The most obnoxious part about summer, apart from
the heat, is undoubtedly the many body odours that irritate our
olfactory senses. But contrary to popular belief, it is possible to
keep body odour down without much hassle. Body odour must be one of
the greatest antisocial epidemics of our times. It seems you cannot
go anywhere on the underground, on a bus, along a busy shopping mall
or into a pub without noticing that unpleasantly distinctive, acrid,
penetrating and pungent stale sweat smell produced by human bodies,
Every region of the human body has a different
odour; sometimes the odour is so distinctive so as to allow
immediate identification of its origin. For instance, scalp and feet
odours are easily recognised. If you think perspiration causes body
odour, you are not wrong. But body odour is not dueto perspiration
alone. Perspiration itself is essentially odourless when first
secreted; the offending odour develops from the action of bacteria
on the perspiration. These bacteria are present on everyone's skin
and are most active in warm, moist surroundings. Hence, body odour
is most likely to develop in areas of the body from which
perspiration cannot evaporate easily, such as underarms.
However, bacteria do not make all perspiration
odourous. There are sweat glands all over the skin. There are two
types of sweat glands, eccrine glands and apocrine glands, which
secrete different kinds of perspiration. Eccrine sweat glands are
found all over the body surface. Their primary function is to aid in
regulating body temperature. Heat, high humidity or nervous tension
stimulates them to produce large amounts of a clear, salty sweat
that cools the body as it evaporates. Eccrine sweat usually does not
cause an odour problem. Body odour is related primarily to the sweat
secreted by the apocrine glands and bacteria. These glands are
concentrated in the underarm area (axilla), around the nipples and
in the genital area.
There are three important factors in creating
odours in your body.
The patterns and type of secretory glands on the
The positioning of the skin itself-the armpits,
for example, make it very difficult for sweat to evaporate and so
produce a characteristic odour.
The concentration of bacteria: The skin's surface
provides nutrients for the growth of bacteria.The number of bacteria
are variable in different parts of the body being maximum in parts
like the scalp, axilla, genital areas and the feet.
Controlling Body Odour
Bathe at least twice a day.
Hair can trap sweat and millions of germs. Remove
the hair in your underarms and private parts regularly.
Wear clean, washed clothes every day.
Avoid synthetic wear because cotton is definitely
cooler than synthetic.
Also avoid tight fitting clothes, they make the
problem of sweating worse.
Avoid hot drinks and hot crowded places.
Regularly cleanse your body with medicated
cleansers if possible.
Use deodorants every day, or even twice a day, if
required. Use deodorants made by reputed companies.
If you sweat excessively,then you should use an
antiperspirant on alternate days.
If after doing all this, you still have body
odour, then you should check for other factors. There could be
certain metabolic or hormonal disorders, infectious diseases, some
drugs or even some foods such as garlic and onions which could be
causing excessivebody odour. You may need to see a dermatologist to
determine the root cause.
As earlier mentioned, it is important to
moisturize your skin after your bathe and cleanse your face. The
next chapter will tell you how to make effective use of moisturizers
in your skin care routine.