Very high temperatures, extra humid weather, and lots of physical activity that gets you all sweaty can have a rather embarrassing effect on you— body odour.
Mostly during the hot and dry seasons, people’s bodies tend to ooze off rather unpleasant smells from their armpits and intimate areas.
This unpleasant smell which is produced by bacteria on the skin that break down the acids in your sweat is referred to as body odour.
Medics would refer to this condition as bromhidrosis.
Interestingly, some people who have body odour (or BO) a lot of times may not be conscious of the fact that they have this uninviting aura about them.
So, they often feel embarrassed and even get depressed about it when they do find out.
How Do I Know If I Have Body Odour?
Just to be sure and double-check that you aren’t actually suffering form BO, you can take the following steps to check your body odour status:
- Do people avoid coming close to you, or giving you a hug? You might have body odour if people avoid coming near you and would do anything just to NOT give or receive a hug from you.
- Do you have sweat patches around your armpits? It is entirely normal for people to sweat around the armpit area, however, sweat patches around your armpit could indicate that you have BO.
If you happen to sweat a lot and have sweat patches under your armpit, a quick check will be, when you take off your clothes at the end of the day, sniff the under-armpits to check for any unpleasant smells.
- Do you keep your armpit hair grown and bushy? Another quick check you can do is to check if your armpit hair is overgrown.
Some persons feel more comfortable keeping their armpit hair grown, rather than clean shaven – and that’s OK by the way. However, full grown armpit hair can lead to body odour developing.
How? You might ask. Quite simple! Human hair and skin are known to house thousands of fungi and bacteria which live on their surface naturally. These natural flora tend to multiply astronomically in places where hair is overgrown and unshaven— such as under armpits, and genital area—and release unpleasant odours.
Does What I Eat Have Anything To Do With It?
A number of foods can cause or increase body odour. According to researchers, some foods–especially those containing sulphur–as well as meats, fish, spices and even alcohol can cause BO.
Plants such as garlic, cabbage, cumin and cauliflower that are known to have very strong aromas are best eaten in moderate amounts. This is because, experts say that about 20 minutes after stepping on crushed garlic, you are very likely to taste it in your mouth.
In the same way, when you consume any of these foods, the smells are likely to ooze out of your skin.
Alcohol and coffee too are also culprits in this. When you take an alcoholic drink, the alcohol is disintegrated in your system into another compound known as acetic acid.
Some of this acid is further broken down in the body, but a lot of is still goes out through your skin and lungs –the reason why breathalyzers are used to detect alcohol in drivers.
Do Medications Also Cause Body Odour?
A number of medications have been known to cause or induce BO.
A class of drug particularly guilty of this are the antidepressants. Antidepressants are usually recommended for patients with mental health conditions such as depression, Schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.
These antidepressants contain the substance bupropion hydrochloride, and may also induce excessive sweating in some persons.
Another class of drugs that are known to cause body odour as a side effect are cholesterol-fighting drugs –drugs that reduce cholesterol levels in the blood.
These are drugs taken mostly by diabetics and people suffering from high blood pressure and hypercholesterolemia.
Antiseizures are medications prescribed for patients who have seizures, such as those who suffer from epilepsy.
Some of these medications have been known to induce body odours.
Fish Oils (Cod Liver Oils/Vitamins)
Another very prominent culprit and cause of BO are fish oils (cod liver oils and similar type medications).
These medicines, which are usually vitamins are rich in mega-3-fatty acids – beneficial to pregnant women–but also leave behind very unpleasant odour.
Also worth mentioning, certain medical conditions such as diabetes, and liver or kidney diseases can cause one’s body to ooze certain characteristic smells.
What Can I Do About The Body Odour?
If one is really serious about getting rid of body odour, one has to focus on eliminating the cause of the problem –whether bacteria, personal hygiene, medication, or habit.
Once the cause of the smell is eliminated, then one has to ensure to keep the skin surface (especially around the armpits and genital area) dry and clean.
Here are a few personal care tips to follow that will help fight BO:
Shower Often: One of the basic ways to fight body odour is by having a regular bath with warm water. If you engage in physical activity, sweat a lot, or on hot days, shower thoroughly more than once.
This will prevent sweat from sticking to your skin and causing bacteria to grow and multiply, causing BO.
Shave Regularly: For some people, they feel a lot more comfortable keeping the hair on their armpits and genitals grown. However, you stand the risk of having BO when you keep a lot of hair in these sensitive areas.
Shaving regularly helps prevent sweat from sticking to the hair and skin in your armpits and genitals and allowing bacteria to fester, causing odour.
Use Antibacterials: Not all soaps and bath fluids have antibacterial properties. Antibacterial soaps and washes help to get rid of bacteria on the skin surface.
If you want to fight body odour, ensure to check and use only soaps/bath liquids that are labelled “antibacterial.”
Use Deodorant: Antiperspirants and deodorants help to mask the smell of sweat and also reduce the amount of sweat produced.
Usually applied around the armpit area, they are quite effective in preventing BO.
Wear Clean Clothing: In order to avoid developing body odour over time, its always advisable to not repeat clothes worn previously.
This is even more important if you sweat profusely and want to wear the same clothes again. Socks should not be repeated if you have foot odour and should be washed frequently.
Reduce Spice Intake: What you eat or drink can take a toll on how you smell. Spices and herbs such as garlic and onions may tend to make you sweat more and ooze certain odours.
Also, thinks like coffee, alcohol and tobacco may also increase your sweating and cause BO. Advisable to reduce your intake of these.
Wear Natural Fibres: What you wear can also determine how you smell! Clothing made of material sourced from natural fibres such as cotton, silk or wool are more breathable.
This means, when you wear clothes made from these material, your sweat will evaporate faster and easier than when you wear synthetic fabric.
Keep Dry Always: After shower or rigorous physical activity/exercise, thoroughly dry off your skin, especially the areas where you sweat the most using clean towel.
This will help prevent any bacteria from festering in the moist created.
Other Things You Can Do In Extreme Cases
In some extreme cases of BO, experts have recommended procedures such as surgery, liposuction or Botox injection.
These measures, however, are only to be taken under the recommendation and supervision of a certified health professional.