How To Make Your Own Bone-Healthy Version Of This Common (And Toxic) Personal Care Product - Save Our Bones

If the record high temperatures across the western United States are any indication, summer has definitely arrived. These are the infamous “dog days” of summer, and it can be a challenge to stay cool and dry.

Conventional deodorants contain a lot of toxic chemicals that can harm your bones. And as you’ll read today, the concept behind “antiperspirants” is not healthy at all, even for your bones.

Unfortunately, non-toxic deodorants are hard to find. And many brands touted as “natural” contain many of the same toxic ingredients.
Today, you’ll read about the worst offenders and why they harm your bones. In addition, I give you an easy natural deodorant recipe that you can make at home in minutes, to keep you smelling fresh without damaging your bones.

What are These Chemicals and Why Are They Used in Deodorants?

Simply put, these chemicals are used because they achieve the results manufacturers are looking for (without regard to their effects on your health) – scent, texture, and prevention of wetness and odor. There is a long list of toxic ingredients, so let’s take a look at the ones that can hurt your bones most.


If you’ve visited the Save Our Bones site before, or if you subscribe to our regular e-mails and newsletters, you’ve read about the dangers of aluminum and how it damages your bones. This metal is one of the primary ingredients in antiperspirants, because it blocks your pores, preventing sweat from escaping. (More about antiperspirants later.)


Found in a shockingly large number of personal care products, these synthetic chemicals are used as a preservative. Parabens have been shown to disrupt the endocrine system, and they are easily absorbed through the skin. A 2006 illustrates this – after topical exposure, parabens showed up in the urine samples of every participant in the study.1


Another texture enhancer, phthalates are used to give deodorant a creamy consistency. Some classes of phthalates interrupt the vital communication between cells known as calcium signaling, as shown in a study.2 Other phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and impair the function of certain neurotransmitters. Consider this in light of the complex intercellular communication that occurs with bone remodeling.

Propylene glycol

This industrial chemical is used in car antifreeze and to de-ice airplane runways. It’s petroleum-based, giving it a slick texture that manufacturers use to give deodorant sticks that characteristic smooth feel and to enhance skin penetration. Propylene glycol is toxic to your kidneys and liver, key organs in keeping the body free of toxins. When these organs are damaged or taxed due to toxic overload, poisons accumulate, wreaking havoc on your body and your bones.

In addition, all of these chemicals are acidifying. As “Savers” already know, an acidic body weakens your bones, because calcium and other alkalizing minerals are pulled from the bones to neutralize the environment.

The Skin Under Your Arms Absorbs These Harmful Chemicals!

As I write in the Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse, the 7-day osteoporosis drug cleanse, “The body’s largest organ is the skin…As the skin eliminates toxins, it also absorbs them, so you should consider the chemicals in your skin care regimen.” Of course, this also applies to the ingredients in your antiperspirant and deodorant.

Antiperspirants vs. Deodorants

An antiperspirant works to stop you from sweating under your arms. Deodorants simply fight odor, not wetness. Most of the time, you’ll see these two in combination. But antiperspirants are of particular concern, because, as I write in the Osteoporosis Fresh Start Cleanse, “Sweating is healthy because it detoxifies your body and clears your pores of acidic residue.”

This is especially true under your arms, where the apocrine glands are located. These glands produce a lot of sweat, which is why your armpits are so much wetter on a hot day than other areas of your body.

You don’t want to stop this important detoxification process, yet it’s just not socially acceptable to show sweat under your arms. To alleviate this dilemma, here are some…

Hot Weather Tips to Minimize Underarm Sweat

  • Loose, lightweight clothing keeps air circulating, allowing sweat to evaporate before it shows.
  • Natural fabrics like cotton and linen are very breathable – good choices for hot summer days.
  • Underarm pads can help – you can purchase conventional ones, or use an adhesive ladies’ feminine liner on the inside underarms of your shirt.
  • Thin layers can work even in the summer. A very thin cotton t-shirt worn under a nice blouse can absorb wetness before it shows.
  • Light colors reflect the sun’s heat rather than absorb it, keeping you cooler.

Using a natural deodorant free from toxins is the best way to allow your body to produce the sweat it needs while eliminating odor. As I mentioned earlier, these can be hard to find. So why not make your own?

Do-It-Yourself Bone Healthy Deodorant

Here’s a simple recipe for homemade, bone healthy deodorant. This one is made with the fresh scent of lime, but you can use just about any essential oil. Among my favorites are lavender, lemon, sandalwood, and mint.


