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All TopicsForum: Radiation Therapy - Before, During and After → Topic: Deodorant -- What to use during Treatment?

Topic: Deodorant -- What to use during Treatment?

Forum: Radiation Therapy - Before, During and After — What to expect from treatment and ways to cope with side effects.

Posted on: Feb 1, 2009 03:26PM

bradswife wrote:

I will be starting radiation on Monday, Feb. 2nd and want to know from those who have "been there, done that" -- what did you use as deodorant?  The radiation staff recommend only cornstarch.  Did anyone use that alone?  How did you apply it?  Is there any other alternative?  The staff said I shouldn't use any "natural" deodorants (without aluminum) because they usually have fragrance and can cause the skin to breakout.  Any thoughts or insight would be appreciated!  (Thanks goodness it is WINTER so this shouldn't be too troublesome!) Log in to post a reply

Posts 1 - 24 (24 total)

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Feb 1, 2009 03:45PM lexislove wrote:

I was told to AVOID deodarant on the radiated arm. I personally avoided it all together, even a few weeks after rad treatment.

Dx:2007, 2B, Triple+, June 2008:Lupron,Zometa,Tamox.Jan 2010:Poor metabolizer of Tamox switch to Femara.Feb 2010: cyp2d6 test reliable? Back to Tamox. Ooph soon.
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Feb 1, 2009 03:49PM Bren-2007 wrote:

I was told to avoid regular deodorant during rads.  But, I could use Tom's natural type.  There is also a little spray bottle of deodorant with the pink ribbon on it that you can use.  Neither of these has aluminum in it. 

It sure helped me out.  My one radiated arm pit was stinky!!  And it never went back to normal after rads.  I went through my rads in May/June/July. 

I think whatever you decide to do is okay ... just make sure to thoroughly remove it before rads treatment.

 Best wishes to you Bradswife,


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Feb 1, 2009 03:54PM Lories wrote:

I have heard baby powder made of corn starch or corn starch, or Tom's deoderant. 

I already do not have any feeling there from the SNB so will watch for the stinky pit....

Dx 12/19/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 10/15/2011 Hormonal Therapy 03/01/2009 Femara (chemical name: letrozole, class: aromatase inhibitor) Surgery 01/05/2009 Lumpectomy in one or both breasts: Lumpectomy in my right breast Radiation Therapy 02/01/2009
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Feb 1, 2009 05:23PM vhqh wrote:

I had an allergic reaction to Toms.  What I discovered is the 100% aloe acted as an deodorant, I started rads in the heat of August and had no odor problem at all after I started using aloe.

IDC, er+/pr +, her2 +++, stage IV
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Feb 1, 2009 05:44PM , edited Feb 1, 2009 05:45PM by bee5467

bradswife --

Welcome, sweetie.  My radiologist strongly recommeded just plain corn starch.   I was thinking, "Oh crap."  But it worked really very well.  Almost perfect.  And that was in July.  

vhqh -- I also love aloe for just about everything!  I only tried corn starch.  I'm sure your suggestion is top notch.

Dx 11/18/2007, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIIA, 6/18 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 1, 2009 07:05PM AllieM22 wrote:

Wow--this is great. I have been using tom's of maine (lavender scent) and it works ok...not great, compared to the aluminum stuff. My husband tells me if it's fine and I am not stinky but I'm afraid he is being nice. I will have to try the cornstarch or aloe. :)

DX 9-17-08, IDC, stage 1, grade 1, 1.5cm and 4mm, ER/PR+, HER2-, 0/3 nodes
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Feb 2, 2009 10:48AM bradswife wrote:

I haven't purchased any 100% pure aloe yet... but I might have to try it as a deodorant when I do get some!

Dx 10/24/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Feb 2, 2009 10:52AM klp wrote:

I used the Tom's deoderant..worked fine. I would apply after each radiation treatment and use Emu oil on my breast and SNB scar. Finished 33 radiation treatments and doing fine.

Lumpectomy,SNB, 33 rads Oncotype DX 5...no chemo!!!! Started Tamoxifen and stopped almost 3 years later.. Dx 10/10/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 3, 2009 03:25PM Wndalina wrote:

I hated the Toms, but found Crystal in my hospital pharmacy - like 3.99 - and I loved it and used it throughout treatment - finished the end of Nov.

Good luck!

Wendy Dx 8/5/2008, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Feb 7, 2009 01:26PM RoseNChocolate wrote:

Hi all......... Well it has been  5 years for me.. but I have been through rads and I used.. cornstarch mixed with a little baking soda .. ..It works like a charm..I didn't stink and didnt sweat .. much. :-)

I know they use to use cornstarch to keep baby bottoms dry..

Give it a try.. 

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Feb 7, 2009 01:44PM konakat wrote:

I used Toms of Maine too.  I used it for years since it won't stain blouses, etc. - I read in Glamour magazine that models loved it for that reason.  :-)  This was before a lot of the anti-perspirants were reformulated to not stain.  It handles stinkiness OK, not as great as anti-perspirants because it doesn't stop you from sweating (the aluminum in anti-pers does that).  So Toms and a shake of cornstarch took care of it pretty well.

