What causes body odour?
Despite what many people think, body odour doesn’t come from sweat. The smell is actually caused by bacteria that break down the sweat into aromatic fatty acids, which produce the unpleasant odour
Sweating is your body’s natural way of regulating your temperature. As it evaporates, sweat takes heat from your body with it, which helps to cool you down.
To achieve this, your body has around 4 million sweat glands, made up of two different types.
Found all over your body. The sweat they release is usually odourless, although it can develop a nasty smell if you’ve been eating or drinking certain things. Garlic, spices, alcohol and certain medications are the usual culprits.
Mostly found in the hairy parts of the body, such as armpits and genital areas. They usually appear around puberty and release natural chemicals called pheromones. Sweat from apocrine glands is high in protein, making it a rich source of food for bacteria. So people with more active apocrine glands may find they develop body odour more quickly.
Being overweight or having a medical condition like diabetes can also make body odour worse. Most of the time though, it’s simply a sign of too much bacteria on the skin.
How do I get rid of body odour?
The answer is usually simple: Keep areas of your body that are prone to sweating as clean as possible. Just follow these easy personal hygiene steps:
- Wash with soap and warm water at least once a day, paying extra attention to those hairy parts particularly the armpits and groin where there are many sweat producing glands and where bacteria grow quickly
- Change your clothes often, wash them regularly and replace them if needed.
- Use a deodorant or antiperspirant on your armpits after washing. A roll-on antiperspirant is particularly effective.
- Shaving your armpits allows sweat to evaporate more quickly, giving bacteria less time to break it down
- Wear breathable fabrics like silk, wool or cotton, so sweat can evaporate quickly
- Go easy on the garlic and spices in your food