- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
How to Get Rid of Armpit Odor
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.
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
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.