Being around someone who has body odour is never a good experience. It is worse if it affects one personally, and can be a great source of concern.
Where Does Body Odour Come From?
The body produces sweat through sweat glands (eccrine and apocrine sweat glands). Sweat by itself is odourless, however there are bacteria which are normally present on the skin which can act on the sweat, break it down; thereby converting it to acid and this process produces the offensive body odour.
This occurs more in the more hairy areas of the body such as under the armpit and around the genitals and feet, so people who sweat a lot and have a lot of bacteria on their skin, have more problems with bad body odour.
It has also been shown that sweat becomes offensive with the intake of certain foods like garlic, onions and in people with some medical conditions like diabetes mellitus.
How to Manage and Prevent Body Odour
The principles of preventing and managing body odour are based on managing the culprits involved in producing it in the first place; interaction between SWEAT and BACTERIA present on the skin.
1. Take a bath once, twice or three times a day; depending on how much you sweat and the weather (we sweat more in hot weather).
2. Wash with soap and water. Pay more attention to areas where you sweat the most. Washing helps to reduce sweat and bacteria on the skin.
3. After washing, clean well with a dry towel and ensure that your body is completely dry.
4. Shave regularly. Hair helps trap sweat and also provides a good environment for bacteria to increase which will lead to more body odour problems.
5. Use a deodorant or an antiperspirant after bathing. A deodorant masks the smell produced by bacteria acting on sweat, while an antiperspirant reduces production of sweat.
6. Wear clean clothes; don’t wear clothes that you wore yesterday as it will have sweat from the previous day.
7. Wash clothes regularly and thoroughly.
8. Change your socks regularly
9. If you work in an office where you have to put in long hours in a day, you can take time off during work hours and go to the bathroom to freshen up by cleaning your armpit and applying a deodorant, this will help preserve the freshness and reduce body odour.
10. Limit intake of foods that might add to the body odour like garlic and onions.
If bad odour still persists after doing all the above, you might need to see a medical specialist. In some severe cases, some more advanced medical treatments are used.
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