Body odour is a major concern for most people today. It is unpleasant, embarrassing and reduces our confidence. A person who has body odour cannot help, but be preoccupied with a nagging doubt whenever he or she is in the company of others.
Sweat is the body's way to help cool your body and maintain body temperature. It can also be a response to stress or anxiety and helps your body clear toxins.
Our skin acts as our third kidney, detoxifying our bodies. When we exert ourselves, not only do we sweat to cool our bodies, but we also increase blood flow, which releases toxins. Sweat is something you need to do regularly -- not just because of the cardiovascular and fat-frying benefits of exercise, but also because of its body-cleansing function.
The eccrine glands are the major sweat glands, are located on almost every part of the body, produce body especially palms, soles, nose etc.. The number of sweat glands in a person's body can vary from around 2 million to more than 4 million. It is nature's little air conditioning system.
Similarly, the apocrine glands, which are located in the armpits and in the groin (among other areas), produce sweat that performs a number of functions, such as secretion of pheromones or mate attracting hormones, waste removal system that offloads microscopic bits of fat and other matter.
Body odour is often not considered be a serious condition. However, permanent body odour or Bromhidrosis, also known as consecutive body odour, is a common phenomenon in postpubertal individuals. In many cases, bromhidrosis may become pathologic if it is particularly overpowering or if the Bromhidrosis significantly interferes with the lives of the affected individuals. It is a chronic condition in which excessive odour, usually an unpleasant one, emanates from the skin. Bromhidrosis, determined either by apocrine gland or by eccrine gland secretion, can substantially impair a person’s quality of life.
The bacteria break down sweat into aromatic fatty acids, which produce the unpleasant odour. Medical conditions, such as thyroid disease and carcinoid syndrome, can also cause excessive sweating, as can the side-effects of some medicines such as anti-depressants.
The primary symptom of body odour is an unusual, pungent smell arising from the body. Other symptoms include:
excessive sweating, weight loss, night sweats and cold hands.
Body odour Cleanse
Many products, concoctions and remedies are offered in the market to try and solve the body odour problem. Some simply mask the odour while others, such as antiperspirants, try to get at the root cause of the problem, by blocking the skin pores that secrete sweat. However, this method defeats your body’s natural cooling and toxin removal mechanism and it may cause some discomfort or even allergies. The body odour can be tackled by:
- Reducing the amount of sweat and/or
- Treating the bacteria that produce the odour
- By doing a Liver Cleanse
To keep body odour at bay, cleanse your body externally as well as internally through bathing and washing the body as well as through balanced diet and opting for a healthy lifestyle.
External Body Cleanse
As baking soda helps absorb moisture from the skin, it can absorb sweat and reduce body odour. 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.
Alternatively, mix equal amounts of baking soda and corn starch. Apply it directly onto your dry underarms to prevent sweating as well as bad odour. Use this remedy when you need protection for several hours.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a powerful bacteria-fighting ingredient. It also helps eliminate body odour by balancing the pH level of your skin.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Water etc. as per requirement
Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and rub it on your underarms. Wait two to three minutes and then take your shower. Follow this remedy twice daily, once in the morning and again before going to bed, until you notice improvement.
Add a cup of apple cider vinegar in your bath and soak for 8-10 minutes. This also cures sunburns apart from killing body odour. Apple cider vinegar bath can be taken after a strenuous workout to control excessive sweating.
Add 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water and have it three times a day before meals. If you can’t stand its taste or smell, you may add a little honey to this mixture. This is a good remedy to reduce your excessive sweating too.
If you suffer from foot odour, add 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar in a foot soaking basin filled with warm water. Soak your feet in this water for 15 minutes. You can do it once every week.
Lemon juice is great for treating body odour. The acidic property of lemon juice helps lower the skin’s pH level, which in turn makes it difficult for odour-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 odour is gone completely.
