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How Dangerous is Aluminum for People? What’s in Your Armpit?

Have you ever wondered how dangerous is aluminum? It is all around us and is used in everything from antacids to antiperspirants. What is the latest update?
BO smell deodorant

Do doubt you have seen the commercial that repeatedly asks: What’s in your wallet? That, of course, is the Capital One ad. We have a different question: What’s in your armpit? If you use an antiperspirant we guarantee it is aluminum. Is there any absorption? That’s a question that has not been well answered. Consider sunscreens for a moment. We have all been slathering on sunscreens for decades without a second thought. It wasn’t until recently that the FDA announced that ingredients in sunscreen are absorbed into the skin (JAMA, Jan. 21, 2020). We suspect that there is some aluminum absorption from your armpit into your body. Would you like an aluminum-free deodorant? We’ve got one you just might love. Read on to learn more about MoM (Milk of Magnesia) for your underarms. 

Are You Exposed to Aluminum?

We have been asking the question for years: how dangerous is aluminum? The FDA, on the other hand, not only thinks aluminum is completely safe, it insists it must be used in all antiperspirants. In fact you cannot sell an antiperspirant in the United States unless your product has aluminum. Doubt us? Just look on the label. You will find ingredients such as aluminum chlorohydrate or some other aluminum salt in all antiperspirants. 

So, How Dangerous is Aluminum?

Researchers have been debating this question for decades. We will fast forward to the journal Morphologie, June, 2016. The entire issue of this French journal is devoted to the question, how dangerous is aluminum?

Aluminum and the Brain?

One article discusses the impact aluminum has on the genetic signaling programs in the brain “that bear a surprising resemblance to those observed in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) brain.” 

Aluminum and the Breast?

Another researcher discusses the impact of antiperspirants on the breast:

“The human population is exposed to aluminium (Al) from diet, antacids and vaccine adjuvants, but frequent application of Al-based salts to the underarm as antiperspirant adds a high additional exposure directly to the local area of the human breast. Coincidentally the upper outer quadrant of the breast is where there is also disproportionately high incidence of breast cysts and breast cancer. Al has been measured in human breast tissues/fluids at higher levels than in blood, and experimental evidence suggests that at physiologically relevant concentrations, Al can adversely impact on human breast epithelial cell biology…”

Aluminum and the Digestive Tract?

A completely new-to-us concept published in Morphologie has to do with the digestive tract. The article is titled: Gut: An Underestimated Target Organ for Aluminum.” The authors note that:

“Although still poorly documented to date, the impact of oral exposure to aluminum in conditions relevant to real human exposure appears to be deleterious for gut homeostasis. Aluminum ingestion affects the regulation of the permeability, the microflora and the immune function of intestine.”

The Aluminum Controversy Won’t Go Away!

Many health professionals have assumed that concerns about aluminum toxicity in humans have been completely put to rest and there is no reason for concern. We disagree. Over the last decade or so there have been thousands of articles devoted to questions about aluminum toxicity.

Here is an article we wrote on this topic a couple of years ago:

Should You Worry About Aluminum Exposure?

and this:

Aluminum and Alzheimer’s Disease: Is There a Connection?

We do not have a final answer on the big question: How Dangerous is Aluminum? It could take another decade to find out if there really is a problem or if this is all a tempest in a teapot.

Parallels to Sunscreens?

We suspect that most FDA officials don’t think much about aluminum in antiperspirants. Of course these folks didn’t think much about the chemicals in sunscreens either. They probably assumed that what you put on your skin stays on your skin. they were wrong. You can read about this in detail at the following link:

JAMA Study Proves Sunscreens ARE Absorbed into Bloodstream
A second FDA-sponsored study reveals that many popular sunscreens are absorbed through the skin and get into the circulation. How worrisome is this finding?

A New Shipment of Aluminum-Free MoM Deodorant:

We like to err on the side of caution. That is why we came up with aluminum-free milk of magnesia (MoM) underarm deodorants.

A reader told us many years ago that MoM is a terrific way to control underarm odor. We tried it ourselves and liked the result. That eventually led us to create a variety of products including:

Our old standby, Unscented Aluminum-Free MoM Roll-on Deodorant

We have been out of stock on this 2 oz. bottle of MoM for several weeks (it is hard to keep on hand because it is so popular). 

Kelley in Boston gave this product 5 stars! She went on to say:

“Beyond expectations!

