When it comes to our public health, one thing people judge is how we smell. The first impression is important, but body odor can really derail this opportunity. Body oder, caused bacteria breaking sweat down into acid, often comes after exercising or doing strenuous activity. It can be embarrassing, so it’s important to know all the causes and, of course, what treatments are available. Read on to learn more!
So what is body odor?
Body odor is the scent that our bodies give off when we sweat. Although body odor does exist when we’re young, it becomes more perceptible after we hit puberty and can be unpleasant. Obesity, spicy foods and medical conditions can also affect body odor.
Those who sweat excessively, called hyperhidrosis, may also be more susceptible to body odor. Usually, though, the salt level in their sweat is too high for the bacteria to break down. It depends on what sweat glands are involved, as they are located throughout the body. Sweat itself is odorless to humans; its the hasty multiplication of the bacteria in sweat and its acidic breakdown which causes it to smell.
Body odor can happen in the following areas of the body:
- Behind the ears
- Belly button
- Pubic hair and some other hair
- Genital areas
- Groin area
This body odor may have a specific smell. Think of how dogs identify certain people! Every person has a unique odor= influenced by various factors, including medication, health, gender and diet.
Causes of Body Odor
Body odor is caused by certain bacteria that break down the sweat. It is largely linked to the apocrine glands found in the ears, armpits, eyelids, genitals and breasts. These glands can serve different purposes, such as secreting fat droplets into breast milk, forming earwax or functioning as sweat glands. They are also called the scent glands, since they have a smell. Moreover, the apocrine glands are responsible for body odor because they produce a high-protein sweat, which bacteria can break down easily.
Preventive Measures for Body Odor
As stated earlier, most of the apocrine glands are found in the armpits, thus making the area more prone to body odor. Here are some of the common preventive measures you can take to control body odor:
- Antiperspirants or deodorants: these make the skin more acidic, thus making it harder for the bacteria to build up and cause body odor.
- Hair: the hair in armpits slows down the evaporation of sweat, thus giving the bacteria more time to break down. Getting rid of armpit hair is necessary to control body odor.
- Cleanliness: regularly wash your armpits using antibacterial soaps. This keeps the number of bacteria low, thus resulting in less body odor.
Treatments for Body Odor
Here are some of the most effective treatments for body odor:
- Deodorant: many of us know that this is the main product people endorse to get rid of or prevent body odor. This is actually one of the most beneficial treatments for body odor. However, this cannot get rid of the condition from its roots.
- Aluminum chloride: this is actually the main ingredient in various antiperspirant products. This is beneficial in getting rid or preventing the condition.
- Avoid spicy foods: eating spicy foods makes you more vulnerable to sweating, which may cause body odor.
- Clothing: use clothes that are made from natural fibers that allow the skin to breathe freely. This helps the sweat evaporate better.
- Wash daily: taking a bath or washing the body with warm water at least once a day is beneficial in getting rid of the bacteria that causes body odor.