How to Get Rid of Armpit Odor

Smelly armpits
Smelly armpits | Source

Smelly Armpits - Embarrassed?

Did you know that Smelly armpits are not just a social embarrassment but are directly connected to your health? Well, if you did not, here is some information that you would be interested to know. Scientists in Japan recently discovered a distinct link between the breast cancer-producing gene and smelly armpits. While smelly armpits could well be your indicator to health, it would be good to know how to get rid of armpit odor in a healthy manner. You may have handled this problem differently until now, your outlook may not remain the same after you are done reading this article. Smelly armpits can be temporarily fixed with an antiperspirant or a deodorant spray, but you may have to work inside out if you need to get rid of armpit odor without compromising your health. Are you interested?

Why do Armpits Smell Bad?


Poor hygiene’, would be the first thing that comes to mind. I am not so sure of this anymore, although I took this answer to be the final truth on the matter before I understood the information that I am now presenting to you. My roommate at the university was finicky about personal cleanliness, but no matter what she did, she would smell like a stale onion when she came back from her classes at the end of the day. She would moan about how embarrassed she was; and we pumped her up with more antiperspirants, deodorant sprays and roll ons, but the result was the same. I have since then wondered and researched why some armpits really smell bad.

Common sense would tell us since our underarms remain closed most of the day, preventing adequate air circulation, we sweat more and smell bad. This is true, poor circulation makes our underarms hot and sweaty, especially when we wear tight clothes or are physically active. Sweating is the body’s natural response to heat. As sweat evaporates from the skin, it cools down the body. Sweat by itself is odourless. The smell comes from the interaction of the bacteria on the skin with the proteins and other elements in the sweat particles. Poor hygiene only causes the bacteria to increase, along with the smell.

Armpit odor
Armpit odor | Source

Sweaty, Smelly Underarms

You may have another question in your mind – Why does each person smell differently?

The composition of the sweat differs from individual to individual and so does the bacteria that interacts on the skin of each individual.

Although it does help to maintain high levels of personal hygiene, it has been clear that armpit odour tends to present itself as a problem mostly as individuals attain puberty and reach adulthood.

Our hormones seem to have a part to play in body odour. Another important fact we ought to keep in mind is that sweat glands also function as an excretory organ on our bodies. The various toxins that we accumulate in our body through a variety of metabolic processes are excreted through the skin. Excessive sweating could also be the result of emotional upheavals or complicated medical conditions. Sweat produced by the apocrine glands, which are located in the armpits contains proteins and fatty acids that make sweat thick and milky yellowish in colour. This is what leads to the stains that we sometimes find on clothing.

Did you know that body odor was associated with poor helath

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Why are Armpits Smelly?

You are what you eat! I am sure that you have heard this phrase a million times over.

It has been known that sulphurous foods like onion, garlic and strong smelling spices tend to be excreted in the sweat.

Studies also show that a diet which is low in fibre and high in processed or refined foods, tends to increase body odor.

Red meats and hydrogenated oils also tend to makes your sweat reek of them.

The interaction of chlorophyll on sweat seems to have some beneficial effect. Foods those are rich in chlorophyll especially fresh herbs like rosemary, parsley, cilantro, mint, thyme, etc., decrease body odour. Consuming more aromatic herbs helps reduce body odor.

It is also been found that certain health conditions like - gastro-intestinal problems, problem in the liver, kidney problems, diabetes etc., tend to increase body odour due to poor digestion and also due to intake of medication.

Fish odor: If you have a rotting fish odor emanating from your armpits you may have a different kind of problem. The 'fouling fish smell' is a rare condition found in people who are unable to digest trimethylamine an organic compound with a fouling fish ordor. Trimethylamine is produced when meat or plant based food take time to digest and start to decompose in your digestive system. A diet that contains huge amounts of eggs, fish, liver, etc, which contain choline and carnitine, could be responsible for such a smell.