– 2 tablespoons coconut oil
– 1 tablespoon baking soda
– 3 tablespoons arrowroot powder (this is a thickening agent you can usually find in your grocery or health food store. Unlike cornstarch, it doesn’t encourage yeast growth)
– 5 drops lime essential oil
– 2 teaspoons aloe vera gel (optional)


Combine all ingredients, mix well, and store in a labeled airtight container. If it’s difficult to mix, you can melt the coconut oil first.

To use, scoop out about ¼ teaspoon and rub it gently under your arms, allowing the coconut oil to soften.

Till next time,


1 Xiaoyun, Ye, et al. “Parabens as Urinary Biomarkers of Exposure in Humans.” Environmental Health Perspectives. 2006 December; 114(12): 1843-1846. Web.
2 Liu, P.S., Tseng, F.W., and Liu, J.H. The Journal of Toxicological Sciences. [2009, 34(3):255-263] Web.;jsessionid=rZdodFtvtcBr5cQMNAqD.12

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Marge Pritchett

    Sensitive to baking soda (burning), is there an alternative ingredient?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You could try arrowroot powder or cornstarch, Marge, if baking soda irritates your skin. 🙂

  2. Tricia

    Thank you Vivian! My husband and I will try this soon. He is currently using Lavilin, but I think I can convince him to try something new 🙂

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I hope you are successful, Tricia!

  3. Isabel Anaya

    Thank you 4 you’re healthy home made recipe. I was wondering if you have a bone healthy hair dye?

    • ella willis

      Thanks for all you do to help others is baking soda the same as using alumilum

      can you post a natural hair die to cover grey hair thanks be bless

  4. heloisa piccinelli

    I just got your Save our bones program. I’m still learning about it. SO I have a couple of questions for you, Vivian. I eat onefruit between meals. How does it work in terms of combination of foods?
    Supplements: I started with TrueOsteo. Do I still need all the supplements?



  5. Wendy

    Your under arm deodorant calls for coconut,which I am allergic to.
    Any other suggestions?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You may have to experiment a bit, Wendy! Perhaps you could use another type of bone-healthy oil, like olive oil, and keep it in the refrigerator to solidify it. Just a suggestion!

  6. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel)

    Hi! Vivian,

    I’ve Been Trying To Use Natural Things. Things I Can Use Around The House.
    I Made An All Natural Shampoo With Baking Soda, And A Conditioner Using Apple Cider Vinegar. Now I’ll Try Your Suggestions On Making An All Natural Deodorant. And I Also Want To Try All Natural Household Items, As Well! Thank You Very Much For Sharing Your Articles With Us!


    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thank you for sharing that, Leslie!

  7. Brenda


  8. Kathryn

    I wrote a question about two weeks ago. Where do I find the answer??????

  9. Judy

    I just called the company again who makes the Crystal deodorant. If you care to check this out for yourself, call 1-800-829-ROCK. They have a recorded message when you press 2, that explains the alum. One of the statements is that the size of the mineral is too large to be absorbed by the body. Not everything that you read on line is true, so I guess you have to weigh it for yourself. If a company makes a statement like this, it makes them liable. Life is choices, so which should you believe?

  10. Linda

    Hi Vivian,

    I have just recently bought but have not used yet, Crystal Deodorant Stone that says the only list of ingredients is “Natural Mineral Salts” and that it does not contain Aluminum Chlorhydrate. Is this a safe product to use since it does not list Alum as an ingredient and no aluminum? It also says it contains no harmful chemicals, oils, perfumes or emulsifiers. Would like to know what you think. Thanks you

  11. Sandy Hall

    My friend gives herself tiny injections of a medicine called Forteo. She was told this will make her bones strong.
    We met in rehab, she with hip replacement and me with broken leg and arm.
    Any thoughts about Forteo?

    • Customer Support

      Sandy, Vivian has written many articles on Forteo. Simply type “Forteo” into the search box at the top of the page click Search. Then you’ll see a list of everything Vivian has written on this drug.

  12. Cathy Goodrich

    A recent blood test indicated that Alkaline Phosphatase (normal range 30-115U/L)was at 124. All tests of the liver were in the normal rang. Since this may indicate a problem with the bones, what does it mean and will this be an impetus for the Dr to continue to insist that I take biophosates. I was diagnosed with Osteopenia of the hip and osteoperosis of the spine last year. Am avoiding biophosphates and I am currently doing the densercise program. I need as much education as you can provide in this area. Thank you.
    Cathy Goodrich

  13. Renee

    Vivien, thank you for this information. I use plain baking soda and it lasts all day. No complaints and no stains on my clothing.

    • Kathy

      Just plain baking soda? Is that all. What makes it stick to your skin.

