PEOPLE’S PHARMACY: Cure for underarm odor?

Q: I’ve had bad underarm odor for more than 50 years, and it is a terrible social problem. Then I read your column about rubbing milk of magnesia on the armpits. I tried it, and it’s a miracle.

I no longer use any other deodorant and, most importantly, I no longer have body odor. Thank you for a simple solution for this complex problem. I have been B.O. free for eight weeks.

A: Milk of magnesia seems to work quite well as a deodorant for most people. Because it contains magnesium instead of aluminum, people who have trouble with antiperspirants usually tolerate it well.

Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition. They can be reached at peoplespharmacy

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4 comments Add your comment


December 10th, 2009
7:22 am

Underarm body odor is caused by bacteria growing in the warm, moist area under the arms. Wash the armpits with a strong anti-bacterial solution twice a week. The solution should remain on the skin for at least one minute to be effective. It will eliminate the odor for up to three days. Use Betadine, Hybercleanse, or some other hospital-strength anti-bacterial solution. I’ve been doing this for 20 years and never any body odor.

Joe B

December 10th, 2009
11:24 am

Alcohol also eliminates bacteria. I put some in a spray bottle and spray the armpits before I shower and after. I’ve been doing this for 25 years. Also works on foot odor so long as it’s bacteria and not caused by mildew in the shoes.
I can’t imagine putting mild of magnesia under my arms.


January 4th, 2010
2:27 am

I can’t imagine putting alcohol under my arms

[...] Editor’s note: Milk of Magnesia is also recommended by readers. [...]