Underarm Odor <br/>A Quick Guide to Combat

Underarm Odor
A Quick Guide to Combat

For most of us, having a bad underarm odor is a big turnoff. Would you ever go out with someone who smells like he hasn’t taken a bath for a week?

Smelly armpits can make a person feel self-conscious and less confident about himself. Not only does it ruin clothes, but it also destroys other people’s perception towards you.

If you’re suffering from body odor, don’t worry because it’s not a lost cause. Learn more about armpit sweat odor, as well as its causes, prevention, and treatment as you read the rest of this article.

underarm odor

WHAT CAUSES UNDERARM ODOR?

Medically known as bromhidrosis, body odor happens when your sweat mingles with the bacteria on your skin, thus emanating an unpleasant smell.

Inconvenient as it may seem, perspiration is normal. It is a process that regulates body temperature and cools down the body to avoid overheating. It happens when you’re nervous, anxious, stressed, or simply feeling too hot because of your surroundings.

Sweat glands are found all over the body, and they come in two types: eccrine and apocrine.

Eccrine glands cover most parts of your body, while apocrine glands can be found in areas with a lot of hair follicles, like your armpits and groin. Whenever you’re stressed and your body temperature rises, both of your sweat glands secrete fluid onto the surface of your skin.

Eccrine glands secrete a fluid composed mainly of water and salt, while apocrine glands produce an odorless fluid that produces an unpleasant smell when it comes into contact with the bacteria on your skin.

The following areas are where you’re most likely to have body odor due to the abundance of apocrine glands:

armpits, belly button, groin,  feet, behind the ears, pubic hair and other areas with lots of hair, anus, genitals

Overweight and obese individuals, as well as those with health conditions like diabetes, are more at risk of developing body odor. Lifestyle habits, like eating spicy food and practicing poor hygiene, also makes you more prone to armpit odor.

eccrine glands apocrine glands
Eccrine gland (7) Apocrine gland (8)

What are the ways to prevent body odor?

Though sweating can’t be prevented, you can do something to make sure that your sweat does not make your body smell.

Keep your body clean.

Bathe daily and always use an antibacterial soap to wash your underarms and the rest of your body. This will limit the number of bacteria on your skin, resulting in less body odor. Plus, it will help you keep smelling fresh and clean.

Fully towel yourself after a shower.

Before wearing your clothes, make sure that you completely dry your body first after showering to ensure that no moisture is left on your body. Moist spaces can attract more bacteria, leaving you at risk for body odor.

showering reduces underarm odor

Wear a breathable undershirt.

Undershirts usually absorb perspiration instead of letting sweat seep into your clothes. Just make sure that you also change your shirts when they’re too sweaty. You can also use sweat-proof T-shirts with proprietary layering and stitching system designed to completely block sweat from showing through.

armpit sweat pad alternative
MEN'S SWEAT PROOF HYDRO-SHIELD (ThompsonTee)

How can you treat bad armpit smells?

There’s one rule in treating bad armpit smells: Always exercise proper hygiene.

But aside from that, there are other ways to deal with underarm odor:

Use home remedies.

Want to treat body odor the natural and organic way? Essential oils like eucalyptus, oregano, tea tree, and peppermint all have bacteria-fighting properties that will lessen your body odor.

Use deodorants or antiperspirants.

Antiperspirants can temporarily block sweat pores, reducing the amount of perspiration, especially in your underarms.

Deodorants mask body odor, though they do nothing to limit perspiration and excessive sweating. Still, there are alcohol-based deodorants that make your armpits more acidic, making them less attractive to odor-causing bacteria.

antiperspirant for excessive sweating

Shave or wax your underarms.

A 2016 study revealed that waxing or shaving the underarms considerably reduced body odor since it makes cleaning more effective.
In fact, using antiperspirants on hair-free skin gives its components maximum contact with the skin, thus making it more effective in blocking your sweat glands.

underarm-hair

Watch what you eat.

Did you know that some foods can cause you to smell bad? Having a balanced diet is not only beneficial for an overall healthy lifestyle, but for your armpit health as well. Here is a handy list of foods that you should eat to smell good, and foods that you should avoid to get rid of armpit odor:
food

Eat:

  • fresh sauerkraut
  • fruits
  • non-sulfurous vegetables
  • herbs
  • yogurt
  • pickles

Avoid:

  • caffeine
  • alcohol
  • red meat
  • processed foods
  • foods with lots of garlic and onion
  • spicy foods
  • sulfurous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower

Consider Medical Procedures

Unfortunately, some people who suffer from excessive or uncontrollable sweating won’t benefit from simple measures like the ones stated above. If you have hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating, you must consider medical procedures that can help you get rid of body odor for good.

miraDry is an FDA-approved treatment that destroys sweat, hair, and odor glands in the underarms. It uses microwave technology to target those glands, resulting in dry armpits that are free from hair and body odor.

miraDry the sweat stops here

If you’re interested in getting miraDry treatments for your sweaty armpits, schedule a Free Consultation with our double board-certified plastic surgeon here in Face+Body Cosmetic Surgery.

Dr Nick N Masri MD FACS

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