  14. Rosa Belmont

    I loved this comment and will apply it to my daily self care regimen
    Thanks Mrs Vivian

  15. Pearl

    Well, none of the antiperspirant or deodorant manufacturers would ever have liked me as I have never been swayed by all their advertising & brainwashing, I have never used either, like so many things i feel the ones who say you need all this stuff are the ones who will make money out of it. Just like shampoo, I new nothing about shampoo untill i left home & went out to work when suddenly it was, “horror!! shock!!! you use soap on your hair!!!!! that’s terrible, you must change instantly ” of course at that age i did even though i was totally puzzeled as to what was wrong with soap, as I had always been told what beautiful & silky hair I had.
    After a lifetime of using shampoo & continual problems with my hair, i have now gone back to using soap & guess what, now the comments are again “what beautifull & silky hair you have” lol
    After all, people have suvived very happily for centries without all that stuff, & all their hair didn’t fall out because they didn’t use shampoo either.

  16. Judy

    I can’t believe it! I went on line to check this out, because I have been using Crystal spray for years, thinking I was doing a good thing for myself.
    Several years ago, I contacted the company that makes the Crystal Body Deodorant Spray, because I wanted to know if the alum, listed as an ingredient, was an abbreviation for aluminum. I was told it was just plain “alum”. Alum is used when making canned pickles, so I thought, what could be wrong with that? I feel I have really been deceived. I an waiting for a call back from them now.

    Do you really need the arrowroot powder, since the coconut oil hardens anyhow? I happen to have all the other ingredients on hand.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Unfortunately, the “alum” used in pickling is a form of aluminum, too, usually potassium aluminum sulfate. The aluminum makes the vegetables crisper by hardening their cell walls. I understand your feelings on discovering this! But now you know an alternative; there’s no need to be exposed to toxins in your deodorant. 🙂

  17. Patsy

    Vivian, I used coconut oil in my deodorant for years but it left my clothes dingy so I stopped using the oil and just use equal amounts 1/4 c. each of soda and arrowroot with 1/2 t. Sweet Orange essential oil and
    store it in a toothpick holder that has larger holes than a salt shaker.
    It’s very convenient to shake on my hand to apply and it is already dry. No odor no matter how much I perspire. I will try the lime essential oil.
    I do love coconut oil for just about everything even toothpaste.

  18. marvellous

    Hi Vivian,

    A friend recommended that I use Milk of Magnesia which is basically magnesium hydroxide as deodorant.

    It prevents odor while still allowing perspiration which is natural and healthy.

    What is your opinion concerning this option?

    • Kathryn

      My husband uses magnesium oil and it works great. Better in fact than anything else he has ever used.

  19. Karen Shanower

    More on baking soda plus cornstarch: I keep it in recycled spice jars with the shaker tops. In the past I’ve even decorated the jars. Karen

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      More good tips! Thanks Karen. 🙂

  20. Karen Shanower

    For years I have mixed equal parts baking soda and cornstarch to use as deodorant. No one has “complained” about me yet. Karen

  21. Judy

    Deodorant vs. antiperspirant:
    I have found a roll on deodorant that I really like. It is very, very effective! It is made by Kiss My Face, and is the “Sport” kind. It really works well vs. others that I have tried. It is paraben free, phthalate free, SLS free, and poly glycon free. However, it does contain potassium alum. My question is — is potatssium alum bad for you? I thought I had found a product that was aluminum free, but I don’t think I have. Considering so many bad things are NOT in this product, would it be detramental to my health if I continued to use it even though it does have pottassium alum in it? Please answer this as soon as you can. Thank you.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Judy, potassium alum is potassium aluminum sulfate. And as you know, aluminum is not good for your bones!

  22. Charlotte

    Thank you! I was just thinking about this as someone else I know had come up with her own recipe for a deoderant and it had the very same ingredients except for the scent. She had used lavender and I am allergic to that so I was delighted to read yur recipe. I have printed it off to make and try! Thank yu for all your wonderful advise and research!!

  23. diane

    Can the deodorant be stored in a cupboard or does it need to be kept cold.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You can store it at room temperature. 🙂

  24. Edith Cunningham

    Good Morning Vivian:

    I was interested in your comments about toxic deoderants and anti-perspirants. For about ten years I have been using nothing but straight bi-carbonate of soda (baking soda) rubbed in generously after showering. And, I have not lost a single friend!

    Actually, I find that at the end of the day I am much fresher and cleaner than I ever was when I used those smelly chemicals. As long as one wears natural fibres, I find this recipe perfect. Such a nice natural, clean feeling and absoutely no odour at any time.