Armpit odour is often associated with our perception of sexiness in the other gender. It has been found that people tend to rate individuals with different odours differently. Some studies have shown that individuals with different immune genes have been considered as more sexy. Biologically having an offspring with different immune genes makes the offspring stronger and able to defend himself/herself effectively against potential pathogens. Other studies have also found that ovulating women tend to prefer the smells of behaviourally dominant males. Some of these studies seem to suggest that like the other species, humans also naturally choose the fittest when it comes to mating preferences.

Indirectly these studies seem to suggest that body odour helps us sniff out the weakest or the sickest. The recent study in Japan by Ishikawa and colleagues have found that body odour could be a new tool for prediction of breast cancer. This study discovered a distinct link between the gene that produces breast cancer and excessively smelly armpits and wet, sticky earwax.

How to Get Rid of Armpit Odor?

Scientific research so far seems to point in one direction – that to be odour free we need to be healthier. A healthy life style of eating a balanced diet, rich in fibre and pursuing an active life could be an answer not only to armpit odour but also to our general health. A change in diet, which includes fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs that are high in fibre and reduction in consumption of all processed and refined foods seems to be our answer to health and smelling fresh.

Wearing clothes that are made of natural fibres such as silk, cotton, or woollen fabric helps better air circulation. This allows the body to remain cool, sweat less and smell better. Natural fibres also help to absorb sweat and cause fewer odours.

Removing body hair: Removing body hair especially in those parts of the body that tend to smell bad is another excellent way of reducing armpit and body odour. Body hair provides more surface for the sweat to cling on to and for bacteria to thrive on, removing body hair lessen the bacteria and body odour.

Although the first plan of action to combat body odour would be to grab an anti- Perspirants or a deodorant, this is only a way to mask the symptoms than fixing the problem itself. Antiperspirants are unhealthy as they prevent the sweat glands from excreting toxins. Deodorants on the other hand do not prevent you from sweating but could help prevent the increase of odour causing bacteria. Natural deodorants that mostly contain herbal extracts, ammonia, and baking soda help inhibit the growth of bacteria on the skin. Washing your underarms with soap more often and applying deodorants more frequently could help reduce strong armpit odour.

Drinking more water and reducing the intake of sodas and other aerated drinks could also help reduce armpit odour.

Although armpit odour seems to be more of a social embarrassment, it may have far reaching health repercussions too. It would be good to treat the malady from the roots and not just symptomatically. This would help you live healthy and smelling good. Do not take your body odour lightly again.

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Comments 27 comments

MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

I went on a diet that was high in vegetables and nuts. I lost a lot of weight, but I also noticed that I didn't have as much trouble with underarm odor (something I fought with on a regular basis). Your suggestion about eating foods that are high in fiber is right on the money. This is an excellent hub with lots of helpful information!


Umna Safdar profile image

Umna Safdar 4 years ago

I am one of the sufferers of bad armpit odor and that really is embarrassing, your Hub provided me eith pretty much information. Thank you!


krsharp05 profile image

krsharp05 4 years ago from 18th and Vine

Very interesting article. I was recently diagnosed with breast tumors which are being removed in two weeks and subsequently, I've noticed lately that I feel as though I can smell myself all the time. I wonder if that is the connection?


Francesca27 profile image

Francesca27 4 years ago from Hub Page

I know all about this...I used to ride the New York City trains. Garlic in the morning, garlic in the evening, garlic smelling people all day long! Interesting paragraph about the odor possibly from a health issue. Good hub!


sofs profile image

sofs 4 years ago Author

MarleneB, That is a great endorsement. I appreciate the fact that you took the time to read and comment. I am sure that the changes that you made in your diet is worth it, in more ways than one. Take care and thanks.


sofs profile image

sofs 4 years ago Author

Umna Safdar, I appreciate your comment very much. I am glad that this hub is of use to you ..... you would really benefit from changing your diet. Have a great day!


sofs profile image

sofs 4 years ago Author

krsharp05, Most of these studies have not been conclusive.. but the Japanese study has detected a distinctive gene... this might be the link... My good wishes and prayers are with you.. take care .. Thanks and God bless!


