Body odour: Tips and suggestions
Sweating is a normal physiological phenomenon that refreshes the body when its temperature increases. This could be in hot weather, during a physical activity or even in an emotionally stressful situation. When the body temperature tends to cross 37°C, a reaction in the hypothalamus (a gland located in the brain) makes the arteries dilate and increases the production of sweat. On evaporation, the sweat cools the body via a well-known thermodynamic mechanism. It is quite normal to release around 1 litre of sweat per day.
Sweat is quite odourless until bacteria on the skin surface comes into contact with it. This is what causes body odour. Here are some tips on how to reduce this odour:
- Take a bath or a shower at least once a day with a deodorant soap to reduce the amount of bacteria on your body.
- Dry yourself properly, especially between your toes and folds in your skin. This will keep the bacteria at bay, as they don’t like dry surfaces.
- Use a deodorant or an anti-perspirant. Deodorants contain perfumed ingredients that mask the smell of sweat, and alcohol that has a bactericide effect. As for anti-perspirants, they contain aluminum salts that tighten the pores in your skin, thereby slowing down the production of sweat to some extent. The best anti-perspirant for sensitive skins is alum stone.
- Shave the hair on your underarms and your body. Hair that gets trapped in perspiration becomes an excellent breeding ground for bacteria.
- Wear clothes made from natural fibres such as cotton and wool as these allow the skin to breathe, unlike synthetic fibres.
- Get rid of any smells that cling to you clothes. You should always wash your clothes thoroughly, especially in summer and/or after a strenuous physical activity.
- Pay attention to what you eat and drink: Alcohol, tea, coffee and other drinks containing caffeine increase body temperature. Eating spicy food also has the same effect. And go easy on garlic and onion as they lend a strong odour to sweat, even 24 hours after the meal.
- Learn to relax. In case your emotions act as a trigger for sweating, then relaxation techniques can provide precious tools for learning how to prevent or reduce perspiration.