Deodorant & Antiperspirant

This page has three parts: how to understand your body, how to understand product ingredients, and how to decrease odor with products.

Part I: Understand Sweating

Why do we sweat? Why does our skin have pores? Why does that sweat sometimes smell ‘bad’ in certain places of the body, like under our arms?

You are a sophisticated organism with inexplicably complex, intelligent, and powerful systems. Everything that happens in your body — happens for a reason! Sweat, and/or armpit odor, is no exception.

Our bodies have a 5-step process to keep us healthy and remove toxic insults, when we are exposed to a new poison/toxin/stressor. Sweating is one of the first three steps in this process:

  1. Conjugate/bowel movement/liver activity – our liver processes it to make the poison soluble, and we excrete it through the bile and bowel movement. This is like bagging garbage and taking it out to the curb. You should be having consistent bowel movements each day. If you are not, you should make an attempt to increase liver activity (bitter herbs) and bowel movements (coffee enema or increasing fiber consumption).
  2. Urine/kidney. If you remain constipated or did not take steps to increase number 1 due to not paying attention, your body next excretes the toxin through the urine via the kidneys. You can aid the body in this by increasing urine flow by increasing your pure water consumption.
  3. Sweating/lymph. If your body is still having an issue excreting the toxin, the next method your body employs is to excrete toxins through sweating. Fevers are a classic way your body can respond to induce sweating. Traditional cultures always used saunas and sweat lodges to induce sweating.

If you take care of your body using the three methods above, you should be in good shape. If they are not enough, you end up with toxins in your bloodstream and your body has to employ the methods below.

4. Sickness/infection. Your body makes white blood cells…what doctors erroneously call ‘bacterial infection.’ In this situation, there is enough of a toxic load in your body that you have to start generating bacteria which will biodegrade (destroy) the toxins…think of them like garbage collectors. Your body produces these white blood cells, and you experience symptoms, such as fever and increased urine flow to aid in the elimination of the toxins the bacteria are destroying.

5. Antibodies. Your body starts making antibodies. We are told that antibodies help you get over viral infections, but that’s not really accurate — if you’ve accumulated enough toxins in your bloodstream/tissues, your body is forced into making antibodies (neutralizing chemicals) which attach to the toxins so your body can recruit the white blood cells (garbage collectors) and maybe even get rid of them through your kidneys (urine) and sweating. Once your’e in a situation where you’re always making antibodies (if the previous four methods are not able to take care of the toxins), your body is in a chronic state of excessive antibodies / hyper-inflammatory response / autoimmune disease.

Many times we gradually start thinking that our bodies are broken, functioning improperly, and that we need commercial products to ‘fix’ our body. This is what makes you ask fewer questions, and put your trust in the ‘experts’ or manufacturers of the products they want to sell.

Deodorant/antiperspirant companies don’t want you to ask: “why do I sweat?” or “I sweat through ALL the pores in my body….why do my armpits smell, but my neck doesn’t? I sweat through my neck too?”

As you now know, sweating is one of the methods your body employs to get rid of toxins! So, if you’re sweating a lot, first CONGRATULATE your body for doing such a good job!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Secondly, ask yourself if there is a way that you might decrease your toxic load in the first place, so your body has less toxins it needs to get rid of. Areas of lifestyle to consider might include:


  • Are you eating processed seed oils like canola, safflower, soybean, etc or grass-fed animal fats?
  • Are you eating tons of sugar, or high-carb foods that turn into sugar in the body (bread, pasta, corn)?
  • Are you eating conventionally-raised meat and chicken or grass-fed fat, organs, bone marrow and other animal parts?
  • Are you eating substances which should not be ingested, like commercial dyes, chemicals, gums, fillers, artificial and natural flavors, unfermented soy, carrageenan, processed sugar, etc, or are you making food at home to avoid these things and carefully choosing unprocessed sugar and other healthy whole foods?


  • Are you using toxic products on your body, like conventional sunscreen, conventional lotion, moisturizers, makeup, hair dyes, fragrances, and toxic laundry detergent?
  • Are you putting your feet on the ground each day to balance your body’s electrical state?
  • Are you looking at the sun each morning to balance your circadian rhythm and exposing your skin to the sun so your body can make vitamin D hormone?


Part II: understand product ingredients

“Have you ever heard the phrase “Your skin is a mouth”? It may not have teeth or a tongue, but your skin is extremely permeable and able to absorb just about anything you put on it, which is why the administration of drugs and medicines is often through “transdermal” skin patches – since this is up 95% more effective than oral medication.” – Ben Greenfield

It is important to understand that when you buy deodorant, there are two kinds of products:

  • Deodorant prevents odor, whereas
  • Antiperspirant prevents sweating

When you buy “deodorant” it’s usually a combination of those two things.

