Most of us think of milk of magnesia as a liquid laxative. That is how it is marketed, and it is certainly effective for that purpose. But many readers have found that topical milk of magnesia makes a magnificent deodorant. In this post, we share the initial report for this novel use. We also discuss potential downsides.
Would You Guess Milk of Magnesia Could Be a Deodorant?
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.
Possible Drawbacks to Topical MoM:
Q. I’ve tried applying milk of magnesia to my underarms for the last two weeks. It worked from the very first application!
I am allergic to many antiperspirant and deodorant products. This was like a miracle to me. There was no irritation at all. In fact, it was soothing.
I have noticed, though, that I have had a lot of watery diarrhea since I started using this. Can the magnesium be absorbed into the skin?
A. Although scientists discount transdermal magnesium absorption (Nutrients, July 28, 2017), perhaps you are absorbing enough magnesium to cause you digestive distress. We would suggest taking a “holiday” from applying the laxative to your armpits. If the diarrhea goes away and then returns after reintroducing topical applications of milk of magnesia, this remedy is not for you.
Any time you apply something to your skin, there is a risk that it may react with a rash. Although this is not at all common with MoM, some people who try it as a deodorant do report this type of reaction.
You Can Try Milk of Magnesia Deodorant Yourself!
After we learned about using milk of magnesia to stop underarm odor, we tried it ourselves and found it quite effective but rather mess to apply from the bottle. So we consulted a magnificent cosmetic chemist who formulate a roll-on for us. You might want to consider trying this aluminum-free, fragrance-free two-ounce bottle. It is a customer favorite.
Or, if you are interested in fragrance, you check out the options in our sampler. It contains three roll-on deodorants–the unscented, one with an herbal scent (labeled for men) and one with a floral scent (labeled for women). All utilize the same milk of magnesia active ingredient, and the sampler is priced at a 15% discount from buying each of the three separately. Let us know how you like it!