As a side note - I use Toms of Maine toothpaste.  Cinammon flavour.  I was stunned when I found out that some toothpaste, especially those marketed to kids, contains some sugar! 

Elizabeth's Mantra: When in doubt, eat cake. When you haven't a clue, add ice cream. Elizabeth's Mets: Liver, bones, brain (yuck), and lungs (more yuck). Dx 5/2007, ILC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 13/19 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Feb 7, 2009 04:26PM JulieC wrote:

I used cornstarch in the beginning - wanted to follow the rules.  I used a fluffy makeup brush to put it on.  Also used Tom's of Maine a little further into treatments.


Dx 3/25/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Feb 17, 2009 04:42PM amd wrote:

I used no deodorant under the radiation side arm as per my radiologist.  Used a little cornstarch due to the heat in Florida. Always felt like I smelled like sour aloe during tx. As soon as tx was over used Thai Stone that you wet first and use underarm and have had no skin irritation.  It seems to work really well. Finished rads in November. 

Dx 8/18/2008, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 18, 2009 11:56AM , edited Feb 18, 2009 11:58AM by Roya

Lavilin is excellent.  You only apply it once every 5 - 7 days.  This product is also safe and made of natural herbs.  It is made in Isreal but is sold worldwide....even on Ebay.  It can be found in most health or natural food stores in the USA. 

I would apply it on Sunday night then shower the next morning.  When you first apply it there is a thin white film since it is a cream but after you shower, there is nothing there....yet it is still working for you and you can't see, feel or smell it.  I would be odor free during the week for my 5 days of radiation treatments and would have to apply nothing until the next Saturday  or Sunday.  This is the same as not using deodorant at all. It does not cover odor but eliminates it by killing the bacteria that cause it. I had the approval of the radiologists.

I have cut and pasted a bit about it here:_______But you can find it online.


A single application of Lavilin, eliminates odor for up to 7 days!

  • Eliminates perspiration odor at the source by killing odor-causing bacteria.
  • Safe deodorants - do not interfere with bodily functions.
  • Alumimum and alcohol free.
  • Contains Arnica and Calendula - known for their anti-bacterial properties.
  • Chamomile - Soothes skin.
  • Clinically and dermatologically tested and found to be effective

Believe! Dx 5/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Feb 19, 2009 10:39AM koshka1 wrote:


I used the "crystal" liquid deodorant... it worked really well and was very gentle on my skin.

It was also on the list provided to me by my Radiologist.


Dx 12/2007, IDC, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 19, 2009 02:02PM dmh2418 wrote:

I used Tom's at first but it felt like a glue stick on my underarms.  Then I found a liquid roll on of Crystal and loved it.  It was much easier to put on since it was liquid and didn't have to rub my skin too much.  I didn't have a reaction to the Crystal or Tom's and only had a slight rad rash on my chest, nowhere near my armpits.

Dx 6/20/2008, DCIS, Stage 0, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Feb 20, 2009 12:59PM bradswife wrote:

I'm the one who started this discussion... in the meantime, I've started treatment and found that if I use some aloe or RadiaGel on my underarm and use plenty of cornstarch, that seems to work for me.  I put the cornstarch in an old, thin sock and just "poof" it on!  At first I didn't use enough cornstarch and I noticed some odor by the end of the day... but now that I am more generous, neither I nor my family notice any odor.  Simple and inexpensive.  Just thought I'd share.  :)

Dx 10/24/2008, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/10 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Feb 22, 2009 09:16AM SusieMTN wrote:

Question, are using aloe from the plant or something like an aloe jelly from a health food store.  Rads are somewhere in my future and would like to know so I am prepared.  Thanks in advance!

When I grow up I STILL want to be an old woman.....Mets and ALL! Dx 7/22/2008, ILC, 6cm+, Stage IV, 2/3 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Feb 22, 2009 05:28PM vhqh wrote:

I used 100% aloe gel that I bought at WalMart.

IDC, er+/pr +, her2 +++, stage IV
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Feb 24, 2009 04:40PM Armadillo wrote:

i had 39 rads and used cornstarch only; i smelled great.  avoid over the counter deodorants because of the minerals that are used.

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Feb 24, 2009 04:41PM Armadillo wrote:

also use Ivory Soap!

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Feb 24, 2009 04:43PM Armadillo wrote:

PS  I had lumpectomy and used cornstarch under the affected and unaffected breasts to  help with sweats and moisture.  Really helped.

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Feb 27, 2009 09:32AM socalgal44 wrote:

I used Alra Non-Metallic Deodorant (recommended by a friend's radiation oncologist in Atlanta) and it worked very well for me.  And I continue to use it to avoid aluminum.  Can be ordered from the website www.alra.com .

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Mar 16, 2009 02:01PM caligrlof68 wrote:

I've been using that spray bottle of deodorant with the little pink ribbon on the bottle. I got mine at walmart for around 4 dollars. I've been using it since my mx on 2-25 and no smell so far. I start rads on 3-23 and hope to continue using it throughout treatment.

Dx 8/20/2008, ILC, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 1, 7/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-