    Edith C
    Oakville, ON

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Thanks for the tip, Edith, and for the laugh! 😀

  25. Anne Syme

    I find the simplest and most effective deodorant to be a 50/50 mix of baking soda and cornstarch. I keep this dry mix in an empty moisturizer jar with a powder puff that sits on top and simply dust it under my arms after showering. It lasts all day, even during the hottest Aussie summer weather.

  26. Terry

    Thank you!!! I must admit that this is one of those things that I just overlooked. It is so automatic to pick up the “stick” and not even think about it. I’ll be looking a little more carefully at my products and thanks about the info on the individual toxins. My nephew had to have a large number of lymph nodes removed from under his arm and while we may never know if this caused his cancer, it seems it would be extremely unwise at this point for him to use any of these OTC’s. I’ll pass this on to him. Thanks again!!!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Terry, I am glad to have raised your awareness – that’s what Save Our Bones is all about! I hope your nephew is fully recovered.

      • Terry

        Last test was clear…Keeping a close watch! Thanks!

  27. Art

    I use deodorant from Young Living Essential Oils, as Dr. Young is adamant about no chemicals in anything he sells. (use member number 125598)It has worked well for me the past several years. Art

  28. Gerri

    Do it all with coconut oil. I use it in my veggie drink. I keep a nice looking cosmetic jar of it in the bathroom. I use it on my face, on my hair , on my teeth and as a deodorant. All just as it comes out of the jar. Thus far no one has complained that I have an odd odor. Try it

  29. Rosemary Lambert

    I use a product called “Herbal Magic” by out of New York that has witch hazel and baking soda with no artificial preservatives. I get it at my Health Food Store and like it quite well.

    I wonder if this is OK to use, as it’s easier than making it? Vivian’s comments on this would be appreciated.

    • Kathryn

      I use it too and it is super and works.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Just check the ingredients, Rosemary, and see if they measure up! If it’s truly non-toxic and natural, then you’re lucky to have found the product. 🙂

  30. Marie

    I also use a Crystal Deodorant Stone – it is made from crystallized natural mineral salts that kill odor causing bacteria. I find it does not work too well on very hot weather, but this is what I mostly wear. What do you think?
    It also attracts the mosquitoes less, since it does not have any scent.

    • E.

      Mineral/crystal deodorants are still aluminum, and quick internet research shows it’s probably absorbed by the skin.

    • Lynn

      I also use the solid Crystal salt, but found that they also make a mineral salt roll-on that seems to offer a bit more protection on really hot, humid days.

  31. Lilo

    Thank you very much for this D0-It-Yourself recipe for a healthy deodorant, which is alaso easy to make.
    Always love your informations and self-help tips on bone health.
    Lilo xxx

  32. Rod Othen

    Hej Vivien,
    I always enjoy reading your articles and follow much of the advice given. Can you tell me the difference in terms of healthy use, between Coconut fat for cooking and coconut oil, which often solidifies. It is easy to get coconut fat here in Sweden but I haven’t come across extra virgin coconut oil even in health shops. I,also, have not come across any explanation of the differences on the Internet. For example, whether or not there is a difference between the health attributes of both.
    Your assistance would be much appreciated.

    • Patricia

      Hi Rod. Here in Denmark there are several brands of organic, virgin coconut oil (the very best:)) – in some supermarkets and all healthfood shops. The one I like best is by Cosmoveda (imported to Denmark via Surprised if it’s not available in Sweden. It starts softening at about 20 degrees Celsius and turns liquid by about 26 degrees – otherwise it’s solid. There is also one (still organic) where the coconut aroma/flavour has been removed, for those who don’t like it (hard to understand!!), so be aware of that one (can’t remember the name). Happy hunting!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Good question, Rod! Coconut oil is a blend of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats. The saturated fat in coconut oil is largely made up of medium-chain fatty acids that remain liquid at room temperature. In natural coconut oil, the percentage of medium-chain fatty acids is low enough that the oil stays solid at room temperature. If manufacturers add more medium-length fatty acids to the coconut oil and raise the percentage, it will be liquid at room temperature. That’s the difference between the two. 🙂

      This recipe calls for the natural coconut oil which is solid at room temperature – not unlike the consistency of a deodorant stick!

      • Jonathan

        Hi Vivian,

        I just add coconut oil to my hot oatmeal every morning, that alone ensures a good supply of natural oil through every oil gland on ones skin. Since I started doing that I no longer have a problem with foot odor, seems that coconut oil has anti bacterial properties, it’s also a natural sun-tan lotion; no peeling skin since I started using it. I also find that my skin is really smooth and the film of oil is restored within minutes of showering or hand washing. I started eating it when the weather was really cold, no more cold feet after the first day or so.

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