If you’re reading this, chances are you’re the parent/caregiver of a child or tween and you’ve started to notice that they’re dealing with body odour and/or sweating. We get it, no one wants their child to be self-conscious about these issues.
First up, please can I reassure you that there’s no ‘right’ age to start using a deodorant. We have customers who are just starting school. Using the old adage about popcorn popping at different rates, so too do kids’ bodies develop at different times.
We get a lot of queries from parents asking questions about their kids and deodorant usage, so I thought I’d write a blog covering the topic.
Sweating is a vital process, our bodies use it when you’re hot, when you’ve been exercising and also when you’re experiencing intense emotions/feelings like anger and nervousness.
A bit of a science lesson
Here’s a quick science lesson for you. There are two types of sweat glands. The eccrine glands are all over the body and they produce what I’ll call ‘cooling’ sweat to cool you down when you’re hot. This sweat is just made up of water and salts.
The apocrine glands are found only in your groin and armpits. In contrast they produce a sweat that is thicker and full of proteins and fats. This is also the ‘emotional’ or ‘stress’ sweat that I mentioned earlier. Due to the make up of this type of sweat, this is why it’s more likely to create an odour. This explains why body odour is limited to certain parts of your body.
This type of sweat doesn’t actually smell. The odour only happens when this type of sweat has a chemical reaction with the bacteria living on your armpit skin.
Puberty and sweating
As a guide, body odour & sweating are signs that your child is starting to move into puberty. Increased sweating is one of the signs of puberty as the sweat glands become more active during this time.
Having said that, in my opinion there are a number of things that could be playing a part (*not a doctor, just an interested observer*) I’ll talk about these more in a bit.
What can I do about my child’s body odour?
There are heaps of quick wins here:
- Good personal hygiene is key. Encourage them to have a regular bath/shower and to gently clean their armpit skin while they’re at it.
- Wear natural fibres (e.g. cotton) close to the skin. These are breathable and allow air to flow through them.
- Launder clothes regularly. Lots of schools favour synthetic sports tops now and these make it harder for the skin to breathe. Also bacteria/body odour have the tendency to linger on clothes (especially synthetics) so if possible it pays to wash things frequently.
- Encourage them to drink water and (they’re going to love this one) eat as much fruit and vegetables as possible.
- If you think the sweat is due to stress/nerves, then it would be great if you could work with them to explore stress reduction exercises.
- Use natural products on their skin.
What deodorants should a child use?
- I don’t know if you know this, but aluminium based antiperspirants temporarily plug up the sweat glands to stop the sweat from reaching the skin’s surface. Conversely, natural deodorants use plant and mineral powders to mop up the sweat on the skin’s surface. This still allows their skin to breathe and for the sweat process to take place. I'm obviously biased in favour of the natural option!
- UItrella Natural Deodorants are a paste that they can rub into their armpits. They would just need to use a pea sized amount every morning and that will keep them fresh for the day. One of the reasons we opted to use pouches was because girls told us how self-conscious they felt if their school mates saw them applying deodorant at school. The pouches are sized so that they can fit into a school uniform pocket if your child wants to carry them around and use them discreetly.
- Ultrella Natural Deodorant Sprays come in a handy 100ml rPET (recycled PET) bottle. The Hello Aloe scent is fresh and unisex, and is generally more popular with boys. The Bright & Blueberry spray is a fruitier, sweeter scent and girls generally go for this one.
- The pastes include the IBR-Snowflake® ingredient that reduces sweat. The sprays don’t have this ingredient, but they’re still really effective natural deodorants. They contain a prebiotic which is like food for the good bacteria on the skin. There’s also a live vegetable enzyme, kind of like a probiotic, and this works to crowd out the ‘bad’ bacteria which is causing the body odour.
- If you are truly concerned about your child’s odour or sweat production, then my recommendation would be for them to use our CalmPits Detox Mask. This will reset the clock on the armpit skin. It works to pull impurities to the surface. It just takes 10 min and they can use it before they go in the shower, then just wash if off once they’re in. It’s got a beautiful rose essential oil in it, so if they don’t want their teacher to comment on them smelling like a bunch of flowers, then I would suggest using it at night time so the aroma has dissipated by morning. Also, by using it at night time, it can act as part of a self care ritual and gives your little one a reason to slow down for a bit and maybe listen to music or read a book. *rather than wanting to play Fortnite for 72 hours straight which is what we’re dealing with at our place at the moment.*
Hope this is helpful. If you have any questions, please get in touch with us at email@example.com or DM us on our social channels @ultrellaco
*It's important for me to point out that I do not have medical background. My experience comes from a number of years selling natural deodorants and sharing stories with 1000s of parents in that time.*