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How pathetic is it when you find yourself next to a passenger whose body odor is so bad that you can hardly contain yourself? Sometimes many passengers smell so incredibly bad that other passengers get almost sick. Body odor is an unpleasant smell our bodies emit when bacteria that live on the skin turn sweat into acids and it is increased when we wear confining skin tight clothes for a long time. It is also known as bromhidrosis, osmidrosis and ozochrotia.
The sweat glands of our body produce sweat which produces a watery fluid containing substances like proteins and lipids. Five million sweat glands are located all over the skin of our body. There are two types of sweat glands on the skin- apocrine and eccrine.
Mechanism of Sweating
The apocrine is a sweat gland made of a coiled secretory portion located at the junction of the dermis and subcutaneous fat and it is found in the skin, breast, eyelid, ear, wings of the nostril, perianal region and some parts of the external genitalia. The eccrine sweat glands are not connected to the hair follicle, and they are major sweat glands of the human body, found all over the skin with the highest density in palms and soles. Sweat itself is odorless, but the rapid multiplication of bacteria in the presence of sweat causes the unpleasant smell. Body odor becomes evident when a person reaches puberty.
In the case of females, the age limit is 14-16 years and in case of males it is 15-17 years of age. Body odor has a specific smell and can be used effectively by dogs and other animals to identify people, and it is proven that diet, gender, health and medication also influence each person’s unique body odor. Two types of acid are present when there is body odor- propionic acid and isovaleric acid. Propionic acid is a breakdown product of some amino acids by propioni bacteria.
Propioni bacteria live in the ducts of the sebaceous glands of adult and adolescent humans. As propionic acid is similar to acetic acid, many people identify vinegar-like smell in this acid. The apocrine glands are mainly responsible for body odor because the sweat they produce contains high levels of protein which bacteria can easily break down.
Causes of Sweating
Sweating is the body’s mechanism to keep cool and it also plays a major role in preventing the body from overheating during exercise or exertion. It is an essential and natural biological process that commences soon after we are born. Generally our body produces almost 1 litre of sweat everyday but most of it evaporates as soon as it is produced.
Presence of Hyperhidrosis
Hyperhidrosis means excessive sweating, and it is also known as polyhidrosis or sudorrhea. The excessive sweating can be localized in specific parts of the body, and most cases of excessive sweating start during a person’s adolescence. The hands, feet, armpits and the groin area are the most active areas of perspiration. For the 2%-3% of the population who have hyperhidrosis, the sweat glands don’t shut off. They sweat even when they are in air conditioning or even when they are sitting or watching television, or they are in a swimming pool. There are two types of hyperhidrosis- primary hyperhidrosis and secondary hyperhidrosis.
Focal hyperhidrosis or primary hyperhidrosis refers to excessive sweating which affects specific areas like the hands, underarms, face, feet and head. When excessive sweating is localized it is called focal or primary hyperhidrosis, and it often begins in childhood or adolescence. Though people with primary hyperhidrosis have periods of excessive sweating at least once a week, they usually don’t experience excessive sweating while sleeping. It has been proven that primary hyperhidrosis may be inherited, and many members of the family may suffer from this condition.
People with primary hyperhidrosis generally sweat from eccrine sweat glands and these glands make up the majority of the 2-4 million sweat glands in the body. Numerous eccrine sweat glands are found on the feet, palms, armpits and face. The nerves activate the sweat glands in some specific occasions like- when your body is overheated, when you are moving around, when you are feeling emotional or anxious.
When too much sweating affects the entire body, it is called secondary generalized hyperhidrosis. The people with secondary hyperhidrosis often experience their sweating symptoms while sleeping, and it usually commences in adulthood. It is caused by medical conditions or is a side effect of medication. A number of medical conditions like pregnancy, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, menopause, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, lymphoma, gout, infection can cause secondary hyperhidrosis.
When people with diabetes experience a dip in blood sugar, the body releases adrenaline, in an attempt to raise blood sugar and in addition to the symptoms of shakiness and anxiety, adrenaline also causes the body to start sweating profusely. Hot flashes are a common symptom associated with the menopause. Intense heat starts in your chest and rises to your neck and head, and it is proven that hot flushes and night sweats happen as a result of changing estrogen levels. If you are overweight, you may sweat more compared to other people.
