two bottles of Milk of Magnesia (MoM) laxative

Q. I have really smelly underarms. Sometimes they get so bad even I can’t stand it. I’ve tried using normal deodorants, changing my diet and also applying deodorant crystal stones. Nothing works.

I have read about experimenting with milk of magnesia. How do you apply it? Has anyone had success?

A. Milk of magnesia contains magnesium hydroxide. It has been used as a laxative for more than 100 years.

We first heard about using milk of magnesia as an underarm deodorant in 2006 from a reader who learned this trick while traveling in Brazil. Since then we have heard from many readers who find that dabbing it on is effective in stopping underarm odor.

“I am 50 years old and have been using milk of magnesia as a deodorant for more than 35 years. In my early teens I had a problem with perspiration and underarm odor. I was told to try milk of magnesia and it has worked well. In my late teens I stopped using it, but my T-shirts and white dress shirts would get a yellow stain in the underarm area. I didn’t like stick deodorants or aerosol sprays so I reverted to milk of magnesia and have stuck with it.

“When using MoM I barely sweat in the underarm area and I DO NOT have any issues or concerns with underarm odor. I can even skip a few days if I forget to take it on a trip. It works well on the feet and the groin area if needed.

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  1. Isabel

    I have been using MoM nearly all my life. My doctor found that I was allergic to deodorants when I was in my early teens. I had started to develop body odor, so my mother gave me a deodorant, but two days after I started using it I got a bad burning rash in my armpits. The doctor advised me to use MoM as deodorant. Which I did up to the present. The only time I tried a different deodorant, in my twenties, it was one without fragrance, for sensitive skin, my allergy kicked back with a vengeance in the form of yellow sweat. The doctor that examined me at the time said that the antiperspirant ingredient triggered a response by a specialized group of white blood cells that release a yellow substance in response to the allergen. Long story short: deodorant lost, MoM won. It surprises me that its use is not as widespread considering that the number of people with skin sensitivity/allergy issues is on the rise. I am curious about the MoM roll on. It will be soon in my shopping list : )

    • The People's Pharmacy

      Wow, that’s a great story Isabel! One of the improvements we thing we’ve made over store bought laxative Milk of Magnesia is that we do not use bleach as a preservative, and our MoM deodorants are dermatologically tested. We’ve got a brand new sampler pack of Women’s MoM with a floral scent, Men’s MoM with a clean fresh scent, and our customer favorite–our unscented MoM deodorant.

  2. Natural

    You can also use MOM on your face if you have oily skin. Apply for about 5 minutes then rise with COLD water.

  3. Jaay

    I just bought a bottle of Milk of magnesium and I’ve applied some under each underarm with a cotton ball and it took a while for it to dry. Though, I did notice that when I touched my armpits to check for bad smell, there was a distinctive smell to it. Could it be that my armpits smell that bad that the milk wont take away the bad smell and work right away? It’s dry now, but it doesn’t smell like a garden of roses just yet. Well its not supposed to obviously. But I heard it can eliminate the bad odours. Can I reapply some throughout the day if it dries?

  4. T.C.

    I want to chime in on this issue. I’ve bought my own bottle of MOM. I’ve noticed that sometimes it works well but then, I have a weird fungal infection under my arms. I can’t get rid of it with conventional meds, and I have no money to go to a dermatologist. Beyond that, I can’t use regular deodorants. They stopped working on me years ago.
    Now I have to say that I also experienced more bowel movements when I put MOM under my arms. I’m usually constipated, so this is somewhat welcome. However, it IS possible for the laxative effect to pass through the skin, especially through the sweat glands.

  5. Jackson

    Was told that you can use Milk of M on your face and arms under ‘stage’ makeup to help reduce/eliminate “sweating” on the face, neck and scalp area. Is this safe and can it be used as such for these areas on a daily basis?

  6. SSR

    I have been using Milk of Magnesia for several weeks now. I had the smelly underarm problem for a couple years. It would happen daily even if I didn’t work out or sweat much. After trying lots of different brands of deodorants, nothing worked ! The MoM works great. I pour a tiny bit into the dosage cup that came with the bottle. I use a small flat cotton cosmetic pad, dip in in and wipe under each arm, just
    a thin layer is all it takes. I let it dry or sometimes use a hairdryer. I do also use a deodorant too but I don’t think I need it since it didn’t work before.

  7. Ace

    I tried the milk of magnesia for underarms and had the same experience as most of you above AT FIRST. I Loved it, no odor, some sweating when exercising or whatnot but would dry quickly with no odor, and so much cheaper than deodorant (and twice as effective). I thought I found a miracle. I have been using it about a week. THEN (sorry for the TMI but as a warning…) I woke up in the middle of the night last night with really bad diarrhea and it hasn’t stopped 4 hours later.
    At first I thought I was sick, but I otherwise feel fine. Then I realized it has to be the milk of magnesia. There’s a chance maybe I put too much on last night, I think I did spread it a little thicker than I had been the last few days. So I’m not TOTALLY giving up, I will try a thinner spread again and see if that circumvents this issue. So be careful!!

  8. Gracilu

    I pour the MoM in a jar, leave lid off until enough liquid evaporates that it has a thick creamy texture & apply that. Works better than the store bought products.

  9. LF

    You must be putting on way too much. I have never had this problem. Be sure to shake the bottle well before use. I have used a hairdryer if I needed it to dry faster.

