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How can I manage body odor?

Dr. Susan Evans
Dermatologist (Skin Specialist)

Managing body odor is a fairly easy task. Try the following suggestions to see if they help you to keep your offensive odors under control:

  • Because of the great number of apocrine glands found in your underarm area, bathing with warm water and soap is the best way to control odor. If the weather is very hot, or if you sweat heavily, you may consider showering twice a day.
  • Because underarm hair slows down the evaporation of sweat, you may consider shaving your armpits to help prevent odors.
  • Daily application of deodorant or antiperspirant helps because deodorants have a nice smell while they acidify your skin, making it more difficult for bacteria to grow and multiply. Antiperspirants temporarily block the apocrine glands, minimizing sweating.
  • Clothing choices can make a difference. Try to wear natural fibers that allow your skin to breathe. Choose cottons, linens, silks or wool.
  • Food can sometimes cause problems with body odor. Garlic, onions, curry and a diet high in red meat can sometimes be responsible for offensive body odor.
  • Tobacco is a big source of body odor, not only on your breath, but coming through your skin as well.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

If you have a problem with body odor, the first step is to bathe daily. Use mild soap and towel off thoroughly when you're done. This will help remove naturally occurring bacteria, which interact with sweat to promote odor. You may want to consider using antibacterial soap. Antiperspirants and deodorants can help control sweating and odor. Taking other steps, such as wearing clean clothes made of cotton and other all-natural fibers, will help limit body odor, too. If problems persist, talk to a doctor, who can recommend other treatments.

Most people wear deodorant or antiperspirant to help manage body odor, but that may not be enough for some people. If your deodorant isn’t working for you, you can try different kinds of deodorant because it could just be the composition of a certain brand that isn’t right for your body. There are some medications that can help people who have problems with too much sweat as well, but there are side effects. Bottom line: Wash frequently enough, but not too much, and use different kinds of deodorants or antiperspirants until you find one that works best for you.

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Try This to Get Rid of Bad Body Odor
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.