Body Odor

I will admit that I was not the best smelling adolescent. Back in the day, I hated showering and would generally only do it about once a week. It’s not that my parents didn’t try to make me shower. I would either lie and say that I already had, or sometimes I’d even go so far as to stand in the bathroom for about ten minutes while I ran the shower without me in it. After turning the water off, I would wet my hair down by running a wet comb through it so it would at least look like I showered. It wasn’t until I was in the eighth grade, when one of my best friends told me I stunk, that I started showering regularly. I also started getting more attention from the opposite sex. Surprise.

All these years later, I still don’t much like showering. It’s a pain in the ass. It takes time out of my day that I could be using to do other things. Besides that, it makes my hands all wrinkly. I hate that. Worst of all, though, if I’m dirty or I smell, my fiancée won’t play with me. I’m not talkin’ about playing checkers or hopscotch here either. And let me tell ya, that’s one hell of an incentive to stay clean. So stay clean I do. Come to find out the reason this works is not just because I’m washing the old sweat off of my body. Sweat doesn’t usually stink. A lot of what you’re smelling is the waste products from the bacteria that are living on your skin and eating the carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids that are exuded from your body with the sweat. Turns out, though, improper hygiene is only one of the major causes of body odor. A lot of it has to do with your diet and your lifestyle. Sometimes it’s not your fault at all. Body odor can be caused by chemical imbalances in your body or other more serious complications. If you suspect there might be something more serious going on, get yourself to the doctor. If you feel you can figure out how to get rid of body odor without medical assistance, consider the advice in this article.

Body-Odor-Causing Medical Disorders

Body odor is sometimes an effect of a serious medical disorder. For this reason, if you are experiencing bad body odor despite your efforts to combat it, it is important that you see a doctor in order to rule out other, potentially serious possibilities such as:

  • Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic Constipation
  • Calcium Deficiency
  • Magnesium Deficiency
  • Zinc Deficiency

Best Ways to Get Rid of Body Odor

Proper personal hygiene.

Sorry to be Captain Obvious here, but really, I learned the hard way that you can’t expect to smell like a petunia if you don’t walk your butt through the shower every now and then. If you’ve got some bad body odor, you should shower or bathe at least twice a day and use a good antibacterial soap. It’s also important to only use your rags and towels once. After you rub them all over your body, they become filled with skin cells, oils, sweat, and other nasties that those bacteria we talked about earlier love to eat. Probably not a good idea to rub that on your body again.

Things not to eat.

Because your body exudes toxins through your skin, the things you eat can make you stink. One of the worst things you can eat, as far as body odor is concerned, is red meat. And for obvious reasons, you should try to avoid things like garlic and onions. I hate to say it, but coffee is bad, too. Actually, any caffeinated beverage is bad in the smell department. Caffeine can cause excessive sweating. Other things to avoid are fatty foods, fried foods, refined sugars, and overly processed foods. If you have a fishy smelling body odor, there’s a good chance your body has a hard time processing choline. Choline is a nutrient found in fish, eggs, liver, and beans. Finally, if you suffer from bad body odor, you really should avoid alcohol and tobacco, too.

Things to eat.

I know it won’t be easy to give up eating and drinking the things I mentioned above. You will just need to decide for yourself what’s more important to you: indulging in things that give you body odor or not smelling like a foot. In the meantime, there are still plenty of good foods available that do not contribute to body odor. Almost all fruits and vegetables fall into that category, especially foods that are high in chlorophyll (a natural purifier and odor eliminator) like parsley, spinach, kale, and other leafy greens. Breads and nuts are good, too. Like I said before, eat foods that aren’t highly processed. Go into any natural foods store and start shopping. Just skip the red meat section.

Have yourself a good sweat.

Yes. I am fully aware of how counterproductive this idea seems. But think about. If your body is exuding smelly toxins that make you stink, wouldn’t it make sense to hurry up and get rid of them? By causing yourself to sweat, you clear your pores of those toxins more quickly. There’s a number of ways to do this. Exercise, of course, is the most obvious. However, sweating can also be achieved by sitting in a sauna or a hot tub for awhile. Whatever you do, shower afterwards and wash the stink off. Before you attempt to sweat the stink out of yourself, make sure you’re properly hydrated. Not only will this keep you from dying a terrible death, drinking lots of water helps to flush your system.

Further underarm odor control.

Relax. The commercials are right. Stress stinks. Find things to occupy your mind with other than your money/work/ relationship/family problems. Go for a walk, play a game, listen to music, etc. Whatever you decide to do, do it in clothes that breathe, such as cotton or silk, and make sure they’re clean. Never re-wear clothes without washing them. Don’t sleep in a dirty bed either. Change and wash your bedding at least once a week. After the laundry is done, start shaving. Men and women, shave your pits and your genitals. Hairs provide a lot of surface area for bacteria to grow on. Excessive armpit hair also makes it more difficult for you to actually hit your skin with deodorant. Men, I’m proud to say that I have shaven pits and a shorn scrotum. It takes fifteen minutes about every three weeks with a beard trimmer. One final thing: carry some moist towelettes with you. Sometimes you’re gonna get stressed and there will be perspiration. Be prepared to keep yourself from stinking.

Body Odor Control Methods

There are a number of different products and methods for getting rid of body odor and for avoiding it in the first place. The most obvious of these, of course, are antiperspirants, deodorants, and combination antiperspirant deodorants. I have some pretty mixed feelings about some of these products. Conventional antiperspirants contain aluminum chlorohydrate and work by clogging your pores and sweat glands so that you cannot sweat. Seems like a pretty good idea. However, by not allowing your pores to flush themselves, sweat and crud can build up only to be released later after the antiperspirant wears off. If you’re already at home when this happens, no big deal. Jump in the shower. But if you’re still out and about, the resulting body odor could be potentially embarrassing. Even worse, the buildup of sweat and toxins can create painful cysts that oftentimes have to be removed surgically. For these reasons, I would suggest that you simply use an underarm deodorant without antiperspirant.

Another common body odor control method is the use of absorbent powders. There are a number of things you can use for this, such as plain old baking soda, cornstarch, talcum powder, or any one of the 30 million or so body powders available commercially. After a shower, once you’re all dried off, sprinkle or dab the powder on your smelly spots. Hit your pits, your genitals, your folds, under breasts, on feet, behind knees, and on any other place that gets sweaty.

If you are dealing with severe body odor that simply can’t be remedied with these methods, don’t give up hope. There are options for you. If you go to see a doctor, you can get prescription antiperspirants like Drysol. Some people even get Botox armpit injections to stop armpit sweat. Surprisingly enough, it’s actually been approved by the FDA. If you’re looking for something even more drastic, you can have your sweat glands surgically removed through liposuction.

Natural Deodorants

Apple cider vinegar.

This natural deodorant can be used quickly and easily. Simply dump a little onto a cloth and smear it in your armpits. The lower pH of the vinegar will kill the bacteria that is present and make your pits inhospitable for the inhabitance of other bacteria. Find your options for Apple Cider Vinegar at Amazon.

Visit our Facebook Page to discuss this article!

About the Author

Eric Ronning

Eric Ronning