Body odour is the last thing you want to be the cause of your embarrassment. It stinks!
No matter how regular we are with our bathing routine (we’re going to assume you bathe, at least often?), there comes a point when we are left wondering what in the world is causing that stink in me!
Well, it turns out your body odour is directly related to your diet and hygiene habits. Do you bathe regularly? No, ‘often’ will not help. Is your caffeine intake more than water? STOP it immediately.
These are the everyday regular habits one needs to take care of in order to control body odour among other routine things. Speaking to TOI, Dr. Jamuna Pai, India’s leading skin expert shares in detail, the reason why we smell so bad and how to get rid of that odour.
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The Science Of Stink
Sweating or perspiration is a natural process arising out of stress, exercise and high temperatures. This same natural process becomes a nuisance aka body odour, when perspiration/sweat encounters bacteria on the skin. Dr Pai insists, “sweat itself does not smell, but coupled with the dead skin cells, it provides a medium for the bacteria to grow. This bacteria, breaks down the sweat causing unpleasant body odour.”
So what should we do about it? Is there a way to cover up the foul smell?
Fortunately, yes! There are varied ways one can control the body odour on a day to day basis, as Dr Pai lists them:
– follow a healthy and balanced diet complete with nutritional supplements
– topical application of aluminium chloride at night
– anti-fungal/talcum powders during the day
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When it comes to diet, Pai recommends avoiding garlic and onion because, “they are known to trigger foul body odour.” A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, adequate protein intake, whole grains and supplements like Vitamin B complex and zinc is recommended and of course a minimum of 2-3 litres of water daily.
What about antiperspirant and deodorants?
Use anti-antiperspirant lotions if you sweat excessively. These lotions contain aluminium chloride and should be used in the underarms, palms and soles at night. They work on reducing the amount of sweat. Deodorants do not prevent or control the amount you sweat, but they help to mask the body odour.
Once my antiperspirant and deo wears off, the foul smell comes back. What should be done to make it last long?
It always helps to address the causative factor to achieve better results. Here, as the body sweats more, and there is a build-up of dead cells, grime and bacteria, the anti-antiperspirant is not able to be effective for long. So for better results you could follow a healthy routine like
Shower at least two times a day if you sweat a lot.
– Apply dusting powder in all the body folds after shower.
– Wear cotton clothes
– Drink plenty of water
– Reduce caffeine intake and consume herbal and green tea.
– Use the anti-antiperspirant on the skin.
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As for the deodorant, use a little talcum powder before applying the deo. It helps the deo stay for long and keeps the skin dry.
Is exfoliating the underarm a good practice? Can I use a normal soap or face wash for that? Exfoliation is process of removing the dead skin cells. It surely will help in keeping the underarm area clean thus aids in keeping the body odor under check. Using a loofah with your soap or shower gel will be an effective method for gentle skin exfoliation.
Talking about washing, it’s an unfortunate reality that there exist people around us, who’ve got something called ablutophobia (fear of bathing), while there are others who simply prefer not to bathe.
Keeping them in mind (and prayers), we asked the expert if there could be any other hygiene alternatives available out there? The response was straightaway ‘no’. “There is no excuse and no alternative for hygiene,” says Dr. Pai. “In a hot and humid country like ours, I in fact recommend people to bathe twice in a day to keep the body clean and odour free.”
What about deodorant tablets and pills. Do they work?
They are good in preventing mouth odour (bad breath), not general body odour.
People with more hair follicle produce more sweat. Fact or fiction? Can something be done with the follicles?
We have two types of sweat glands-eccrine and apocrine glands. The apocrine sweat glands are concentrated more near the hair follicles. Excessive perspiration is termed as Hyperhidrosis- one can undergo a Botox treatment for it (excessive perspiration) in the underarm area.
With a few tiny pricks, botox is injected at certain points in the axilla of maximum sweat gland concentration. This can help reduce the perspiration for as long as 6-8 months, after which it can be repeated.
Another way to keep the underarm area clean, is to undergo laser hair reduction service. As sweat collects in the hair follicles leading to bacteria build-up, it is appropriate to restrict the hair growth and keep the area clean.