“I was desperate for a deodorant that was free of sunflower and coconut due to allergies. This is the most amazing product. I don’t smell and it has not irritated my skin! It does need to dry before you put clothing on or you will get white marks, but that’s a small price to pay for such a great working product. The roll on lasted me a few months and the reorder arrived fast. I tried the scented ones, which are both lovely smelling, but I prefer unscented.”

Fran in Washington, DC called our MoM deodorant a “needle in a haystack”

“I’m allergic to every other deodorant I’ve tried (and I’ve tried a whole lot of them…)! Please never stop making this.”

Joel in Virginia says “Unbelievably Good!”

“I could not believe how well this works, with no aluminum. I have been so happy, my wife will hug me again!”

Try MoM at NO RISK!

If you do not like MoM we will absolutely refund your money! Here is our promise:

“If you are unsatisfied with your order for any reason, The People’s Pharmacy will replace it or refund your money. Your customer satisfaction is our number one priority.”

Want a fragrance or an economy-size bottle? Look no further:

Women’s Aluminum-Free MoM Roll-On Deodorant

Men’s MoM Aluminum-Free Roll-On Deodorant

People’s Pharmacy Aluminum-Free Roll-On Deodorant Sampler

Economy Size Aluminum-Free MoM (Milk of Magnesia) Roll-On Deodorant. 

Want to read more customer reactions? Here they are:

Read the reviews

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
Aluminum-Free MoM (Milk of Magnesia) Roll-on Deodorant

We have heard from many readers that MoM (milk of magnesia) makes a terrific deodorant that does not irritate the skin. Our unscented aluminum free roll-on is effective, gentle, and contains no aluminum whatsoever.

Aluminum-Free MoM (Milk of Magnesia) Roll-on Deodorant
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comments (14 total)
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I see where you call this product a “deodorant” because (as the article explains), an antiperspirant MUST have aluminum.

My question: does MoM have antiperspirant qualities? THAT is what I am looking for.

It does not.

I notice that when I eat meat (that is not grass-fed), my sweat will smell bad. I wonder if it is something they feed the livestock?

I’ve found that using aluminum free baking soda is totally effective for use as a deodorant. I just apply with my fingers after my morning shower. It goes on dry and lasts all day. If it is particularly humid, I may apply it again later in the day. Cheap and effective!

It’s important to note that, to cut through the confusion regarding antiperspirants and deodorants, ALL antiperspirants contain aluminum; deodorants do NOT. Anti-perspirants work by plugging the sweat pores, deodorants simply mask odors. Generally ineffective, but enough for some folks.
When some marketers hawk so-called aluminum-free deodorants, just remember that ALL deodorants are aluminum free.

I agree with Bonnie on the aluminum-free Baking Soda deodorant. That’s what I use and have been using for a long time. To each his or her own, but I prefer “no aluminum.”

what about hard anodized aluminum cookware? safe/unsafe?

i use Toms of Maine deodorant also, no aluminum.

I wonder why we don’t see serious concern about aluminum cooking and baking pans.
We get about 90 % of our food cooked and baked in various thicknesses of aluminum. Similarly, a great deal of chocolate and other “sweet products” are produced and packed in aluminum.

Morphologie, a French journal? It doesn’t surprise me that the French aren’t concerned about the efficacy of deodorant.


Because antiperspirants contain aluminum, I always get Tom’s of Maine “deodorant” since it does not contain aluminum. I don’t perspire so I don’t need an antiperspirant.

I read years ago that aluminum might be suspect in dementia. I stopped using anti-antiperspirants a long time ago.

I pour some regular MOM into an empty small pill bottle and apply with my fingers. Let it dry so as not to get it on your clothes.

I was using MoM out of the bottle too, the white one a friend gave me that I just could not swallow, after using the pink, more palatable one. It worked very well; then I saw a comment here about bleach in it. So bought a couple of bottles of PP MoM deodorant. In the past, I have had to switch very frequently because I would become immune to the antiperspirant I was using. I landed up with Mitchums, the strongest I could find. I don’t perspire much; however, I must have very active microbes, because I do generate an odor. In America that is a big no-no. I used the PP MoM for a few weeks and it stopped working too. I am back to Mitchums and when I finish this bottle will try the PP MoM again. If it still doesn’t work, I will go back to my trusty white MoM. It might very well be the bleach that kills the organisms responsible for the odor.

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