If you’re reading this, you might be in a position every person has at some point: you’re worried that you smell. We’re sorry for not sugarcoating it, but we’d rather not waste time when we could be telling you the good part: this one is easy to fix. We’ll help you understand how body odor is caused and give you a few tips you can try today, so you can be everyday fresh in no time.
Step 1: Accept That It’s Perfectly Normal
It can be hard to accept that you might have a B.O. issue, especially if you’re otherwise healthy and clean. But even if you’re wearing clean clothes and showering every day (and if you’re not doing that, start there), you may find you’re still giving off an unwanted aroma. Understand that B.O. is a problem that every guy deals with at one time or another, and that while there are medical options if the problem turns out to be that serious (we’ll get to those later), in almost all cases there are easy, over-the-counter solutions available.
Step 2: Know Your Enemy
You can’t beat a problem you don’t understand, so here’s a simple explanation of body odor: it’s not you, it’s your sweat. More specifically, it’s the bacteria that live on every human body, eating protein in your sweat and turning it into unpleasant-smelling acids. So these bacteria naturally gravitate towards the parts of your body that produce the least salty, most protein-rich sweat- your armpits and your groin. You’ll want to pay extra attention to those areas when coming up with your plan to beat B.O., including washing them with extra care when showering. If you don’t shower with an anti-bacterial soap, switch. And this might sound weird but bear with us here: if you have a particularly hairy groin or armpits, consider a light trim, as stink-causing bacteria can thrive on body hair.
Step 3: Keep Dry
Since we’ve just established that it’s your sweat that feeds your B.O., there’s one clear solution- control your sweating as much as possible. As people tend to sweat in their sleep, switch from showering at night to doing it in the morning, giving yourself plenty of time to dry off completely, especially in those areas prone to jock itch and athlete’s foot. Use a quality body powder that will absorb moisture throughout the day. Choose clothes made of loose-fitting, natural or breathable fabric, as tight clothes and synthetic materials can ventilate poorly, causing extra sweating. If you exercise or sweat heavily on the job, change those clothes and wash up as quickly afterwards as you can, before the bacteria has a chance to do its thing. And as we’ll get into in the next section, get a quality deodorant or antiperspirant.
Step 4: Consider Your Armpits
If it seems like most of your body odor comes from your armpits, it’s worth considering what you’ve been putting on them. Not every deodorant is the same, and choosing the one that’s right for your body can have a serious impact. For people who sweat excessively from their armpits, the solution may be a stronger antiperspirant, which use aluminum salts to actually block your pores from sweating. While there are some concerns that long-term aluminum can cause health issues, most dermatologists agree that the risk is minimal, and a good antiperspirant can make a major difference.
RELATED: Preventing (and Curing) Jock Itch
If you’re not overly sweaty but your pits still smell, check what kind of deodorant you’re using, as different brands use different active ingredients to kill bacteria- everything from baking soda to ethyl alcohol. Pay attention to labels, and stick with what works, while also being careful to avoid anything that itches or irritates your skin.
Step 5: Watch What You Eat
Have you ever smelled like a distillery after a wild night out, or picked up a strong whiff of garlic from a meal you ate hours ago? It’s not your imagination; particularly intense foods or alcohols can all change the smell of your sweat. For most people, it’s only an occasional inconvenience, but it’s worth testing the elimination of certain foods or drinks from your diet to see if it makes the difference you’re looking for.
Step 6: If Needed, See a Doctor
Hopefully, these simple tricks have already solved your body odor issues, but in the unfortunate event that you’re still unsatisfied with your odor, don’t hesitate to ask your healthcare provider. In many instances, they have access to prescription deodorants and anti-perspirants to tackle more serious problems. And just as importantly, unexplained and sudden changes in body odor or sweating can occasionally indicate a more serious underlying condition. So don’t let a small problem turn into a big one - tackle your body odor now, and get back to living the happy, healthy life you deserve.
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