Read the ingredients to see – the typical substance used to prevent sweating (antiperspirant), is aluminum.

Now that you know WHY you sweat – do you want to use a product that STOPS you from doing so? That is what an antiperspirant does, via aluminum!

There are many harmful ingredients in typical deodorants and antiperspirants, but one of the most toxic (neurotoxic, actually), and which we absorb through our skin when we wear deodorant, is aluminum.  

The mining and processing of aluminum ore is also extremely damaging to our environment, and in aluminum toxicologist expert Christopher Exley’s article in the American Journal of Medicine (Aluminum in antiperspirants: More than just skin deep), he points out that different individuals may absorb and retain more or less aluminum than others, though they are ‘rolling on’ the same amount each day, and that consequences of retaining aluminum in the body should be studied short and long term.   Christopher states: “It is generally accepted that the skin is an effective barrier to the transdermal uptake of aluminum, although this assumption is based on very little published data .”

An Austrian epidemiological study recently published in EBioMedicine (age-matched case-controlled study, involving 209 female breast cancer patients and 209 healthy controls) shows that the use of antiperspirants was significantly associated with breast cancer risk.  Read more about the study here.

You might wonder if the various forms of aluminum are more, or less toxic than another.  You will see differing forms listed, such as:

  • alum
  • aluminate
  • aluminum oxide
  • alumina oxide
  • potassium alum (KAI(SO4)2-12H2O)

According to Christopher Exley, all aluminum compounds/salts should be considered sources of biologically-reactive aluminum (AI3+).  What discriminates them is the rate at which they ‘dissolve’ to release AI3+.  If any manufacturer claims “safety” for their product containing any form of aluminum compounds/salts, they should present the data from the conducted experiments to show (under the working conditions of the product), how much AI3+ is released to the surrounding environment and during what period of time!

Companies are either ignorant, or they are intentionally sticking their heads in the sand and conveniently not conducting experiments or consulting experts like Christopher Exley, or they are intentionally deceiving the public.  You will find very misleading product descriptions, written in an authoritative tone, such as this description found on the Deodorant Stones of America website (they sell the ‘natural’ deodorant ‘salt’ sticks).

“…potassium alum (KAI(SO4)2-12H2O), drawn from bauxite ore.  Bauxite ore is formed by the rapid weathering of granite rocks in warm, humid climate and can be purified and converted directly into alum.  Unlike aluminum, alum is a salt.  If an aluminum-metal compound, such as the highly soluble aluminum chlorohydrate or aluminum zirconium, is used as an antiperspirant, that compound is readily absorbed.”

This substance is, in unarguable fact, a form of aluminum.  Their claim that the compounds are too large to be absorbed makes absolutely no sense.  And it appears that no studies have been done to evidence this claim.  The People’s Pharmacy has a web page dedicated to this topic, containing more than enough concerning information, which led me to seek the expert opinion of Christopher Exley.  And with the recently published Austrian study showing an associated risk with breast cancer, we know deep down there is something very wrong with this picture.

Aluminum may exist in the Earth’s crust, but that doesn’t make it natural for biological life (this includes humans!) to absorb.

Another company literally says their product contains no aluminum, but it is indeed listed in the ingredients section.

There are many other ingredients in commercial deodorants and antiperspirants that are toxic to the body but I won’t cover them in this post.

Part III: decrease odor with products

If you choose to use natural products with no aluminum, remember that you will be using a deodorant (to remove odor) versus an antiperspirant (to stop sweating). Sweating a good thing.

It may take some time to get through this transition, especially if you are not cleaning up your diet.

If after some time you find that you sweat ‘too much’, you might consider very seriously overhauling your diet, if you haven’t already. The Weston A. Price foundation is a great place to start. If you still find that you sweat ‘too much’, you might look into more tailored options, such as working with a naturopathic doctor to see if there are any underlying health signals that might be at play.

When applying alternative deodorant substances, you may find that they need a minute or two to absorb into the skin. Try wearing a bathrobe during your morning routine to allow this drying to take place.

For individuals that have very strong body odor, they find that only milk or magnesia (magnesium hydroxide is what stops odor, vs. magnesium chloride is what people use for topical magnesium supplementation), works for them.

