There’s no question sweating is beneficial for the body. For one thing, perspiration cools the skin when it’s hot thus protecting you from overheating. Plus, it’s one way the body eliminates toxins.
As useful as it is, sweating, which is typically accompanied by a bad odor, can be a great cosmetic issue for most people. It makes you extremely self-conscious and can seriously affect your social life.
Most Americans spend at least a portion of every day trying to prevent body odor—showering, applying deodorant and even sniffing their armpits to detect any trace of an off-putting smell. Commercial antiperspirants are the most used items to cover the smell and prevent the armpits from sweating.
People should know that what they eat is in direct correlation to the bacteria that thrives inside the body and its smell. This means that when we sweat, the bacteria feed on what is secreted and will emit a particular aroma.
Healthy perspiration contains excess minerals and metabolic waste: fats, sugars, proteins, enzymes, and metals. Adult sweat differs from child sweat—most notably by the absence of glycerol (a sugar made by the body) in a child’s sweat—which is why children don’t normally produce a body odor until puberty—bacteria love sugar.
Why Body Odor Exists
What we eat can play a significant role in not only body odor but foot odor and bad breath as well. Nutrients and compounds contained in food are essential for day to day sustenance, however, some of them, especially in overabundance can influence odor. Sulfides and other organic compounds have pungent odors and are often released in the body as food is broken down. These compounds are absorbed into the body and released through the skin and sweat.
Foods commonly associated with odor issues include red meat, seafood, egg yolks, garlic, onions, yogurt, beans, asparagus, cabbage, and spices such as mustard seed and coriander. Over consumption of these foods can lead to increased body odor.
Medicines that we have to take to maintain our health can also be responsible for body odor. Some medicines are:
- Cystagon for kidney disease
- Bupropion (aids in quitting smoking)
- Carnitine (athletic performance aide)
- Metformin (for diabetes)
The most common hormonal change associated with body odor is menopause. A common side effect of menopause is hot flashes which can lead to increased perspiration. As more sweat is produced, more odor compounds are produced as a result of bacteria breaking down the additional sweat.
A less common condition known as hypogonadism is caused when males have abnormally low levels of testosterone due to improperly working testicles. This can result in similar side effects to menopause, including hot flashes.
You Could Have Diabetes
When diabetes is untreated, it’s possible to experience what’s called diabetic ketoacidosis. Without enough insulin, the body starts to break down fat for fuel, which leads to a build-up of ketones in the body. That buildup, in turn, may produce a change in body odor, and may be a sign it’s time to see a doctor.
However, even if you can’t change your environment or your diet, fear not. We have a list of steps to make sure that you can still alter your body odor for a better smell and a better you:
As baking soda helps absorb moisture from the skin, it can absorb sweat and reduce body odor. Plus, it kills bacteria and works like a natural deodorant.
- Mix one tablespoon each of baking soda and lemon juice. Apply it to your underarms and other body parts where you sweat excessively. Leave it on for a couple of minutes and wash it off with water; do not scrub. Then take a shower or bath. Do this once daily for a few weeks.
Splash rubbing alcohol in the armpits to reduce bacteria on the skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Vinegar is a natural antiseptic and can help kill bacteria and fungi on the skin’s surface, according to The Vinegar Institute. Spritzing white or apple cider vinegar on odorous areas, then wiping the area dry, can help to eliminate offensive smells.
Tea Tree Oil
Apply tea-tree oil to problem areas, as long as it doesn’t irritate your skin. This oil, from an Australian tree, kills bacteria and also has a pleasant scent.
Lemon juice is great for treating body odor. The acidic property of lemon juice helps lower the skin’s pH level, which in turn makes it difficult for odor-producing bacteria to survive.
- Cut one fresh lemon into two halves. Rub one half of the lemon on your underarms. Make sure the juice gets onto your skin. Allow it to dry on its own, and then take your shower. Follow this remedy once daily until the odor is gone completely.
There are two properties of sage herb that come handy when talking about eliminating body odor. One is, it reduces the activity of sweat gland thus making you sweat less. Second, it is an antibacterial herb which can prevent bacteria from thriving on your skin. In fact, there is a third benefit too, it has a natural scent which acts as a deodorant.
Turnips have antibacterial properties that help kill odor-causing bacteria. Plus, they are a good source of vitamin C and many other nutrients that help combat body odor.
- Cut two or three turnips into small pieces and put them in a blender to make a paste.
- Put the paste into a sieve and press it with a spoon to extract the juice.
- Apply this juice to your underarms and groin area.
- Allow it to dry on its own, and then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Use this remedy each morning to keep yourself free from body odor for at least 10 hours.
Tomato Juice Bath for Body Odor
Tomato is considered to be a natural antiseptic and it can kill an extensive range of bacteria. Ancient Indian medicine, Ayurveda, has long used tomato juice as the remedy for body odor. It recommends using tomato juice in bath water.
Consider A Detox
When body odor is indicative of a problem from within, detoxifying your body is the answer. There are a variety of cleansing routines that may be appropriate and regularly incorporating detox foods may help. Regular sessions in an infrared sauna are also known to encourage the removal of toxic impurities through the skin.
Caffeine and other stimulants increase the activity of your apocrine sweat glands, triggering higher levels of stress and body odor. Eliminating coffee, tea, and other caffeine sources will help you naturally reduce your body odor.
Change Your Diet
Some foods and spices may cause bad odors to exude through your pores after you eat them. Fiber-rich food, leafy green vegetables, and tea from different plants can help you avoid body odor. Foods to avoid are the ones that contain hydrogenated oils and red meat.
Finally, drink lots of water. This helps in eliminating toxins from your body so that you do not smell bad.