Natural Remedies to Prevent Body Odor
Using these easily available home remedies can go a long way in helping to get rid of nagging body odor and keep you fresh throughout the day.
Vinegar can be effectively used to control body smell. It helps change the pH of the skin so that the odor causing bacteria cannot thrive. Vinegar can be used in various ways to control body odor.
Apply vinegar with water under your arms to keep it dry and reduces underarm smell all day long, and it actually acts better than deodorant. Store vinegar in a sprayer and spray it under your arms to reduce body smell after having bath but don’t use deodorant after using vinegar. Some people soak their feet in a dilute vinegar solution to treat foot fungus and this acidic environment also discourages the bacteria that contribute to body odor.
Baking Soda can absorb sweat and reduce body odor by reducing moisture from the skin. It kills bacteria and acts like a natural deodorant. Baking soda works effectively for treating dull, limp hair and its adds volume and shine to hair strands as well. There are various ways to control body odor by using baking soda. A mixture of baking soda and lemon juice is really effective when you apply it to your underarms and other body parts where you sweat immensely.
Cornstarch is an absorbent ingredient which can absorb even more than baking soda. You can apply the mixture of cornstarch and baking soda after taking bath to control underarm smell. You can use this mixture directly to your dry underarms to prevent sweating, as well as bad odor of your underarm. It can give you protection for several hours.
Rosemary herb has amazing benefits in this regard. It contains menthol and chlorophyll which helps immensely to prevent the growth of odor causing bacteria. It is widely used in Italian cooking and can kill bacteria and fungi. It acts as a natural deodorant that reduces strong body odor and also lends a nice fragrance to your body. The presence of zinc in it also aids to reduce bad smell of our body.
There are different ways to use rosemary to control body odor problems. To get a very effective result, take half a cup of dried rosemary leaves and add it to 4 cups of water. Then wait for sometimes and apply it to the water of your bath. Rosemary dried powder also helps fight body odor and keeps you fragrant throughout the day.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Vinegar immensely helps to control pH level of the skin and apple cider vinegar is a well-known ingredient that fights against bacteria. Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is really beneficial to our health, and you can also drink it for better results. You can use it in various ways to control body odor problems. By adding a cup of apple cider vinegar in your bath and soaking it for 8-10 minutes, you can easily cure sunburns, and it also aids to fight against bacteria causing body odor.
Mix apple cider vinegar with water and have it three times before meals daily to reduce excessive sweating. Add apple cider vinegar with warm water and soak your feet in this water for 15 minutes to reduce the level of foot odor. Rub your underarms with apple cider vinegar before having a shower to control underarm smell, for best results.
The acidic property of lemon juice helps lower the skin’s pH level that helps immensely to fight against body odor-causing bacteria. Lemon is a natural bleach that helps in removing suntan too. In addition to all these benefits, it can be used by even those who cannot tolerate vinegar. You can use it in various ways to prevent body odor. Cut one fresh lemon into two halves, and then take one-half of the lemon and rub it under your arms to reduce underarm smell.
Those who have sensitive skins can dilute the juice from half a lemon in one cup of water and apply it to your underarms with the help of a cotton ball and you can see the improvement if it is used on a regular basis.
It is an antibacterial herb which can prevent bacteria from thriving on your skin, and it reduces sweating. It acts as a natural deodorant which belongs to the rosemary family containing an aromatic compound, camphor and volatile oils like diosmetin, luteolin, apigenin and rosemarinic acid. By using sage herb regularly, you can reduce body odor, and there are numerous ways to use it effectively.
Mix some sage oil with olive oil; apply it to your underarms to reduce underarm smell. Use sage herb as a body wash by mixing it with water but always wash your hands after using sage herb. The drinking of sage tea also helps a lot to reduce sweating.
Keep yourself fresh and fragrant and say goodbye to embarrassing body odor with these natural remedies and don’t forget to share your beauty tips with us.
Image Sources: sweatthroughit.com, healthcare.gg, dermquest.com, draxe.com, healthy-holistic-living.com, thesleuthjournal.com, facialexercisesguide.com.