- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Body Odor is Nothing to Laugh About
A Seinfeld episode revolves around unsuccessful attempts to rid a car of a parking attendant's body odor. That's television. In real life you can do something about it, particularly if the odor is yours.
Body odor isn't actually the smell of your body. It's a manifestation of bacteria growing on your body. The little critters multiply especially quickly in the presence of sweat, which itself is virtually odorless to humans.
Bacteria can produce a couple of acids that are, shall we say, odiferous. Propionic acid resembles acetic acid, and can produce a smell similar to vinegar. That's not great, but it probably beats isovaleric acid, which is present in some of your stronger cheeses. Yuck!
Kids don't have B.O., because they haven't developed androgens. These are hormones that develop at puberty. That's why you didn't need deodorant when you were small.
A number of factors affect body odor. These include diet, lifestyle, gender, genetics, health and medication.
You can take several steps to reduce body odor.
First, shower regularly. Doh! You get extra points for using antibacterial soap, which kills some of the critters that lead to B.O. Dry yourself thoroughly to inhibit bacterial growth. Steam baths or saunas may aid in detoxifying your body.
Mask underarm odor with deodorant. Look for a deodorant with an antiperspirant to shut down sweat production. These are easily found at your local drugstore or supermarket. You can get super-strength antiperspirants over the counter if regular products aren't working for you. Apply twice a day if necessary.
Step up the aggression with a solution of a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide and a cup of water. Wipe this on your body with a washcloth to kill odor-producing bacteria. Typical hotspots are underarms, feet and the groin area.
Wash your gym clothes frequently. Remember the stinky kid in your gym class? He left his sweaty gym clothes in his locker for the entire semester. Wash your street clothes often if you sweat a lot, which occurs often in summer months. Wear clothes made from natural fibers, such as cotton or silk, which can help your skin to breath.
People prone to sweaty feet should change socks frequently. Medical News Todayrecommends socks made from a combination of man-made fibers and wool. Consider a deodorant powder for your shoes. Wear sandals or go barefoot when possible. Wash your feet regularly in warm water, which kills bacteria more effectively than cold water. You can add a bit of tea tree oil to the water—never directly to the skin—to kill bacteria. Dry your feet well afterwards, including between toes. Don't wear the same shoes on successive days, as they don't dry completely overnight. Leather-lined shoes aid more than plastic in sweat evaporation. Use a pumice stone to remove dead skin from your feet.
Consider a dietary change if you eat lots of fatty or strong-smelling foods. Onions and garlic are prime culprits. A study in the Czech Republic linked consumption of read meat with B.O. Peppers can induce sweat, and might be best avoided. According to Health911 , some persons can have a fishy smell due to an inability to metabolize large amounts of choline, which can be found in eggs, fish, liver and legumes. Coffee and alcohol are also suspects. Neither are you doing yourself any favors by smoking. Refined sugar can supply food to bacteria and fungi on the skin.
Talk to your doctor if you sweat excessively. This can be caused by medical conditions. Body odor can also be a sign of kidney or liver disease, or a fungal infection.
Shaving under your arms can eliminate breeding grounds for stinky bacteria.
Curb your anger, anxiety and excitement, as these can cause increased sweat, says TLC . Meditation and visualization can help you maintain calm in stressful situations.
Health911 suggests chlorophyll liquid or tablets with each meal to naturally deodorize your body. Also recommended are magnesium supplements, B vitamins and zinc. See your doctor before taking supplements.
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