You can buy milk of magnesia very cheaply, but you have to be careful to avoid products with additives. There are two companies that offer pure magnesium deodorants that I can recommend:

  • DeodoMoM on Amazon. I believe this was sold by which is no longer an active site.
  • MoM on People’s Pharmacy. They also offer an economy size, or two sticks with free shipping. This product has several additives (Lithium Magnesium, Sodium Silicate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol), whereas DeodoMoM on Amazon does not.
  • Others put their own in a spray bottle or lotion pump, such as this, but I can’t verify that there is absolutely no additives: GoodSense Milk of Magnesia

There are many others companies that make natural deodorants and there are many substances you can try at home. The rest of this post is dedicated to those.

  • Creams – try putting some grass-fed tallow moisturizer on your armpits (Toups & Co,  PrimalDerma). There are also some grass-fed tallow products with scents and arrowroot powder, like Creatrix Solutions Tallow – Fresh Scent
    Grass Range Fed (no hormones or antibiotics) Rendered Cow Kidney Tallow, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Aluminum Free Baking Soda, Organic Arrowroot Powder, Zinc Oxide Powder (non-nano), and Essential Oils (High Altitude Organic Lavender, and Tea Tree)
  • Powders – these can decrease odor AND help with excess moisture or sweating….corn Starch (non-GMO), arrowroot powder, baking soda, dry powder ‘milk of magnesia’–magnesium hydroxide. Many people don’t need anything other than this – dab one or make a mix.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – dab on.
  • Witch HazelMountain Rose Herbs sells a lovely organic witch hazel with only 14% alcohol content – dab on.  If not working, try adding vinegar to the mix.

More recipes

Magnesium Paste A
I would love to understand why magnesium oil seems to work so well!  Presently, still a mystery…
Makes approx. 1/2 cup / 4 ounce jelly jar

  • 3.5 ounces tallow by weight – about 1/2 cup melted (purchase or render tallow)
  • ¼ C or more of Corn Starch (non-GMO), Arrowroot powder
  • ¼ C or more dry powder ‘milk of magnesia’–magnesium hydroxide. Hydroxide is what stops odor, vs. magnesium chloride, which is what people use for topical magnesium supplementation.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Melt the tallow gently over low heat, then pour into a large bowl and mix in the olive oil and dry ingredients. Allow to cool for about an hour, then whip until frosting-like.  These tallow-based pastes are pretty shelf stable since they don’t have water.

Magnesium Paste B
Makes approx. 1/2 cup / 4 ounce jelly jar

  • 3.5 ounces tallow by weight – about 1/2 cup melted (purchase or render tallow)
  • 2 tablespoons magnesium oil

To Make Magnesium Oil (purchasing is also an option)

  1. Heat water to almost boiling.
  2. Combine magnesium and water and stir until the flakes are completely dissolved.
  3. Add the aloe vera and carrier oil and stir. They will not combine with the magnesium water.
  4. Decant into a container with a pour top spout.
  5. Shake vigorously before use each time to combine the magnesium, aloe, and carrier oils.

To Make the Paste

Melt the tallow gently over low heat, then pour into a large bowl and mix in the olive oil and dry ingredients. Allow to cool for about an hour, then whip until frosting-like.  These tallow-based pastes are pretty shelf stable since they don’t have water.

Vitamin C Water
Mix 1⁄4 tsp. Vitamin C powder w/ pint of water – dab on; then dab on cornstarch.

Citric Acid Water
Mix 1⁄4 tsp. citric acid powder w/ pint of water – dab on; then dab on cornstarch. Only a few drops of these acids under each armpit are necessary. If these acids burn the skin, dilute more.

Alcohol (not rubbing alcohol)
Food grade alcohols: grain alcohol or vodka – non-GMO.  dab on; then dab on cornstarch. If the alcohol ‘burns’ your skin, dilute it with water.

Zinc Oxide (can also use to make homemade sunscreen)
Uncoated, non-nano zinc – buy here: Mix 1 part zinc oxide powder w/ 3 parts water. It does not dissolve; just shake it up to use. You could add cornstarch to it to give it a creamy texture: heat 3 tsp. cornstarch in 1 cup of water, to boiling, until dissolved and clear. Cool and add some to the zinc oxide mixture (about equal parts). Store unused starch mixture in the refrigerator. Only make enough for a month.

Alcohol & Zinc Oxide
This is the most powerful deodorant. Apply alcohol first, then the zinc oxide; then dab on cornstarch.

Please comment with your experiences, and be proud of your body! 🙂

Screen Shot 2017-12-08 at 10.38.52 AM