A futuristic new bodysuit could tackle body odor with bacteria woven into its fibers.
Dubbed “Skin II,” the leotard-like garment has integrated live healthy probiotic bacteria that, when activated by sweat, reportedly reduce body odor, encourage cell renewal and improve the immune system.
“It’s not the sweat on your body that causes body odor, it’s the bacteria,” designer Rosie Broadhead told Reuters. “So we’ve incorporated healthy bacteria into the textiles to enable a healthy microbiome which will help to reduce your body odor,”
A graduate of London’s Central Saint Martins University, Broadhead hopes revolutionize the interaction between fabric and skin with her probiotic fabric.
But she’s also interested in the material’s environmentally conscious aspects.
“My project offers an alternative to chemicals such as antibacterial finishes on clothing and cosmetics,” Broadhead told Newsweek. “Due to the deodorizing effect the probiotics have on the body, it may reduce the amount of time you need to wash your clothes.”
Our modern-day obsession with cleanliness makes it difficult for healthy bacteria to survive, so Skin II represents a major shift for sustainable fashion.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that, in sufficient amounts, are beneficial to the body. Probiotics exist naturally in some foods—like pickles and some kinds of yogurt—but can also be taken as dietary supplements.
Broadhead worked with Belgian microbiologist Chris Callewaert of Ghent University to develop the fabric. Callewaert, who has done extensive research on the causes of body odor, provided her with probiotic bacteria commonly found on the ski
“A lot of focus is on the fashion industry’s unsustainable practices concerning waste and environmental impact,” Broadhead tells Newsweek. “However, much less is known about the use of chemical finishes on our clothing that can impact our bodies.”
She says she primarily wanted to create clothing that was good for the skin, but with minimal environmental impact, “which meant using technology that had a deodorizing effect.”
“By working with probiotics that are common on our skin I have developed ways to add function and performance to our clothing in a natural way,” she adds.
Broadhead and Callewaert plan to market Skin II, with a full sportswear and Broadhead hopes to design a sportswear range with the same technology.