The moment we hear the phrase body odor, we automatically crinkle our noses, as if we can already smell it.
Sweating is a healthy thing – we need it to cool our body. But stand near someone who’s just finished a workout on a really hot summer day, or someone who’s totally stressed out and sweating – and you can smell it for real.
Not exactly life’s most exciting moments, right?
The facts on sweat
Sweat is made of water and salt, and actually free from smell. (maybe that is why it is called "honest" sweat!) But when sweat mixes with the bacteria on the skin, it creates body odor. And by the way, body odor is not the copyright of your armpits; there are other areas in the body that share the credit and these include, particularly, your feet, the groin, and the upper thighs. You could sweat in other parts too, but these are the critical areas.
So how can you avoid it? Start by staying clean, and dry.
Here are some lifestyle changes you can make to make sure you avoid body odor. It all boils down to hygiene and so...
- Bathe every day, at least once. If you tend to sweat a lot, bathe more often. A shower minimizes the bacteria on your skin and also removes the sweat.
- To keep bacteria in check, consider using an antibacterial soap which will control the way you smell.
- Take care to dry yourself thoroughly, particularly in the areas where you sweat profusely. This includes the parts between your toes and fingers. A dry skin makes it tough for bacteria to breed.
- Getting rid of the hair in your underarms will prevent bacteria from settling there. Get a deo or antiperspirant. While deodorants can mask the stink, they won’t stop you from sweating. Antiperspirants, on the other hand, have aluminum-based chemicals that can also control the sweating. You can get a deo + antiperspirant combo.
- Next comes the clothing you wear. Cotton, silk and wool are natural fibers that let your skin breathe. If you workout regularly, go for fabrics that absorb the sweat and keep your skin dry.
- Now, don’t get mad at me, but the next tip is: wash your clothes regularly, particularly the ones you work out in. Change clothes often to stay fresh, especially during summer.
- Shoes and socks are next. Keep your feet dry with socks made of absorbent materials like cotton or wool and change them frequently. Try foot powders that absorb sweat. Help your feet breathe with shoes made of leather. If your feet are very, very sweaty, allow your shoes to totally dry before you use them again. Invest in an alternate pair so that one pair can dry while you use the other.
Staying barefoot when you can will help your feet stay aired and fresh. And finally, what you eat makes a big difference to the way your sweat smells and this means spicy and fatty foods.
Can BO be treated?
Yes. If you sweat badly enough to make your normal routine miserable, check with your doctor to know if you have “hyperhidrosis”. You may need a prescription antiperspirant that you can apply at bedtime to those areas of your body that sweat the most. Tell your doctor if you experience night sweats and you don’t know why, since there may be an underlying medical condition that needs treatment.
Besides what I described above, in most cases, home remedies help, the mantra being: Be clean be dry and smell good.
Vidya Sury earns her money to buy deos and antiperspirants as a Freelance Writer and Professional Blogger. You can read her blogs at Going A-Musing, Your Medical Guide and Coffee With Mi.
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