Dermatology Treatments : How to Stop Bad Underarm Sweating
How to Get Rid of Body Odor Naturally
Body odor is natural but embarrassing, and it is something that many people struggle with. Luckily, there are ways you can get rid of body odor naturally.
Improving Personal Hygiene
Bathe or shower regularly.Since bacteria reacting with sweat produced by your sweat glands causes body odor, it is important to bathe or shower regularly. Use a gentle, plant-oil based soap and lather up. The greater the amount of lather and the longer you lather up, the more effective you are likely to be in removing bacteria from your skin.
- Not all soap is antibacterial, nor do you necessarily need antibacterial soap. Try using peppermint castile soap when you shower. Peppermint oil is mildly antiseptic and can help fight body odor.
- Although soap-and-water showers are best, rinsing the skin with water is better than nothing. Scrubbing with sand or even just a washcloth helps dislodge bacteria and oils is even more effective. This can be an issue in situations like camping.
Make sure youdryyourself completely.This is especially important in those areas that are prone to body odor: the groin, armpits, and around the nipples. Also ensure that any areas of skin folds (under the breasts, in the groin, at the abdomen) are completely dry.
- Avoid using cornstarch as a dusting powder. Many physicians believe that cornstarch can be used as “fungi food." Instead, use unscented talcum powder.
Eliminate bacterial breeding grounds.For instance, shaving your armpits may be helpful in reducing odor. Also, clean the inside of your shoes on a regular basis, as these can be a great breeding ground for bacteria.
Wear fresh cotton clothes.Wear natural-fiber clothing like cotton, silk or wool. If you exercise and sweat, using synthetic materials that “wick” away moisture may be useful, but change back into the natural fibers after you shower away the sweat.
- Cotton clothes allow the skin to breathe, reducing the amount of sweat. Therefore, wearing cotton clothes keeps the skin healthy, dry and odor-free.
Avoid wearing closed footwear with socks for a long period of time.Closed footwear will lead to offensive odor from the feet if you sweat a lot, as there is lack of aeration. This is especially true if shoes are made of non-breathable materials. Aim to wear sandals, flip-flops or more breathable shoes as much as possible.
Improving Lifestyle Choices
Quit smoking and chewing tobacco.Smoking and chewing tobacco lead to the production of free radicals which damage the body. They also lead to the formation of bacteria on the skin, which emit bad odor.
Drink lots of water.Water is an excellent solvent that flushes all the toxins from the body. Water is the most neutral substance and reduces the formation of bacteria in the intestines. Drinking around 8 to 10 glasses of water daily will help keep the skin healthy, hydrated and odor-free.
Eat food products containing probiotics.Probiotics are natural, gut-friendly bacteria which help to control the growth of other toxic bacteria in the intestines.Probiotics promote the growth of the bacteria lactobacilli bifidus, which improves digestion and reduces gut toxins. Substances like yogurt and buttermilk contain probiotics.
- Consuming one cup of a probiotic substance each day is very helpful and should be continued for a period of six months. It will improve your overall health as body odor may be just a matter of good digestion!
Eliminate odor producing foods from your diet.There are a number of foods that may change your body odor. Fatty foods (fatty meats, poultry with skin, fried foods) and some spices (curry, garlic, onions) can change your body odor. Omit these foods at least for two to four weeks and see if that makes a difference.
- Coffee and caffeinated soft drinks can cause body odor in some people.
- Other foods and beverages that can cause body odor are: alcohol, asparagus, cumin, and red meats.
Eat enough green vegetables.Not eating enough green vegetables can result in body odor. Green vegetables contain chlorophyllin, a natural odor-absorbing substance.
Using Natural Antiperspirants
Use a commercial-made natural antiperspirant.If you are uncomfortable with using a conventional commercial antiperspirant or deodorant, find a natural product instead. There are many popular products, such as Tom’s of Maine and Kiss My Face, which are widely available.
Make your own antiperspirant.You can find a variety of recipes online, but here is one you can try. Mix 3/4 cup arrowroot powder and 4 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder. Melt 6 tablespoons organic cocoa or mango butter and 2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil together in a double boiler. Stir together the melted ingredients and the dry ingredients and then add 1/2 teaspoon lemongrass essential oil to the mixture.
- Store in a lidded glass jar. This does not need to be refrigerated.
Treat your body odor with a solution of hydrogen peroxide as an antibacterial solution.Take 1 teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide and mix with 1 cup of water. Using a cotton washcloth, soak the washcloth in the hydrogen peroxide-water solutions, squeeze out the excess, and wipe your underarms, groin and feet with the solution.
Wipe your skin with apple cider vinegar.You can use apple cider vinegar to help kill off the odor-causing bacteria. Soak your feet daily in a solution of 1 part apple cider vinegar and 3 parts water. Pour the same solution into a spray bottle and spray on your armpits.
- Apple cider vinegar is very strong and people with sensitive skin may experience adverse side effects like burning or itching. Therefore, a small patch test is recommended before using this product and make certain you have not just shaven your armpits.
Treat the skin with tea tree oil.Add 8 to 10 drops of tea tree oil to 1 cup of witch hazel. Pour this solution into a spray bottle and use as a natural deodorant, especially after exercise. The witch hazel acts as an astringent and reduces sweating. The tea tree oil acts as an antibacterial agent.
- Tea tree oil is known for its anti-septic properties as well as its strong but pleasant odor.
- When used as an external application, it kills the bacteria present on the skin and thus reduces toxin formation.