sofs profile image

sofs 4 years ago Author

Francesca2, lol that sounded funny... garlic and onions not only leave our breath smelly .. but our armpits too :) The heath issue is what we need to aware of. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States

I just learned more about armpit odor. than I knew existed. This is an excellent hub full of great information. I've never had a particular problem with underarm odor, but I've known some people who have. Now I'm wondering if it was their diet, as they were not ill. Voted up, useful and interesting.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

This is a great hub and so well written. I have learned much from reading it. Voted up!


jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

Red meats and hydrogenated oils I have to remember that. But some are more physiological than merely hygiene. I've also noticed some antibiotics can make the sweat really disturbing. The quick fix - take a bath. :)


sofs profile image

sofs 4 years ago Author

Pamela99, Thanks for that lovely comment. I have always had those questions niggling at the back of my mind and was glad to find the answers to most of them. I am glad that you do not struggle with this issue. Have a lovely day.


Healthy Pursuits profile image

Healthy Pursuits 4 years ago from Oregon

What a great amount of excellent information. Thank you for writing it. A woman I used to work with would bathe and rinse her armpits with vinegar every morning before she applied antiperspirant. She swore that it helped keep her underarm odor down. However, I wasn't so sure....


sofs profile image

sofs 4 years ago Author

Teaches 12345, Thank you for your kind words, they always brighten up my days. Have a wonderful day.


sofs profile image

sofs 4 years ago Author

jpcmc, Take a bath is great! But, if it is your health that is in question, you would really need to take a harder look at the options. Thanks for dropping by to comment. Have a lovely day.


sofs profile image

sofs 4 years ago Author

Healthy Pursuits, Thank you so much, I am glad that you found this hub informative and useful. Rinsing her armpits with vinegar must have been terrible... I can understand how she felt.. I hope this hub will help people like that.. they really need to know that it is much more easier to get rid of the arm pit smell. Thanks for dropping by. Have a lovely day.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

This is a great article full of helpful info. There's nothing worse than an underarm odor. I was unaware of a diet being a contributing factor. Thank's for sharing..


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

An excellent article sofs, full of interesting and helpful information - This is a very distressing problem for anyone who suffers with it.

thank you and voted up.


George 4 years ago

I have an armpit odour fetish, I love that musty smell! It turns me on.


sofs profile image

sofs 4 years ago Author

Ruby, thanks for dropping by. Though we do realize that we smell strongly of the foods we eat it does not occur to some of us that diet does play a major part in body odor. I am glad you found this useful. Have a great day.


sofs profile image

sofs 4 years ago Author

Lesley, good to see you here again. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate the votes too. Have a lovely day.


sofs profile image

sofs 4 years ago Author

George, Yes, scientifically what you say is right, though you may not like the putrid smell that becomes a source of embarrassment for many. Thanks for the comment.


Rockstarhobbo profile image

Rockstarhobbo 4 years ago

Thanks for this wonderful article! I've been suffering from this body odour problem for a long time, it has always been a social & disturbing issue for me, I think the best advice would be having a proper diet since I tried most of the methods as above :)


Jen 3 years ago

Sofs - nice article!

And I totally agree that eating healthier goes a long way to reducing body odor. I'm curious if you use any natural deodorants yourself? I've been using a product called Lavilin for a while now and I really like it! Have you ever heard of it and/or tried it?

-Jen


liesl5858 profile image

liesl5858 18 months ago from United Kingdom

Sofs, thanks for this article. It is very useful and interesting indeed. Well done.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 16 months ago from The Beautiful South

Strangely I had this problem right after my second child was born so it must be hormonal or can be. I took two showers a day for weeks but then finally I got over it. Didn't even mention it to a doctor which I should have! I make my own homemade deodorant today and it is better than anything!


viola flowers 13 months ago

I've had musty armpits for over 5yrs. I found recently using cream arrid xtra dry is working for me. I shower 3x a day, just put enough under my arms. Hope this post can help someone else. Any cream deodorant might work. I ordered cream arrid extra deodorant on line, from walmart...did find some cvs carry & a few walgreens.

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