  10. Lynn L

    I rushed out and bought MoM, applied it to my underarms and waited for it to dry. It never did, even overnight, it remained a sticky mess to the point where just moving my arms felt like the skin would pull off. How do you get it to dry?

  11. Cecil in Texas

    A zinc deficiency will also cause this odor problem. I take zinc tablets 50 mg. 2 or 3 times per week (sometimes more) and it works to control the odor.
    It works for men and women. Also a trick from Viet Nam, use lime juice on the under arm and it will kill bacteria that cause the odor. Good luck!

  12. Dr C

    This works so well. As a scientist I conducted my own experiment and have told everyone on my blog across the world! Thanks for this tip.
    See my full review and link to the PP roll on product visit entry 4/20/11
    Thanks SO MUCH for this thoughtful message Dr. C. We were pretty surprised ourselves at how well MoM works. We’ve been writing about it for years.
    That’s why we finally decided to make it easier for folks by putting milk of magnesia into a roll-on ( at ). Your blog is great!

  13. LF

    Yes, I have had redness, but mine seems to be more of where the skin has really dried out instead of what I consider a rash. And I perspire some also; MoM doesn’t totally take care of my problem (though there is less odor).

  14. BG

    The hypoallergenic deodorant broke me out too. I started the MOM. No odor… no rash. I’m thrilled.

  15. Virginia

    Milk of Magnesia is hands down the best deodorant I have ever used! No odor and it lasts and lasts. One thing I am concerned about is that after using it for a month or so now, I have developed a flat red rash below my armpits. I am wondering if it might be an allergic reaction to the Milk of Magnesia. Has anyone else experienced this?

  16. AEH

    I gave up drugstore deodorants/antiperspirants due to concerns about breast cancer. I tried the crystal rock solid and liquid but didn’t care for either one.
    Then I tried Milk of Magnesia and I cannot believe how well it works! I rarely perspire except when exercising and then there is no odor at all.
    This is a miracle. I can even use it after shaving my underarms with no irritation. Thanks to the person who discovered this!

  17. Cecil J.

    I have found that zinc deficiency causes my underarm odor. A 50 mg tablet of zinc 3 or 4 times per week will do the trick. Also in Viet Nam they use lime juice rubbed under the arm to kill the bacteria that cause the odor.
    Swabbing under the arm with alcohol in the morning will also stop the
    odor for about 6 hours.

  18. Khai

    I suffer from excessive underarm sweating. No doctor has been able to tell me what to do to stop this… and then there is the smell.
    I read about MoM stopping the sweat and odour, so I decided to try it…I’ve been using it for a week now and I am SHOCKED. I still sweat in the armpit area… BUT, NO SMELL. None whatsoever, no matter how sweaty I get, or whether it sweats and dries, then sweat again… it means that I can probably wear the same top twice now, instead of having to wash after EACH wear. I’m disappointed it didn’t help with the sweating but I’m so grateful it gets rid of the smell!!!!!!!

  19. RAB

    I have always had bad under arm odor. I have tried a million anti-perspirants, including the clinical ones, and even Certain-Dri which burned a lot and was extremely uncomfortable. It stopped the sweat, but I still had odor. I went to a dermatologist and have tried everything in the book from Dry-Sol to charcoal tablets; all gave me bad side effects. I tried M of M and have had very good results. I have a little break-through sweating, but it doesn’t smell. So I have been very satisfied, and am happy that I have finally found something that works for me, without giving me bad side effects.

  20. Beverly D

    It’s not a brand of deodorant. You need to go to the laxative section of your drug store/grocery and buy a bottle of Milk of Magnesia.

  21. RH

    I heard Terry Graedon say on a podcast that she used MoM for deodorant. I tried it and couldn’t believe how well it worked. I had tried various natural deodorants that just didn’t work. The only thing is I still sweat if I am very active but it doesn’t have an odor.

  22. MCC

    I developed a reaction to regular commercial deodorants and tried various versions of the crystal minerals. They were very effective, but I developed an awful rash (red, itching) which took a couple of weeks to get rid of (after stopping the minerals). The last couple of years I’ve been using a cream deodorant with zinc oxide as the primary ingredient, and it works great. I only have to use it a couple of times a week, but some people need to use it every day. You might try that.

  23. L

    I think my body is getting used to the MoM. I’m finding I need to use the MoM, let it dry well, and then apply my aluminun chlorohydrate antiper/deodorant on top of that. I was beginning to have “break-thru” sweating.

  24. Al

    I would like to try this too. What is the brand name of the deodorant with MoM you use?

  25. L

    This really works. I am the same way. I sweat really bad (and only sweat here, no where else on my body), and I can be very smelly. I have not worn deodorant/antiperspirant for two days now, and just used the MoM. I have been odor-free and dry. I think I am going to give up using anything else from now on.

  26. ron

    I have always had a problem with underarm odor, everything I tried caused an underarm rash. When I tried this new product (milk of magnesia) roll on it did the trick without any problem.

  27. BG

    I sure intend to try MOM. I have suffered for years. I’ve tried all kinds of deodorants and even “stones” from health food store. I was sensitive to everything and would itch for days. I just started trying a new hypoallergenic deodorant. So far, so good, but I’ve gotten my hopes up before and then Bam!

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