Everyone smells less-than-wonderful from time to time. Use these tips to stop body odor in its tracks.
Occasional body odor can be embarrassing; chronic body odor can be downright isolating. Read on to discover some tricks for reducing your own smell factor.
Keep yourself clean
It may seem like a no-brainer, but showering or bathing daily rinses away bacteria and removes dead skin cells, a favorite snack of odor-causing bacteria. Be sure to scrub between your toes and to towel off completely afterwards. Bacteria love moisture.
Just because your clothes, towels and bed linens don’t look dirty doesn’t mean they aren’t due for a wash. Change your linen frequently (at least once a week) and wash your clothes after wearing them for any length of time. In addition to smelling “stale,” unwashed clothes and linens have accumulated dead skin cells and body oils, creating a hospitable environment for stinky bacteria. For especially smelly laundry, add half a cup of white vinegar to the wash.
Wear natural fabrics
Clothing made from cotton, wool, bamboo and linen is more likely to absorb moisture and will allow air to circulate so that sweat can dry. Wearing looser-fitting clothes can help prevent moisture from being trapped against the skin.
Wipe your underarms and other smell-prone areas with witch hazel, which modifies your skin’s pH and makes it less inviting to bacteria. In addition, witch hazel acts as a skin tightener, which may help shrink pores and reduce overall sweat secretion.
After a bath, try dusting your feet and underarms with a little baking soda, which absorbs odor and can keep you smelling fresh.
One common dietary problem among people with body odor problems is a deficiency in zinc and magnesium. Zinc is secreted in bodily fluids as an antiseptic and is part of your body’s defense system against germs. Magnesium is an essential component of hundreds of enzymes. Body odor may indicate that you aren’t getting enough of the proper vitamins and minerals in your diet.
Soak your feet
If smelly feet are your problem, soak them in a basin of salt water. After soaking, don’t rinse your feet — just dry them off. The salt residue that remains on your skin will help create an unfavorable habitat for the bacteria that cause foot odor.
Think of it as washing your insides: Drinking plenty of water flushes toxins from the body and helps to keep things in balance. For an extra odor-fighting boost, add a shot of wheatgrass juice. The chlorophyll helps to neutralize toxins and is also a natural antiseptic, which can help keep you smelling fresh.
Make dietary changes
Everyone knows that onion, garlic and curry have a tendency to make us smell, well, like onions, garlic or curry. But diets rich in meat, especially beef and pork, can also contribute negatively to body odor, according to a 2006 study published in the Oxford Journal.
Cut down on caffeine
Reducing your intake of coffee, caffeinated soft drinks and chocolate might help you smell better. Caffeine consumption contributes to unpleasant odors by stimulating apocrine sweat glands, which produce a fatty sweat that bacteria love to eat.