So you want to switch to natural deodorant and personal care products, but you've heard a multitude of horror stories from your besties about their embarassing trials and fails that left them smelling ummm a tad ripe at their hot yoga class or by the time they've hopped off their treadmill. This was my story and my embarrassing tale, until I decided to put an end to this nonsense and finally come up with a formulation for athletes and yogis that is strong enough to work all day yet safe, natural and doesn't contain any body-harming ingredients.
You've by now heard that you have a microbiome both inside and out. Yes. Indeed you do! Biologists call this habitat the skin microbiome. And—even though it might gross you out to think of it—hair, oil, sweat, and even dead skin each play a critical role in shaping that environment.
Think of it this way, sweat and the oil produced by your skin combine with the top layer of dead skin to form a slightly acidic coating known as the acid mantle. The acid mantle serves to protect our skin from wind, cold, UV rays, and disease. It also helps to limit the amount and type of bacteria that can live on the skin.
Make sense? OK. Hold onto that for a moment. Moving on to body odour now.
Where Does Body Odour Come From?
While aluminum-based antiperspirants try to block your sweat by plugging your sweat ducts, body odour is actually caused by certain types of bacteria feeding on the amino acids and other compounds present in that sweat. As the "bad B.O." bacteria feed, they produce an unpleasant odour that come sometimes smell like onions, garlic or other funky smells your body may emit.
But not all bacteria are stinky! Lots of different species of bacteria co-habitat peacefully in your skin microbiome. In fact, many kinds of bacteria contribute to your overall skin health.
So, controlling body odour naturally seems seems simple enough. Disrupt the "bad B.O." bacteria and supercharge the healthy bacteria. Some natural deodorants use probiotics, specific cultures of lactobacillus, to introduce new bacteria to the skin. It’s the same approach as eating yogurt with healthy bacterial cultures to promote gut health.
There’s one problem with this approach: each person’s skin microbiome is different, based on an individuals' nutrition, genetics, and overall health. How do you know if the probiotic strains in your natural deodorant are compatible with your own unique skin environment? You don't.
But don’t lose hope. There’s another approach. What if, instead of introducing new “good” bacteria, you could help increase the good bacteria already living on your skin? This is where prebiotics come into play.
Magical Ingredient #1: Prebiotics to the rescue!
Prebiotics are a soluble fiber found in many plants that act as a food source for beneficial bacteria. You probably already consume it in many of the foods you enjoy every day including onions, garlic, potatoes, artichokes, beans, bananas, oatmeal, and honey.
One particular type of prebiotic, known as inulin, is converted into short-chain fatty acids by the good bacteria found on your skin. Why is this a good thing?
Well, remember the acid mantle? By feeding on prebiotics, not only does the good bacteria thrive and grow, crowding out the "bad B.O." bacteria, but it also converts inulin into fatty acids which are the good bacteria that contributes to your skin’s acid mantle. And that acid mantle helps to zap the "bad B.O." bacteria while at the same time creating a perfect environment for the good bacteria to thrive!
You’ve just neutralized body odour with an ingredient found in vegetables! Deodorant doesn’t get more natural than that.
Magical Ingredient #2: Magnesium Hydroxide
There are many types of magnesium, a naturally occurring mineral that our body needs, yet most people are actually magnesium deficient through diet alone. Magnesium in the body plays a vital role in a healthy functioning body, especially for the muscles and nerves. Magnesium hydroxide (also known as brucite) also reduces stomach acid, and increases water in the intestines which may induce defecation. Magnesium is usually taken as an oral supplement.
In our context of natural deodorant, we are talking about using it as an ingredient to help with body odour.
What does magnesium hydroxide do in natural deodorant, you ask?
It is used to absorb wetness and to control the pH of natural deodorant thereby making it a more effective way to balance the acidity/alkalinity in your skin and provide better protection for fighting those "bad B.O." bacteria we spoke about earlier.
Magical Ingredient #3: Activated Charcoal
When you hear the term “activated” charcoal, it’s not the same thing as the charcoal you’d buy for your BBQ grill. It’s charcoal that’s been heated to a high temperature and combined with gases. Charcoal is highly porous and absorbs bacteria and toxins (it’s said to absorb 100-200x its weight in impurities), which is why it makes a great ingredient for deodorant. It actually can be just the solution you're looking for when it comes to finding a super strength natural deodorant that goes the distance with you!
Side Note: Does Activated Charcoal actually Detox your Pits?
Just switching to a deodorant that contains activated charcoal won’t detox your armpits but you can do an entire armpit detox ritual to get a deeper detox effect (more on this topic another day).
Will it stain my armpits or clothing?
Don't let the light grey colour scare you off. It goes on almost transparent and while I would still suggest you wait about five minutes before getting dressed, just like all of our natural deodorants, you shouldn't have an issue with staining.
So there you have it folks. We have shared three magical natural deodorant ingredients with you so that you understand the benefits of finding a natural deodorant that contains prebiotics, magnesium and charcoal for added bacteria-fighting power.
As always with natural, make sure there is no "fragrance" added and that the scent comes only from plant based sources such as essential oils.
Want to know more about Clean Kiss?
At Clean Kiss we are passionate about creating natural skincare and body products that you can feel good about using yourself, and for your whole family.
From health-conscious, active mamas, to busy teenagers and dads, our customers love the experience of using our freshly-scented products that not only leave your skin feeling amazing, but ACTUALLY work.
Clean Kiss was founded by Family Natural Health Expert, Jodie Pappas, out of her own personal quest to find natural products for herself and her family that ACTUALLY worked. After first creating her signature natural deodorant, she went on to produce a full line of skincare and body products.
Each product is created in small batches using chemical-free formulations that have been recognized with several awards, has developed a loyal customer base of Clean Kissers, and has gained some international media attention by Business Insider, InStyle Magazine, The Toronto Sun, Breakfast TV Toronto, CHCH Hamilton, Global TV and more!