The unwelcome aroma of body odour is usually due to a combination of factors: the chemicals in your sweat, wastes excreted through your skin and bacteria feeding on your dead skin cells and unwashed clothes. To help you (or someone you know) freshen up, here’s a handy guide to the things that make body odour worse and how to change things for the better.
What makes body odour worse?
Airless armpits Whether it’s caused by exercising, hot weather or fever, it’s not the sweat that makes your body smell. The smell is actually the result of bacteria on the surface of your skin breaking down the sweat secretions. The sweat in your armpits is a particularly bad offender. Produced by your apocrine glands, armpit sweat is thick, oily and rich in proteins and lipids, and it really gets the bacteria going! What’s more, the warm and damp conditions of the armpit are a perfect environment for bacteria to thrive in.
Food and drink It’s unfortunate that some of the most delicious foods and drinks can leave you smelling less than sweet. Red meat, garlic, onions, spicy and heavily processed foods are among the worst offenders. This is because the compounds in these foods have strong odours which are excreted through your skin and sweat as your body metabolises them. Too much alcohol can also have you on the nose the next day.
Hitting puberty Adolescence is the peak time for body odours to waft. This is when your body first starts to release hormones called adrogens, and the apocrine glands first begin to function. In short, this can make you smell. As we age, these glands slow down, which is why elderly people tend to have less BO.
What makes body odour better?
Keep clean If you wash regularly and keep the surface of your skin clean, there’ll be less bacteria around to cause body odour. Have a daily shower or bath with a product like Dettol ProFresh Bar Soap. Once in a while, give your feet a soak in a salt bath – thought to help remove bacteria and keep your feet smelling (and feeling) fresh.
Breathable fabrics You might suspect that keeping clothes clean and dry will help reduce bad body odour, but choosing your fabrics wisely can also help. Stay away from synthetic materials that don’t breathe well and can easily trap moisture and odour. Silk, cotton and wool have better breathability, while specially designed moisture wicking and fast-dry exercise gear is best for when you’re working out.
Roll and spray The antibacterial ingredients in deodorants help mask body odour, while antiperspirants use aluminium salts to block your pores and stop you sweating. Choose both a deodorant and an antiperspirant in one, and you’ll be covered. Removing armpit hair can also help prevent the accumulation of bacteria which can contribute to BO.
Staying dry Parts of your body that are warm and moist, like your armpits, the soles of your feet, the backs of your knees and even your groin, are prime bacteria-growing environments. Staying dry, especially showering and drying off thoroughly after exercise, or at least wiping yourself down with a towel, helps stop the smell.
LIVE WELL RECOMMENDS
Dettol ProFresh Bar Soap
Suitable for everyday use, Dettol ProFresh Bar soap helps to remove germs that can cause body odour, leaving you fresh and protected. It also contains added moisturisers that help leave your skin feeling soft.