Keeping sweat at bay: 7 natural alternatives to deodorant for your teen
If run of the mill products have proven harmful to your teenager's sensitive skin, here we list a few natural alternatives.

The human body produces a maximum amount of 10-14 litres of sweat every day. 

Without giving it any thought, we instruct our teens to follow societal norms in keep odor in check. 

But for some, using the regular options either leads to skin sensitivity – triggering itchy and dry skin – or due to a pre-existing condition, renders them completely useless. 

Also read: Is your teen plagued by excessive sweating?

And then there are the concerns about harmful ingredients like aluminium compounds, parabens and propylene glycol commonly found in products - some linked to causing breast cancer, kidney/liver damage and even infertility. 

This leads many to reject the use of deodorants and antiperspirants, sparking alternative ways of dealing with sweat. 

We searched the web, and found a few natural ways you can mask smelly scents and keep fresh. 

Apple cider vinegar


Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a natural antiseptic, and kills bacteria due to the enzymes found in raw, unfiltered and organic ACV. 

Its strong smell only lasts a few minutes. You may need to reapply throughout the day depending on activity level. 

How to use: 

  • Soak facial cotton pads in undiluted ACV till damp
  • Apply generously to the underarms 
  • Allow to dry

A word of caution: using the raw, unfiltered and organic kind is an absolute must. 

Essential oils


If you're looking for a more pleasant or sweet smelling natural alternative, essential oils are ideal. 

Again reapplication is key for maintaining freshness. Use oils with antibacterial properties, such as : 

  • cypress
  • geranium
  • grapefruit
  • lavender
  • lemon
  • lemongrass
  • rosemary
  • tea tree
  • thyme

How to use: 

In a small bottle, combine half a cup of distilled water with 10-15 drops of essential oil of your choice. Shake this up and apply throughout the day.

Testing the solution on a small patch of skin first would be best before applying to the underarms. 

Witch hazel


Made from the North-American shrub Hamamelis virginiana, witch hazel is a natural astringent, which means it's excellent at keeping skin dry.

A great antifungal that also removes excess oil and moisturises skin. 

How to use: 

  • Dampen a facial cotton pad with the Witch Hazel, and swipe under the arms until moderately wet. 
  • Allow to dry 

Baking soda and coconut oil


The odour absorbing qualities of baking soda, along with the antibacterial properties of coconut oil is another easy-to-make alternative. 

Using these ingredients individually is possible but is either too scratchy (baking soda) for some, or too greasy (coconut oil) for others. 

How to use: 

  • 6 Tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 4 Tablespoons of baking soda 

Combine until the mixture becomes a soft cream and apply to underarms as needed. 

Lemon Juice


Using lemon is possibly as natural as it gets. It's as simple as cutting a slice of lemon and dampening the underarm skin with the juice. 

The citric acid in the fruit is what keeps odour-causing bacteria at bay. It's also rich in antioxidants like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C.

More of a deodorant than an antiperspirant but promises to keep your natural scent pleasant. 

Be careful not to apply directly after shaving. 

Milk of Magnesia


Milk of magnesia, or magnesium hydroxide, is usually used as either a laxative or an antacid, but is also an effective deodorant. 

The alkalinity of the milk-like liquid keeps odour levels neutral but (as with most of the items listed here) will not prevent sweat. 

It's worth noting that there are a variety of flavours (since it's usually ingested), and sticking to the original version (flavourless) is recommended. 

How to use: 

  • Pour milk of magnesia into a clean, empty roll-on container
  • Apply and allow to dry



This one is more of a method than an ingredient. Hair provides the perfect environment for sweat and odour to fester.

Removing underarm hair regularly will go a long way to increasing the impact of the natural deodorants listed here.


Have you tried any of these natural alternatives before? What was the result? Any items missing from the list above? Send your comments and suggestions to and we might publish them. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.  

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