Body odor, also known as B.O. or bromhidrosis, can be unpleasant and embarrassing. According to a December 2009 article published by Medical News Today, body odor occurs when excretions from the apocrine sweat glands get absorbed by bacteria at the skin’s surface, creating acids which produce strong, foul odors. The severity of body odor depends mostly upon heredity, but treatment methods to prevent, control and eliminate body odor work similarly for everyone.
Using aluminum-based antiperspirants to temporarily prevent the expulsion of sweat from your pores may help reduce body odors, advises the Mayo Clinic. If you suffer from hyperhidrosis–excessive sweating–you may need higher concentrations of antiperspirant. Both forms of antiperspirants, including spray and roll-on, are readily available in the personal care section of most stores. Read the deodorant label to see if it is an antiperspirant, deodorant or both.
A deodorant that is not an antiperspirant will mask the odors of sweat-produced bacteria but will not eliminate sweat production as an antiperspirant would. Therefore, a deodorant that is also an antiperspirant may work better to control unwanted body odor than a deodorant, which is just a fragrance.
Aluminum Chloride Solution
In severe cases of body odor due to sweating, a doctor may prescribe an aluminum chloride solution to quiet the body’s sweat-producing cells. This solution, similar to an alcohol, should be applied to the skin’s surface, after being thoroughly dried and cleaned, usually before bedtime for about two to three nights. Thereafter, you can apply the solution once a week to keep sweating and body odor at a minimum.
Avoid Odor-Inducing Factors
Wearing the same unwashed, sweaty clothing will perpetuate the smell of body odor, even if you shower. Bring a change of clothes with you to the gym or for whenever you have to go out after sweating. Avoid spicy foods, as garlic, cumin and curry may heighten the pungency of your body odor.
MotherNature.com recommends applying baby powder, or talcum powder, to help mask odors and absorb sweat. Also, you can use rubbing alcohol to dry and kill most odor-causing bacteria. As for armpit hair, dermatologist, Dr. Selma Targovnik of the Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, says shave it off. Bacteria enjoy crowding in damp, warm places like your pits, clinging to your armpit hairs. For some, it may be easier to go bald than to constantly reapply an antiperspirant.