Well, this is awkward. But does it have to be?
Bad body odour (BBO) comes in many forms and it doesn't just happen to people who are too lazy to wash properly. The ugly truth is that there are other factors you may be unaware of that cause this undesired phenomena.
Among others it can be caused by your diet, your genes, the amount of body hair you have, stress, and even what you wear.
According to The Huffington Post, stress causes the worst kind of BO. When you stress your body produces the sweat from your apocrine glands, which happen to be more fatty than watery. So it's not only dogs that can smell fear. Anyone who has been in a particularly stressful situation will recognise that familiar sour/stale smell.
A lot of women really struggle to find products which are tailored exactly for their specific needs. But just because your body chemistry may be a little out of your control, doesn't mean you have to be stuck with this unwanted problem forever.
Here are five steps towards feeling and smelling fresher if you have a BBO problem:
1. Try an antiperspirant
While showering regularly is the obvious thing to do, not everyone always has access to washrooms during the day. And you also need to take water restrictions into account - many areas of the country are often affected by drought and you can't really expect people to be showering twice a day while remaining below the 87 liter per day mark (which is the current restriction in the Western Cape.)
The point is, if you're a shower-once-a-day type of person who is quite active and struggles with body odour, you should be opting for a relatively strong antiperspirant rather than ordinary deodorants.
Yes, there's a difference.
According to WebMD, deodorants do not prevent sweating. They merely cover up the smell of bacteria which has built up on your skin and has mixed with your sweat.
Antiperspirants, on the other hand, have aluminium chloride as one of their main ingredients, which reduces sweating by blocking your pores.
This is a highly controversial ingredient though, because high exposure to it may cause cancer which is why it has been banned in Germany.
Labels on deodorants and antiperspirants often mention how strong they are, so pick according to your needs. And if you are able to find an aluminium-free antiperspirant, rather opt for that.
Either try this Clarins Eau Ressourcante Deodorant for R280.
Or opt for this affordable and invisible Dove antiperspirant spray for R27.95.
And our personal favourite: Shield Germ Defence, R22.95 at Clicks.
If ordinary products don't work for you, then visit your dermatologist so that you can get a prescription antiperspirant.
2. Whatever you do, don't miss laundry day
If you know you sweat heavily (even during the cooler seasons) it's best you don't re-wear your clothes without washing them first. Wear it once and chuck it in the basket, even if it was spotless when you took it off.
The fresher the clothes, the less severe the odour. This also plays a huge part in combating other unpleasant smells like smoke, pets and cooking odours.
We all know how stubborn sweat stains can be. Why not try one of these DIY cleaning tricks:
- Soak your stained item of clothing in an aspirin solution (two crushed aspirins mixed in 1/2 a cup of warm water) for two to three hours.
- Alternatively, you can pour a bit of vinegar directly onto the stain before washing the item of clothing. Just make sure the fabric can take it.
- Or you can make a baking powder paste by mixing four tablespoons of baking powder with just a 1/4 cup of warm water, apply it to the stain and let dry for two hours before washing.
For more home remedies to treat stains, see this Reader's Digest article.
3. Watch what you eat
Don't let "offensive" foods be the reason you feel offended when no one takes the seat next to you when commuting to/from work.
Shape.com revealed that there are people who cannot actually metabolise certain foods such as eggs, fish, liver and legumes, as they contain a lot of choline. This causes those who cannot metabolise this nutrient to give off a "fishy" smell.
The article also added that too much sugar can cause yeast to build up, converting sugar into alcohols, therefore making you smell less than pleasant.
Oh, and beware of spicy foods. Not because they make your eyes water and your nose run a little, but because their strong aroma can also be carried in your sweat, causing you to smell somewhat oniony.
Combat these culinary side-effects by eating lots of fresh herbs with your meals. Mint, basil, parsley and coriander all combat bad odours.
4. Go natural
Some women have found that the deodorant they're using actually makes them sweat more, thereby aggravating their BO problems.
If this is you, Shape.com reports that some doctors suggest that you wash only with plain water. But if doing the bare minimum makes you feel a bit uneasy, you can dilute lemon juice with water or apple cider vinegar and use the mixture to clean under your arms and prevent bacteria from growing.
5. Wear the right fabrics
Apparently natural fabrics such as linen, wool and cotton absorb sweat from your skin, allowing it to evaporate unlike the likes of silk, nylon and polyester which don't allow for evaporation. (How could the silk blouse betray us like this?!)
Also, loose-fitting clothes don't trap bacteria, so even when you sweat you won't necessarily develop bad body odour. Yay, because the oversized/boyfriend look is still in anyway.When choosing underwear, rather opt for cotton because it absorbs moisture better and prevents infections. Hmmm, back to those 5-pack cotton undies our moms bought us when we were kids then or maybe an excuse to finally buy a Calvin Klein set?