(WellnessNova.com) - Body odor…eww. Usually inevitable, but luckily manageable.
Sweating is a natural body process. It is a way the body cools itself down to prevent itself from overheating and eliminates what it no longer needs. And sweat, by itself, pretty much is odor-free.
The not-so-lovely stench emanating from the body actually comes from bacteria that live on the skin. These little microorganisms feed on sweat that comes from apocrine glands. These glands are found where hair grows (i.e. armits, scalp, groin).
Knowing that body odor is caused by bacteria makes treating and eliminating odor a lot easier. There are a variety of simple health routine tweaks and lifestyle adjustments to make your body radiate a pleasant aroma and give you more confidence.
1. Antibacterial soaps (natural ones, of course)
If body odor is caused by bacteria feeding on sweat, wouldn’t the quickest way to get rid of the smell be to get rid of the bacteria? Though we wouldn’t be necessarily be preventing excess sweating, using a natural antibacterial is still a safe, quick method to be smelling good once again.
Natural soaps are one of the best ways to get rid of B.O.. Use soaps, body washes, shampoo, or conditioner with pure essential oils as a remedy against stinkiness. Look for natural products that contain antimicrobial benefits such as:
2. Examine or change your diet
What goes in your body also influences the smell that comes out.
Ever notice how strong the smell coming from your under arms can be for the next couple of days after eating Indian food? (Nothing personal against Indian cuisine… Most of the spices used in those dishes are highly detoxing for the body.)
There is some science behind this occurrence, however. Dishes that contain spicy foods in them, like Indian-inspired meals, make your body sweat more — the same sweat that bacteria feed on. So by eating spicy foods, you may be providing more fuel for that stenchy fragrance.
Similarly, alcoholic drinks or beverages with caffeine can increase perspiration. Caffeine, and other stimulants, increases the production of sweat from apocrine glands. As we know, this is where sweat-feeding bacteria like to hang out by.
Drugs, like food and drinks, are also processed by our bodies and can lead to increased perspiring. Aspirin and acetaminophen are used as cheap, over-the-counter painkillers, but these drugs aren’t the best for smelling your best. Additionally, some drugs used for mental disorders and thyroxine, a hormone for the thyroid, increase sweating.
Not only can spicy foods indirectly contribute to body odor, the actual smell from certain foods can be released from the body in sweat. Garlic and onions are some examples of B.O. culprits.
3. Apple cider vinegar, the homemade “deodorant”
Sadly, most store-bought brands contain aluminum, which is bad for the body. Next time your armpits start to reek up the room, make your own deodorant!
Some deodorants may contain green tea extracts, which is a nontoxic antibacterial. Essential oils in deodorant can also aid as antimicrobials, especially tea tree oil.
A quick, simple way to eliminate underarm bacteria by making your own deodorant is to use apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, or white vinegar. Vinegars are odorless when they dry, so there is no need to worry about smelling like vinegar for the rest of the day. All these ingredients are acidic, thus they actually temporarily lower the skin’s pH to be more acidic as well. The stinky type of bacteria are not able to live in this type of environment.
To use these liquids, dampen a cotton ball or paper towel in them and bat onto your armpits. Rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide (both highly diluted) may also be effective tools against bacteria.
Another technique to make your own “deodorant” is to try using baking soda or cornstarch. Both are absorbent and make effective and natural antiperspirants. Baking soda goes the extra step and actually eliminates bacteria, as well as sweat.
4. Stress reduction
These days, nearly everyone experiences stress at some point throughout the day. Did you know that it could actually increase sweat production? Certain emotions, including stress, anger, anxiety, and excitement cause our bodies to sweat a little bit.
Some of these emotions may be inevitable… And who doesn’t want to be excited for life?! Just being aware, however, that these emotions can indirectly lead to B.O. is important to note.
There are many ways that someone can reduce stress, anger, and anxiety. Some popular methods include:
- Guided imagery
- Creating art
- Listening to or playing music
Did you know that you can actually use aromatherapy to help reduce anxiety? Lavender, frankincense, patchouli, rose, vanilla, and others all help out.
5. Wear clean clothes and shoes
It is environmentally conscious for you to wear clothes multiple times before washing them to save water, electricity, and time, but it might actually be the reason why you smell.
Clothes absorb sweat from our bodies throughout the day, even if you don’t think you are sweating that much. You guessed it, the BO bacteria feed off this sweat.
People usually don’t think about washing their shoes either. How often do you go without washing your hiking boots, running shoes, or lazy-day-around-town sandals? Probably not often. (And no, playing in puddles doesn’t count.)
Shoes can be one of the smelliest items we own. Clean them! You’ll be relieved with how much better they make you smell.
Having body odor isn’t the end of the world. Try using some of these ideas next time you are getting a little self-conscious. Luckily, we understand the science behind smelling bad — It’s not you, it’s the bacteria!