredients that might be included. Fragrances and benzophenones may have hormonal activity. Tocopherol (vitamin E) can sometimes be irritating to the skin.

Some readers also report that milk of magnesia makes a good low-cost underarm deodorant without any aroma. While liquid laxative from the drugstore is inexpensive, we offer a roll-on form that is convenient and easy to use. You can choose from The People's Pharmacy MoM Original Formula, The People's Pharmacy Aluminum-Free scented for women or The People's Pharmacy Aluminum-Free unscented

Here are some comments from other readers: 

"I have used milk of magnesia for about 18 years with great results.

"The way I use it is diluting it with water at 50% then pouring 2 to 3 ml in to the bottle cup to apply it under my arm. Works great. 

"It was recommended by my Dermatologist in 1995." Joaquin


"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 US, since it's better than any other deodorant." MH


"For the person who had recommended milk of magnesia, thank you sooooo much. You've saved me from embarrassment.

"I never had a problem with sweat and body odor before, but lately I noticed that I sweat a lot and that my underarm smells sour. Deodorant that I usually used, don't work anymore.

"I tried milk of magnesia, and the sour scent was GONE. I've been using it for a week now. Thank you. :-)" EDL

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9 Comments

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I like the Vodka idea but I think It's a waste of good Vodka. I'd rather stink & drink.

I was told by my GYN about 47 years ago that an alcohol wipe will kill germs and prevent odor and corn starch will prevent moisture. I have been using this combination since then and have never had a problem.

I put a little bit of epsom salts in water in my bathroom sink. Then wash under my arms, rinse and dry. That seems to control underarm odor quite well. I get horrible rashes from antiperspirants and deodorants. Most contain allergenic corn derived ingredients, among other things, so I can't use them. I do think I'll try the vodka idea, because I already use a corn-free vodka as a disinfectant.

Also, and less artificially, use lime juice straight from the lime. (Someone posted this tip on FB and I thought that was really dumb. But I tried it anyway. Wow, it works). Slice the lime open, rub underarms, terrific at preventing odor and seems to reduce sweating also.. Other citrus fruit doesn't seem to do it -- I tried. The only time not to do it is if you have a heat-rash or broken skin under your arm (OUCH is why).

Ancient Minerals makes a magnesium spray for general use to boost magnesium levels. I have found that just a spray or two under the arms works amazingly as deordorant and it is clear, so there is no milky residue as in milk of magnesia. One word of caution - if you shave your underarms, do not spray the magnesium on right afterwards because it will sting.

Milk of magnesium plus an equal amount of mild body lotion also gives a good fragrance or use it fragrant free. I works well with me.

50 / 50 Baking Soda (from a health food store) and filtered water works GREAT. I have tired all the above vodka, lime, alcohol and I still had an odor.

People often don't know that stench from the pits and feet is from bacteria. So, knock back the bacteria and you reduce the stench. Any sanitizer can help whether its alcohol, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, lime juice, salt or whatever. Also, keep in mind that what you eat also contributes to how you smell. For example, using enough fenugreek to season your food can make you smell like maple syrup. I like using rubbing alcohol diluted 1:4 or so with water and a substantial amount of rose water added. Pour the mix into a mister and spritz the pits for a sanitizing mist imbued with the scent of roses.

I have good results with apple cider vinegar mixed 50% with water.

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