Body odour can be quite embarrassing especially when the unpleasant smell is coming from you. Body odour is a common problem that can affect a person’s quality of life. It is commonly believed that sweat causes body odor. However, it isn’t sweat that produces odor but the interaction between sweat and bacteria on the skin that breaks down protein molecules in the sweat resulting in body odour.
Although a person’s hygiene practices mostly determine body odour, body odour can change due to hormonal changes in the body for example, puberty and menopause, the food we eat, obesity, medications, and medical conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease and thyroid disease. Body odor commonly occurs in the armpits, the feet, the groin, the genitals, hair, and pubic hair, behind the ears and buttocks. Try these tips to help you get rid of body odour.
- Taking a daily bath or shower can help prevent body odor by getting rid of the bacteria on the skin that result in body odor. Focus on the areas of your body where you sweat the most, like your armpits and groin. Factors such as exercise, hot weather, stress & anxiety also contribute to body odor. Make sure to shower or bath regularly during hot weather and after exercise. Cleaning your skin with antibacterial soaps can help reduce bacteria in your body.
- Wash your clothes regularly and wear clean clothes. Clothes should be washed after every wear if you have body odour. Wear loose-fitting cotton clothing and underwear. Synthetic fabrics such as nylon serve as breeding grounds for bacteria.
- Shave your armpits regularly. The armpit and pubic hair trap sweat and serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. By shaving your armpits frequently, sweat evaporates quickly, reducing the interaction between sweat and bacteria thus decreasing body odour.
- The use of antiperspirants can help fight body odour by blocking the sweat ducts thus reducing sweat volumes and altering the amount and activity of odour-causing bacteria.
- Foods that contain sulphur and spicy food can cause body odor. Avoid foods that can cause body odor such as garlic, onions, cabbage, and alcohol. Observe which specific foods worsen your body odour and avoid them.
- Stress and Anxiety – Reducing stress and anxiety can help prevent body odor. Stress can lead to body odour by activating the apocrine glands. According to the International Hyperhidrosis Society, the apocrine sweat glands produce the most stress-induced sweat so a person may notice their sweat smells stronger if they are stressed.
- Lemon juice – The acidic nature of lemon juice lowers the pH of the skin making it difficult for odor-causing bacteria to survive on the skin. Simply cut a lemon into two halves and rub it directly in your armpits. Allow it to dry and wash it off completely with water.
- Rock Salt – Rock salt removes excess sweat on the body and eliminates odor-causing bacteria on the skin. Mix lukewarm water with rock salt. Allow it to dissolve and take a bath.
- Baking Soda – Baking soda has alkaline properties which neutralize the acidity in sweat processed by bacteria thus reducing unpleasant smells from the body. Make a paste with baking soda and water. Apply the paste to your armpits and other sweat-prone areas of your body. Leave it for 10 – 15 minutes to dry and wash it off with lukewarm water.
- Neem Tree Leaves – The antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties of neem leaves help prevent body odor. Grind a handful of neem leaves and a cup of water into a paste. Apply the paste to the sweat-prone areas of your body like your armpits. Allow the paste to dry and wash it off. Alternatively, boil some neem leaves in water and use it to bathe daily for best results.
If your body odour does not improve and you notice that you are sweating excessively as compared to previously, or you have night sweats, you may have an underlying medical condition and will have to see a doctor.