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Question from 02138Jeff

Hi Debra,

Great site! Thank you and your community for all the excellent insight and advice!

I’m hoping you can help me with a question I have regarding natural deodorants.

I gave up using deodorants containing aluminum several years ago and have used several natural products since with varying degrees of success.

Recently Tom’s of Maine created a new deodorant that claims long lasting 24 hour protection. The ingredients include Zinc Ricinoleate to absorb oder. Is Zinc Ricinoleate safe or is Tom’s just replacing one unsafe metal(aluminum) with another(zinc)?

Thank you for your help!

Debra’s Answer

Tom’s of Maine has a good explanation of zinc ricinoleate at, which is consistent with explanations I have found elsewhere.

“Zinc ricinoleate is a zinc salt of ricinoleic acid. The zinc source for the material is zinc oxide while ricinoleic acid is a purified fatty acid from castor seed oil, a vegetable oil obtained from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant.”

It’s not a toxic metal. In fact, many people have zinc deficiency and often take it as a dietary supplement.

As long as we are talking about deodorants, I stopped using deodorant of any kind about six months ago (maybe more). Not one person has recoiled from my body odor or mentioned it. While on our recent trip to Germany, my husband asked me, “Can I use your deodorant?” and I laughed and told him I hadn’t been using deodorant for months! Now if HE doesn’t think my underarms smell without deodorant, as close as he is to me, I think I don’t need deodorant after all.

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