We all sweat, and if we've reached puberty, it always starts smelling after a while. Some of us sweat more than others, and some of us — frankly put — stink more than others as well, however. If you've ever looked for answers, you'll likely have received the "extremely helpful" advice to shower more often, with soap of course, and to change your clothes frequently. Yeah. You hadn't tried that already, right?
You've Got Two Kinds Of Sweat Glands
- Eccrine glands, which are all over the body, serve to regulate your body temperature by cooling you down. The sweat that comes from these glands consists primarily of water and sodium, and doesn't smell unpleasant.
- Apocrine glands produce a fatty sweat when you work out or engage in other vigorous physical activities, when you're stressed, or when your body gets way too hot. This is the kind of sweat that causes a bad smell. Bacteria break it down, causing nasty odors.
What Makes Your Body Odor The Way It Is?
Did you know that research has found that body odor is pretty unique, and that it is quite important in that it influences people's impressions of you, including sexual impression?
Numerous factors influence what your body odor smells like.
Apart from genetics, a clearly non-modifiably factor, things like the foods you eat (meat, alcohol, garlic and other spices), obesity, diabetes, and medications like antidepressants can all aggravate your body odor. A hormonal imbalance, heart disease, kidney problems, and even a thyroid disorder can also change your body odor. This is why it's always good to see a doctor if you have noticed that you are suddenly more stinky.
Hyperhidrosis, a condition that causes excessive sweating, can also play a role in an especially pungent body odor, because you sweat more when you have hyperhidrosis. People who think they sweat much more than others should also seek medical attention.
How Are Excessive Sweating And Excessive Body Odor Treated?
If you have hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, treatment can consist of:
- Medications that make your skin drier
- Iontophoresis, a kind of electro-treatment
- Microwave thermolysis, a kind of heat therapy
Excessive body odor is harder to treat. I would advise anyone dealing with it to first seek medical attention to rule out more serious causes such as those above. If you are cleared of those, then you will have to experiment with different lifestyle modifications that may lessen your body odor:
- Try a deodorant with zinc
- Try an antiperspirant rather than a deodorant
- Wear garments made of natural fabrics — avoid synthetics
- Try to cut down on meat, alcohol, and spices
- Try to lose weight
- Some people suggest applying baby powder or cornstarch under the arms
- Shave your armpits
- Wash with an antibacterial soap often
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