You can thank your apocrine glands for any underarm odor you routinely deal with. Unlike eccrine glands, which release sweat made mostly of water when our body temperature rises, apocrine glands release excess lipids and proteins. The lipids and proteins would be nearly odorless if it were not for the bacteria in the armpit area that feed on the lipids, and in the process, break the outer structures of the proteins. The broken proteins cause the offending odor to be released.
As you can see, this whole process is a natural part of being a human, but this does not change the fact that having any type of underarm odor is embarrassing. Luckily, there are many ways to cover up, and even completely reduce the odor that originates from your underarms.
Daily showering can help reduce the buildup of the bacteria in the underarm area that causes odor. Always shower after becoming sweaty. This includes showering in the morning, especially if you tend to sweat overnight. It is especially important to shower after working out. To make your showers more effective, make sure to use an antibacterial soap. As mentioned above, it is the bacteria in the armpit area that causes odors. By eliminating most of the bacteria, you can reduce odors. It is also important to dry off completely and thoroughly after showering. Bacteria thrive in moist environments, and leaving your body with any bit of moisture is just asking for the bacteria to reproduce and return.
Deodorant does not treat sweat as a problem. Rather, it treats the problem of odor by neutralizing it with a different scent. The advantage to this is that blocking too much sweat can lead to excess sweating down the road and other complications. Deodorants are available in a myriad of scents, which means you can be sure to find one for everyone and every occasion. There are even deodorants with completely neutral scents that simply mask the smell of underarm odor without adding any additional scent.
Use an Antiperspirant
Unlike conventional deodorant, antiperspirants actually reduce the amount that you sweat. They do this by blocking pores through the use of chemical substances, such as aluminum.
Wear Natural Fibers
Silk, wool, and cotton are all less likely to make your body sweat than synthetic materials due mainly to their breathability. If you are working out, invest in moisture-wicking fabric to pull the sweat away from your body.
Wash Your Clothes
If you wear the same shirt for more than one day, you are allowing bacteria to build-up on it. This bacteria can then continue to thrive in your underarms. Make sure to wear different clothes every day, and wash them as soon as possible after wearing them.
Try to Relax
As mentioned above, there are two different types of sweat. It has been scientifically proven that the “smelly” kind of sweat that happens under your arms can be exacerbated by worry and stress. Meditation, yoga, and even unstructured free time can all help you to be less stressful and therefore smell better.
Shave Your Armpits
Hair in your armpits makes it easier for bacteria to grow and thrive. By shaving your armpits every day, you can eliminate extra surface area and subsequently reduce the number of bacteria.
Change Your Body Chemistry
If the pH balance in your armpits changes, the bacteria will no longer be able to thrive there. After showering, wipe your underarms down with vinegar or witch hazel to eliminate the possibility of further bacterial growth. These two items can also eliminate stubborn odors that don’t go away with regular soap and water.
Certain foods and drinks can cause excess body odor, but surprisingly they are not the foods you might think. Onions and garlic can certainly make your breath smell, but they have nothing to do with body odor. A diet with excessive amounts of fat, alcohol, and caffeine can have a serious impact on the way you smell. It is also important to drink plenty of water, which has a natural cleansing ability and will help you stay away from alcohol and caffeine. Foods that are rich in chlorophyll, zinc, and magnesium can actually help reduce body odor, so make sure to ingest plenty of these. In general, eating a well-balanced diet will help you to accomplish your goal of smelling better all day long.