We all want to smell good (or at least most of us), but sometimes fighting the funk can feel like an uphill battle. Beyond lathering on copious amounts of cheap deodorant or dousing your body in flowery perfume, there are several proven ways to treat and prevent recurrent body odor that won’t leave you feeling like a skunk in a prom dress.
Things That Will Make You Smell
- Overwhelming Stress
We all know that stress is downright bad for the human body, but I bet you didn’t realize that it will also make you smell! Stress hormones trigger a reaction of the apocrine glands (A.K.A. the stink-producing glands), so take a deep breath, let go of the drama, and relax.
- Excessive Sweating
Hyperhidrosis is no laughing matter (if you know, you know). It’s a condition that causes the body to sweat, like, a lot, which leads to an increase in body odor. Consult your doctor for treatment if you feel like your sweat sitch is above and beyond the normal amount.
- Being Overweight
Folds in the skin are the perfect environment for sweat and bacteria to come together and make their smelly concoction. Stop this science experiment from happening by making sure to hit every nook and cranny in the shower!
- Certain Medical Conditions
Finally, certain medical conditions can lead to strange bodily smells. Kidney or liver problems, diabetes, overactive thyroid, and rare genetic conditions may result in abnormal body odor. Always talk to your doctor if you’re suspicious that your smell might be something more serious.
Why Does Sweat Even Stink, Anyway?
Although sweat is a necessary, and often embarrassingly unfortunate, function of the human body, it’s not the one to blame for the associated stench. Believe it or not, sweat itself is virtually odorless – It’s the bacteria living in those moist areas that create a world of stink.
As positively cringey as it sounds, bacteria thrive in those muggy domains (like your armpits), and when we produce sweat, they break down our proteins into acids. This by-product of the bacteria is what leads to our dreaded body odor.
That being said, certain factors determine our degree of smell, and some of them are within our realm of control. If you really want to say sayonara to your BO for good, here are a few factors to consider.
- Shower Regularly With Antibacterial Soap
When someone smells, showering is the most obvious solution, and for a good reason. Regular bathing with warm water and antibacterial soap diminishes the growth of bacteria on your skin, and thus decreases the amount of sweat turned into stink.
- Wear Clean, Breathable Clothes
Of course, clean clothes should be a given, but I’ll say it anyway. I don’t care how cute that top is that you wore to taco night – Give it a wash before letting it back on your body! Also, natural fabrics such as cotton, wool, and silk will allow your skin to breathe and keep the stench to a minimum.
- Shave Your Pits
Now I’m all about female liberation and the hairy armpit trend, but if banishing BO is your game, you might want to think twice about that powerful statement. As it turns out, that hair traps sweat and makes a cozy home for bacteria to thrive. And for the men out there, maybe it’s time for you to pick up a razor and join the party.
- Eat The Right Foods
We’ve all heard the old saying ‘you are what you eat,’ and that’s totally the case when it comes to body odor. In addition to affecting your breath, pungent or spicy foods can actually permeate through your skin, making your BO seem even worse. Plus, spicy foods will cause you to sweat more, which will likely lead to more unwanted odors.
As with everything else in life, drinking water is the most important thing, like, ever. Do whatever it takes to remind yourself – Post-it notes, alarms, a water bottle attached to your belt loop. Just stay hydrated all day, every day so your body can function and eliminate toxins (smelly stuff) effectively.
Try the “Au Naturel” Road
Our bodies are made to sweat, and occasionally smell, but you can often control just how offensive it is by staying healthy. Of course, there are some circumstances which are cause for medical intervention, but I encourage you to try the “au naturel” route first. Just remember: You’re always your harshest critic, and you’re also most likely the only one noticing your body odor.