Why I Use Magnesium Oil for Deodorant

DIY Magnesium Oil Lavender Deodorant

Body odor can be so embarrassing. I can think of plenty of times I have have found myself avoiding human contact because I felt self conscious about my smell. I love the feeling of sweating out toxins after a hard workout, but I do NOT love the smell that can often come along with it.

How you smell can be an indicator of a mineral deficiency, not a deodorant deficiency.

Similar to toothpaste, according to the FDA, deodorants and antiperspirants fall into the category of “Cosmetics That Are Also Drugs”[1]. You have probably heard by now about the dangers of aluminum in antiperspirants and their possible link to breast cancer. In this article, Chris Kresser looks at the research and finds the links are not quite so clear, but says that there IS clear evidence that aluminum can be absorbed into breast tissue and that shaving greatly increases the absorption of aluminum. He goes on to say that:

“Estrogen plays a key role in the development of breast cancer, and one study demonstrated that aluminum can interact with estrogen receptors on human breast cancer cells…There is also speculation that the blockage of sweat glands caused by aluminum-based antiperspirants could lead to the dermal absorption of abnormal levels of sex hormones and pheromones, which could contribute to cancer development.”

While today aluminum seems to be more of a contributing factor to breast cancer than a direct cause, there is a very clear link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease. Aluminum is the most abundant neurotoxic metal on earth. Very little aluminum is needed to produce neurotoxicity and small amounts over time accumulate in the brain[2]

The first product that came up in my search for deodorant on Amazon lists the following ingredients:


Active: Aluminum Chlorohydrate. Inactive: Cyclopentasiloxane, Isopropyl Palmitate, Stearyl Alcohol, Mineral Oil, Talc, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Fragrance (Parfum), Steareth-100, BHT.

The EWG labels the risks of Cyclopentasiloxane as the following: Other HIGH concerns: Persistence and bioaccumulation; Other MODERATE concerns: Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive); Other LOW concerns: Ecotoxicology, Endocrine disruption, Neurotoxicity[3]

The three types of alcohol in the ingredients above, while considered to be of low concern by the Environmental Working Group all disrupt the bacteria of your underarms. By stripping the good and the bad bacteria it leaves your underarms defenseless against harmful bacteria. A study done on the on the microbiome of the underarm recently found that people who do not use deodorant or antiperspirants that had the highest amount of Corynebacteria bacteria, which is responsible for some bad smells, but also helps to defend against pathogens. Staphylococcaceae (one of the most common microbes found on our skin) was the next most common and are considered to be beneficial as well.

Why Magnesium?

It is incredibly difficult to get adequate levels of magnesium in our diet due to our depleted soil even if you are eating a real food diet. While you can take a supplement internally the best method for optimal absorption is transdermal (through your skin) via salt baths, gels, lotions or oil. Magnesium oil is my favorite of these options for daily use. One warning however: if you are deficient in magnesium, when you first apply the oil it can sting. Try spraying a small amount first in an area that is not super sensitive and won’t be rubbing against fabric for your first time.

When I bought my first bottle of magnesium oil and sprayed it on my lower back to relieve cramping…it burned! I moved to spraying my forearms until the stinging stopped, about 2 days (It didn’t sting the entire 2 days! Just for a bit after application). Then I moved to spraying under my arms and found myself free of stink! I didn’t even realize how well it was working until it ran out. I could go without it (using my back up crystal deodorant) if I had a low activity day, but I found that if I drank coffee, particularly more than one cup, the stink would be back strong. That all made sense when I found out that while coffee and chocolate contain high amounts of magnesium, caffeine actually depletes our magnesium stores.

Sally Fallon writes in Nourishing Traditions that low levels of magnesium is one of the causes of heart disease and goes on to say that magnesium “is essential for enzyme activity, calcium and potassium uptake, nerve transmission, bone formation and metabolism of carbohydrates and minerals. It is magnesium, not calcium, that helps form hard tooth enamel, resistant to decay. Like calcium and chloride, magnesium also plays a role in regulating the acid-alkaline balance in the body. High magnesium levels in drinking water have been linked to resistance to heart disease.”[4]

Sarah Ballantyne, PHD and author of The Paleo Approach says in her book that magnesium “is important for neuromuscular contractions, and is necessary in the production of testosterone and progesterone...Magnesium is also a cofactor in methylation and is necessary for detoxification functions… Higher levels of dietary magnesium have also been correlated with decreased systemic inflammation in postmenopausal women."[5]

Katie over at Wellness Mama has written a lot about magnesium, I highly recommend you check out her articles, especially this one on magnesium deficiency.  

Magnesium Oil Deodorant


1 bottle of Magnesium Oil

(optional) ½ tsp of Essential Oils

If you choose to add an essential oil (I like adding lavender), pour oils directly into spray bottle, or choose a smaller spray bottle, like an old hand sanitizer spray bottle and add just a few drops of oil. Apply to underarms after showering. 

[4] Fallon, Sally; Enig, Mary. Nourishing Traditions:  The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (p. 42). National Book Network - A. Kindle Edition.

[5] Ballantyne, Sarah. The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease, Heal Your Body (Kindle Locations 2423-2427). Victory Belt Publishing. Kindle Edition.