Knowing why you have a bad body odor and how to avoid it is only the first step in preventing its unsightly odor. So before we discuss prevention, let’s talk about what exactly it is and why it can happen.
The reason people experience body odor can vary from person to person. Factors such as diet, stress levels, and genetics all have an impact on how much body odor you’ll produce or the degree to which it will be unpleasant-smelling. But no matter what kind of body odor you’re dealing with, some strategies can help you reduce it. These are some ways that can help reduce unwanted body odor naturally without the use of synthetic products or harsh chemical products.
The Symptoms of Body Odor
When the body temperature rises, the body compensates by increasing the rate of sweating, and that process produces some perspiration. We all have our smells, and here’s how it works.
As our body heats up, the body’s sweat glands—namely, the eccrine glands and the apocrine glands—produce sweat that evaporates and cools us off. It is mostly our eccrine glands, located throughout the body and opening up directly to the skin’s surface, that produce sweat. Sweat is often the highest on the palms of our hands, the soles of our feet, on our forehead, and armpits. The sweat from your eccrine glands contains salt, protein, urea, and ammonia in low amounts.
On the contrary, these glands are found near the groin, breast, and armpit regions, and produce a secretion that is high in protein and lipids and is often associated with body odor. Body odor is produced when sweat is broken down by bacteria into fatty acids. The key thing to keep it simple, there are two major factors involved in determining what sweat glands are activated. When your body temperature increases, either due to being in a warm environment or a lot of physical activity, the nervous system will signal the eccrine glands to produce sweat to cool you down. On the other hand, if you’re feeling stressed, that can lead to an increase in cortisol, adrenaline, and other stress hormones, which can activate your apocrine glands to produce sweat.
Is It Normal to Have Body Odor?
So not to worry, under most circumstances body odor is normal. Do you think you sweat more than others? There may be a lot of things going on that cause your body odor. This can be genetic, depending on which types of bacteria you have and the products you use.
The pits of those who use deodorant or antiperspirant have a reduced population of staphylococci and Corynebacterium compared to those who use neither. Most people will experience normal body odor now and then, but it’s always a good idea to see a healthcare professional if you notice any changes.
These are some ways that can help reduce unwanted body odor –
1) Stay Clean/ Shower Regularly
Body odor is caused by the interaction between bacteria on your skin and sweat on your skin. The solution is to shower regularly and wash the body often. Of course, this isn’t an infallible solution, and you may have some trouble with it in warm climates and if you are very active, but it is worth a try.
2) Towel Off After Showering
As I am sure you are aware, most bacteria love warm and moist places. Additionally, by wiping off after showering, you will also be able to cut down on how much of your skin’s natural oils are lost and replenish them, which can help to further reduce that body odor smell. There is a bit of evidence that suggests some people may have a genetic propensity toward smelling more than others. If you fall into that category, wiping off after showering could be extremely helpful in reducing unwanted smells.
3) Reduce Stress
Everyone’s bodies produce sweat, which is why it’s not necessarily true that body odor is an indicator of bad hygiene. However, there are things you can do to reduce the stress that in turn can help to reduce overall sweating and unwanted body odor. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and practice meditation or yoga—these are all simple ways to help reduce stress levels in your life. If these don’t help as much as you hoped they would talk with your doctor about prescription-strength anti-anxiety medications.
4) Consider applying some underarm protection: Deodorant
Have you considered deodorant as a way to combat excessive sweating? They have something in common: we apply them at the start of each day. They are often used interchangeably, but deodorant and antiperspirant have quite a few differences. Antiperspirant blocks sweat production by keeping sweat out of the glands while deodorant inhibits bacterial growth by chemically altering skin compounds to mask odors.
5) Wear a fresh change of clothes
Even though we all know how effective clean clothes are for avoiding body odor, do you know the science behind why this is so?
The bottom line, dirty clothes tend to carry more bacteria than clean clothes, so if you want to reduce your exposure to these little nasties, you’re better off wearing clean clothes.
6) Know that some foods might cause body odor
The theory is that some foods may make body odor worse, like sulfur-containing foods like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, and garlic. Processed and fried foods can lead to body odor as well.
7) Prevent infection with probiotics
All of us have trillions of good bacteria living in our gut. They’re responsible for keeping us healthy by helping to digest food, synthesizing vitamins, and more. These microbes (also known as probiotics) also help protect against some types of infections because they release chemicals that make it harder for other bad bacteria to stick to your intestines. Having a healthy balance of these microbes will reduce excess body odor.
8) Prevent Your Feet From Getting Wet
That disgusting, overwhelming foot odor. I’m sure you can all relate. smelly feet occur when bacteria, resulting from perspiration, combine with moisture in socks and shoes.
In addition to a multitude of other factors, high-stress levels, being premenstrual, and the type of shoes you wear can contribute to your feet smelling.
Here are a few things you can do to combat stinky feet: wearing dry and clean socks, sprinkling baby powder in your shoes to reduce wetness, and using a foot deodorant or spray.
9) Dress in clothing that can be permeable
If you want to avoid or minimize body odor, opt for light, natural and breathable fabrics like cotton. Fabrics that encourage airflow, like mesh and lighter-weight materials, are also a good choice. Looser fabrics will keep your body more at ease. In the hotter months, it’s best to steer clear of ultra-tight jeans and leggings, as well as heavy and overly constricting fabrics like nylon and satin.
10) Always Change After a Workout
After you work out, be sure to change into fresh clothes. Otherwise, your clothes will grow bacteria from the sweat and you’ll end up with a body odor.
When you get back from the gym with no time to shower or change, stash some wet wipes in your bag for quick, guilt-free cleaning.