Sweating is a natural process that’s actually odourless.
So why do so many people suffer from body odour?
Humans have bacteria all over their skin. The bacteria on your armpits, groin and scalp feed off of your sweat, creating a strong, pungent odour.
2 Types Of Sweat
When your body starts to get too hot, your eccrine glands secrete sweat to cool down your skin. This sweat is made of water and salt (1).
On the other hand, your apocrine glands secrete a milky sweat when you’re under emotional stress. They are also stimulated by ovulation, anger and sexual excitement. This sweat is also odourless on its own. However, it mixes with bacteria, creating a strong smell.
Certain medical conditions can affect body odours. If your sweat smells like bleach, you may be suffering from a kidney or liver disease. Likewise, if you are diabetic, you may have a fruity smell (2).
Gender also plays a role in body odour. Women’s sweat contains high levels of sulphur, which gives off an onion smell. Men’s sweat has high levels of fatty acids, which give underarms a cheese-like smell (3).
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Ditch Your Antiperspirant
Antiperspirant has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease (4) due to it containing aluminum. It’s also a possible carcinogen, particularly in the case of breast cancer (5).
Washing with antibacterial soap isn’t much better. Triclosan, its active ingredient, is known to cause the death of human cells as well as beneficial bacteria (6).
5 Natural Ways to Reduce Underarm Odor
1. Change your diet
Processed foods, red meat and sugar feeds bacteria and affects pH levels in the body (7). You can also try to deodorize internally by eating lots of fresh herbs.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar regulates the ph. level of your skin and kills bad bacteria (8).
To use, soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and rub it softly on your underarms. Leave for a few minutes. Rinse off in the shower. This method should be used as a part of your morning and bedtime routine.
3. Coconut oil
Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which is a natural antibacterial (9). Oil can stain your clothes, so apply to clean skin and let it absorb before getting dressed. You can also use it to make natural deodorant.
4. Try Baking Soda
Before you shower, measure 1 teaspoon of baking soda and place it a small bowl. After rinsing your armpits, add a few drop of water to your baking soda until it forms a paste. Apply to each armpit and leave for a few minutes. Rinse and continue your shower routine.
5. Swap Out Deodorant For Lemon Juice
Lemons outside the body is acidic and can help stop the growth of bad bacteria. Using lemon juice can cause minor burns and redness, so make sure to dilute with water and test on your skin before applying.