Having body odor is normal and more common than you think. Typically, people notice that their body develops an unpleasant smell when they sweat. This is why most individuals suspect their perspiration is the main cause of body odor.
However, it isn’t completely true. Sweat alone is odorless. It’s the bacteria present in the sweaty parts of your body that produces a foul smell.
When you sweat, the bacteria break down specific proteins found in your sweat into butyric acid. This acid stays on your body and is the root of the stinky scent.
Apart from the bacteria on your skin, another contributor to body odor is your sweat glands. For instance, apocrine glands release sweat every time your body temperature rises and when you’re under stress.
These glands are located in certain areas of your body including the underarm, groin, and pubic area—which can explain why odor develops in these areas but not on your forehead.
Even if body odor is natural for humans, it can still be a cause for embarrassment. To save you from getting caught in an awkward situation, here are some tips to get rid of body odor.
Select Clothing Made of Breathable Fabrics
While sweat isn’t the main culprit, its presence allows for the odor-causing bacteria to proliferate on your skin.
As such, reducing the sweat your body produces can help eliminate the stinky smell. One way to do this is by wearing garments made from breathable fabrics like cotton, so your body feels cooler.
Compared to polyester, nylon, and rayon, the natural fibers of cotton allow air to pass through. It also helps sweat to evaporate quickly so you can reduce the development of body odor.
When exercising or engaging in physical activities, wear clothes with fabrics that won’t trap sweat against the skin. The moist environment is perfect for odor-causing bacteria to thrive.
You can also try wearing antimicrobial leggings and tights. These garments feature antimicrobial properties that are resistant to bacteria, so wearing them when you are sweaty can reduce your chances of developing body odor.
Pick the Best Underarm Product for You
Since most cases of body odor occur due to the sweat produced by the apocrine glands, it’s natural to notice a distinct smell coming from your underarms.
Fortunately, there are products you can use to keep the odor at bay. For example, deodorants and antiperspirants eliminate bacteria on your armpits.
They also mask body odor with a more pleasant scent and can minimize the sweat your body produces.
If you don’t perspire a lot but often get body odor, use deodorants. But if you are prone to sweating a lot, get an underarm product that serves both as an antiperspirant and a deodorant.
In case over-the-counter products aren’t enough to combat body odor, consult your doctor. They may suggest getting a prescription antiperspirant or deodorant to address your concern.
Take a Shower Every Day
Keeping your body clean is also an effective way to minimize bacteria on your skin and keep you smelling fresh.
So, it’s best to shower at least once a day and pay special attention to the parts where body odor is most present, like your armpits and your groin.
Also, shower immediately after working out or engaging in activities that make you sweat profusely to reduce developing body odor.
Change Your Clothes Daily
While showering daily can help keep your body clean and odor-free, you also need to regularly change into fresh clothes.
You don’t want your newly-cleansed body to come into contact with the bacteria that may be lingering on worn garments.
Additionally, the butyric acid your body releases when you perspire can remain on your used clothes and cause them to stink.
It will be challenging to cover up any funky smell with cologne or perfume because the fragrances will disappear eventually. Instead, change your clothes every day and wash them in between wears.
Add Detergent Boosters to Your Laundry Load
You may find that some clothes continue to smell bad even after you have washed them. This happens when laundry detergent is not enough to completely remove the butyric acid sticking to your clothes.
If this is the case, you can wash your clothes again and use a detergent booster like baking soda or distilled white vinegar to completely eliminate odors.
Detergent boosters are used to improve the cleaning ability of detergents, so they are more effective at removing odor-causing bacteria.
Boosters also help condition hard water or water with excessive minerals so the detergent can properly clean your clothes. Using baking soda, for example, enhances the detergent’s performance if you’re using hard water.
On the other hand, adding distilled white vinegar to your laundry’s rinse cycle removes any detergent residue that can trap dirt in the fabrics and contribute to the funky smell of garments.
Adjust Your Diet
What you consume can also affect the smell of your perspiration and cause body odor. Regularly eating spicy and pungent foods affects your body chemistry and can cause strong body odor.
These foods can include garlic, onions, curry, and spicy peppers. By reducing or eliminating these foods from your diet, you can improve the smell of your sweat.
While having body odor is completely normal, it can be embarrassing when the scent is strong and noticeable to others.
Fortunately, there are different ways you can try to reduce it and keep it from settling into your clothes. If you continue to have a strong and unpleasant body odor, talk to your doctor about treatment options.