During a recent visit to Mumbai, I took my girls for a ride in the local trains. This was a totally nostalgic ride for me. I used to travel to college and then to work by train and all the smells, the sound, the vendors in the train, all of it brought back some wonderful memories While I was excitedly describing it all to the girls, they were like how could you like this mom, this place has such a weird smell.
This got me back to reality and I could get all the smells too, mostly because it was very humid and everyone around was perspiring. I remembered how we always had a deodorant in our bags and was used generously after every train ride. No one wants to smell bad. And body odour is generally linked with poor hygiene and often made fun of. But that is not always the case.
So, what is Body Odour?
Body odour is the unpleasant smell produced by bacteria on the skin that breakdown the acids in your sweat. The medical term is bromhidrosis. Anyone post-puberty can suffer from BO as the apocrine sweat glands develop post-puberty, which produces the sweat that bacteria can quickly breakdown. Each of us has a distinct odour, which sometimes is sweet too, but under conditions that promote the bacteria to breakdown acids, this odour starts to turn foul.
Causes of Body Odour
Improper hygiene is one of the causes of Body odor. When hygiene is not maintained, pores of the skin are blocked due to the accumulation of dry and dead cells. This causes bacteria accumulation on the skin which eventually causes the body odour.
Usage of expired or substandard cosmetic products – makeup, lotions, soaps etc. which is again related to improper hygiene
Too much of non-vegetarian food in the diet especially red meat and shrimps also are responsible for BO.
An improper diet consisting of too much of fried food, too much garlic consumption or too many sweets t increases the chances of BO. A weak digestive system and constipation are another major cause. Too much consumption is also one of the major causes of BO
Conditions like hyperthyroidism, menopause, liver and kidney diseases and diabetes cause the sweat consistency to be different and thus are prone to BO too. Antidepressant consumption, as well as certain other medications, also cause BO. Fungal infections are also responsible for causing BO
Cure and preventive measures
Taking care of your diet, some changes to personal hygiene practices as well as some lifestyle changes can go a long way in curing and preventing BO
Changes to Diet
- Reduce the non-vegetarian consumption especially red meat.
- Use homemade clarified butter (desi ghee) or olive oil instead of saturated fat (Vanaspati ghee) or oils
- Zinc deficiency leads to body odour. So, consume foods rich in Zn like spinach, cashews, pumpkin seeds, kidney beans, flax seeds peanuts etc. http://bembu.com/foods-high-in-zinc
- Have lots of curds, fiber-rich food, fruits and juices if you are constipated.
- Avoid the amount of spicy food that you eat and alcohol consumption
Have 10 tulsi leaves every morning with a glass of water. This helps in purifying the blood.
- This goes without saying – have a warm water bath or shower everyday
- While having a bath, wash armpits, groin areas, genitals, area around the belly button and behind the ear since these areas are most prone to BO
- If you have a lot of hair in the armpits then it is a good idea to shave/wax or use any other hair removal methods it regularly
- Boil neem leaves in water and use that water at least once or twice a week for a bath. Neem helps get rid of bacteria and thus helps eliminate and prevent body odour
- A hydrotherapy practice of having an Epsom salt bath at least once a week helps get rid of body odour
Using a scrub made from dried neem leaves for your daily bath s very effective in curing and preventing body odour
- Avoid using antiperspirants. These block your pores and eventually lead to body odour problems. Instead, use deodorants. Here is a list of natural deodorants available in India that can be used. (This list has been created by Safiyah on her blog Thebeautyinsideout)
- Wear Natural fibers like cotton or linen since these fabrics allow your skin to breathe and won’t trap the sweat but help it evaporate quickly as compared to other fabrics
- Do not sleep with makeup on. Use a good cleanser/ makeup remover.
- Exercise regularly and get adequate sleep since this helps your body to function well and prevents BO
Body odour is something that is generally made fun of and is the butt of many jokes. This could lead to low self-esteem, anxiety or depression. Thus, it is essential to try to detect the causes quickly and work on the remedies. If the above remedies do not work, please get medical help