If you have sensitive skin, you can dilute the juice from half a lemon in one-half cup of water and apply it to your underarms using a cotton ball. Leave it on for 10 minutes and then wash it off with water. Do this once daily until you notice improvement
Rosemary inhibits growth of odour-causing bacteria. It also contains menthol and chlorophyll, which have natural deodorant properties that neutralize strong body odor and also lend a nice fragrance to your body. Plus, it has zinc, of which a deficiency can cause body odour.
Add one-half cup of dried rosemary leaves to four cups of hot water. Allow it to steep for 10 minutes, and then add it to your bath water. Soak in this bath water for 15 to 20 minutes. Pat dry your skin. Follow this remedy 30 ml daily to smell nice throughout the day.
Alternatively, mix eight to 10 drops of rosemary essential oil in one ounce of water and apply it under your arms as a deodorant.
A delightfully fragrant herb, sage can be used to combat body odour. Sage reduces sweat gland activity and is an antibacterial agent that prevents bacteria from thriving on your skin.
Dried Sage – 100 ml
Add two tablespoons of dried sage to four cups of hot water and allow it to steep for 10 minutes. When the solution cools, use it to rinse your underarms. Do this two times daily until you get positive results.
You can also drink sage tea. Steep one teaspoon of dried sage in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Strain the leaves and enjoy your tea. Do not drink more than two cups of sage tea in a day.
You can make a natural deodorant with five drops each of sage essential oil, coriander essential oil and lavender essential oil along with 60 ml of distilled witch hazel. Mix them together and put the solution in a spray bottle to use as a daily deodorant.
Note: Sage must not be used by a pregnant or nursing mother.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has antibacterial as well as antiseptic properties to kill bacteria present on the skin and eliminate body odour. Also being an astringent, tea tree oil controls sweating.
Tea Tree Oil - 2 drops
Water – 30 ml
Add two drops of tea tree oil to 30 ml (two tablespoons) of water.
Pour the solution into a spray bottle and use it as a deodorant.
Internal Body Cleanse
Water is a good cleansing agent; it helps to flush out unwanted toxins from our bodies and keeps body temperatures down to manageable levels. Start your day with a glass or two of fresh water. Strive to drink the usual norm of twelve glasses a day.
Drinking tomato juice is an effective cure for excessive sweating. Drinking a glass of tomato juice daily early in the morning for one week should yield good results. After the first week is over, continue drinking the tomato juice every other day and then only as needed.
Dos and Don’ts
Wear natural fabrics, such as cotton, which are absorbent and allow the sweat to be drawn away from your skin and allow your skin to breathe. Wear cotton clothes and no undergarments while sleeping. This, particularly, improves the quality of sleep.
There are some foods that can contribute to body odours. Avoid garlic and onions. The sulphur compounds in garlic and onions can make your sweat more aromatic than it would be otherwise, especially if you consume them in large quantities. The same goes for pungent spices.
Daily elimination helps your body to remove harmful waste substances that will make you sick and cause undesirable body odour.
Surgical management of body odour
There are a couple of surgical options for severe sweating (hyperhidrosis) which can't be controlled by other methods. Beware of the after-effects of surgery before deciding upon it as these surgeries cannot be reversed.
Liposuction and removal of the skin of the armpit
In this process, small piece of skin in the apex of the armpit, measuring 4 cm by 1.5 cm is cut out, destroying the most troublesome sweat glands.
A modern variation on this procedure is liposuction to suck out the sweat glands from the deeper layers of skin.
This surgery is done under general anaesthetic and uses keyhole technique to destroy the nerves that control sweating. The surgeon makes an incision in armpit and passes an electrical current to kill off the nerves. The success rate is about 40 per cent, but as the body still has to sweat, some people experience increased sweating from their chest, abdomen and back after the operation.
Botox is a treatment for excessive sweating from the armpit. A small amount of the toxin is injected into multiple sites in the skin at the apex of the armpit. Although the results only last between four and nine months, it's an effective and safe treatment.