Understanding Body Odor
Investigate why body odor occurs.Body odor, technically known as bromhidrosis, osmidrosis or ozochrotia, or more simply as BO, is caused by the breakdown of skin proteins by bacteria on the skin. The specific odor depends to some extent on the type of bacteria on your skin, the proteins they break down, the acids that are produced, the foods you eat, the amount of sweat you produce, and your overall state of health.
- Individuals with diabetes, hyperhydrosis (excessive sweating), who are taking specific medications, or who are obese, for example, are more at risk for body odor.
- When we sweat, bacteria on our skin breaks down the sweat and skin proteins into a two main types of acids -- it is these acids that result in body odor. The two main acids are produced by two different types of bacteria: Propionic acid and Isovaleric acid. Propionic acid is produced by Propionibacteria. Propionic acid tends to smell vinegar-y. Isovaleric acid is produced by Staphylococcus epidermidis. Isovaleric acid tends to smell cheesy-- perhaps because the same bacteria are used to made certain types of cheese.
Figure out where body odor is likely to occur.Body odor tends to occur in folds of skin or in areas of the body that are either covered or more prone to sweating-- these are the feet, groin, armpits, genitals, pubic hair and other areas with hair, the belly button, the anus and behind the ears. Other areas can be sweaty and produce odor as well, but generally to a lesser degree.
Understand that foot odor is different than other types of body odor.Foot odor can be somewhat different. Feet have eccrine sweat glands, but since most individuals wear socks and shoes (most of which are made of synthetic materials) most of the time, the sweat doesn’t evaporate as easily.
- Synthetic materials (as opposed to cotton or leather) tend to hold in sweat and prevent evaporation unless they are specially made to allow evaporation.
- Sweat which doesn’t evaporate tends to provide a good environment for fungi-- and many forms of fungi produce unpleasant smells as well.
Investigate other factors affecting body odor.For instance, age can make a difference for the type of body odor produced. Children before puberty do not produce much body odor. Androgens that are produced during puberty are associated with the production of unpleasant body odor.
Assess whether you should see a doctor for your body odor.Most body odor can be dealt with using home remedies, but there are times when body odor signals the need to see your physician. In some cases, your physician may refer you to a dermatologist (skin specialist). Call your physician for an appointment if:
- You have attempted to deal with the problem but all treatments do not help reduce or eliminate the body odor within two to three weeks.
- You begin to sweat much more or less than you normally do.
- Sweating disrupts your daily routine.
- You begin to experience night sweats.
- Your body odor changes dramatically.
QuestionWhy does my body have a very strong odor even after taking showers?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMaybe you aren't washing your main odour areas such as your armpits, feet, anus or genitals adequately. You might try using tea tree, lemon or lime flavour shower gel --- such strong scents can lessen the odour.Thanks!
QuestionDoes having body odor mean I have diabetes?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. Most people have body odor because of bad hygiene or puberty.Thanks!
QuestionI have very serious problem with my armpit odor. What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf the suggestions here don't help, try this article: how to stop underarm odor. If you're still having the problem, consider talking to your doctor about it. There may be a prescription deodorant you can use.Thanks!
QuestionAfter my underarms sweat at night, I wake up with body odor, I decided to choose a different formula. I did Witch Hazel and Tea Tree Oil mixture and so far so good, but now, I am needing a different natural deodorant. What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerA good way to get read of body odor is to use lemon oil or lime. The citrus in the fruits help eliminate the odors.Thanks!
QuestionWhat can I do if I shower twice a day but still smell?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerCut down on fatty foods such as fast food and sausages, as they can change your body odor. Shave your armpits, and in the shower, make sure you scrub these areas: feet, armpits and groin. If this problem persists, consult a doctor for help. And don't forget to use deodorant.Thanks!
QuestionWhy do I have body odor?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBacteria reacting with sweat produced by your sweat glands causes body odor. You might be outside in the hot sun, or you may not be showering. Eat less-fatty foods, drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day, and shave your armpits. Shower at least once a day, and make sure to scrub your armpits, feet, groin - all those areas likely to produce body odor. If the problem persists, consult a doctor.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I get rid of genital odor?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWash your genitals once or twice a day, and use a non-aggressive soap specially made for this zone. If you're a female, don't use an antibacterial soap, as this disturbs the balance of beneficial bacteria in your vagina and can cause you to develop yeast and bacterial infections. If you tend to sweat a lot, sprinkle your outer genital area with a body powder made with cornstarch--not talcum powder. Talcum powder has been linked with cervical cancer in women.Thanks!
QuestionCan frozen lemon help eliminate body odor?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, but a bath with a few cups of lemon juice in it will help.Thanks!
QuestionI have always used lemon and lime, but my underarm is red and irritated. Should I continue using them? How do I make them better?Fruity RumpusCommunity AnswerIf your underarms are beginning to look and feel irritated, it may be time to quit using the lemon and lime. Instead, mix lemon or lime with coconut oil to combat body odor naturally. This will give it a base, instead of just plain lemon or lime against the skin.Thanks!
QuestionI put lotion on my armpit, but my body odor is still bad; how can I get rid of this armpit odor?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry using a natural soap, like Dr. Bronners, when you bathe, and a deodorant stick after you get dressed.Thanks!
Short Video: How to Get Rid of Body Odor Naturally
If showering regularly isn’t getting rid of your body odor, try looking for fabrics made of natural fibers like cotton or silk. These allow your skin to breathe, keeping you drier and helping prevent body odor. Avoid wearing closed-toe shoes with socks for long periods of time, as this can cause foot odor.
- Some types of seafood like tuna or swordfish contain high amounts of mercury, a toxin that can give you a nasty body odor.
Sources and Citations
- Erica Kasuli, M.S., R.D et al. Article on “Foods to reduce body odor”, 2009.
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