When your body odour overtakes and assaults your senses, the first inclination is to run for the antiperspirant deodorants. These work by blocking your sweat glands and killing every living thing in that rich environment of your armpits. Sometimes even these wear thin after only a few hours. Then the more antiperspirant you use, the more you need. The problem with this is it can come with long-term health effects. Just another thing to worry about.
Know your whole body is working to conspire against you to make you smell and you need a many-sided approach to addressing your odorous flavour.
Before you run for the antiperspirant.
1. Regular washing
Stepping under the shower and sudsing up reduces the oil and bacterial build-up on the skin. It’s best to use a gentle body wash with a lower pH than regular soap to look after your skin’s protective acid mantle, plus avoid harsh scrubbing or exfoliating too often to keep the integrity of the skin and its natural defences intact. Make sure you dry well to remove excess moisture away from your natural skin bacteria. This also includes regular washing of clothing and bedding, which brings us to the next point.
2. Wearing natural fibres
Clothing, such as cotton, linen, wool or bamboo allows your skin to breathe. The environmental benefits of natural fibres are an added bonus. Avoid blends with natural and synthetic, such as cotton/polyester. Wearing synthetic fibres can be likened to wearing a plastic bag.
Synthetic fibres are a water repellent, while natural fibres absorb the moisture from your body which then evaporates into the air in a process called wicking. Synthetic fibres don’t allow the air to flow through to your skin to keep it drier and fresher. The moisture becomes trapped on your skin under synthetic clothing. The bacteria responsible for the stench grow more readily in moist environments and also on synthetic fibres like nylon, elastane and polyester.
Keep your natural clothing lightweight and not too tight to avoid clinging to your body for maximum airflow. Consider the colouring of your clothing that it doesn’t show up the sweat marks.
There are sporting clothes made from specially designed polyester with moisture-wicking properties. Make sure if your workout gear is synthetic that you’re getting the breathable sort.
Natural fibres are good to remember for bedding fabrics too. No synthetic blends: a-la nat-ur-al all the way.
Another tip to get the BO smell out of clothing is to use an enzyme-based detergent on either cold or warm wash.
3. Gut health
These two words can strike terror into the modern world with all our over-processed foods, high sugar consumption and over-use of antibiotics. Our illnesses prove it. Body odour can be a symptom of nutrients not getting digested or absorbed properly in the intestinal tract.
When your digestive system isn’t working to full capacity, there will be an increase in toxin load. The body then has to work to get rid of these, either through the urinary tract, bowel, respiratory tract or skin. Improving your gut health can reduce that overall toxin load and help the organs process the toxins out of your body as they were designed to.
You might have come across all manner of diets out there that purport to be good for gut health. However, these diets are often in conflict, citing real evidence to support opposing views. Carbs/no carbs; meat/no meat; fat/no fat.
Amid all the confusing advice about which diet to follow, we can use some basic principles for gut health. Drastically decrease sugar intake – primarily refined sugars. Increase naturally fermented foods that contain live probiotics such as live-cultured kefir or yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso, tempeh to name a few of the main ones.
Probiotic supplements will also improve the balance of good bacteria in your gut. Steer clear of highly processed foods with cocktails of additives in them. You might be surprised when you read ingredient labels.
If you have serious health and digestion issues, it would be best to get a specific diagnosis for your situation by seeking the advice of a GP who is biomedically trained and practices integrative medicine.
4. The foods you eat
Particular foods are also thought to affect your body odour. One study showed amounts of meat included in the diet could affect body odour. Some of the other culprits thought to adversely affect body odour include cabbage, spices, onions, fish and alcohol.
Results of a study published in 2016 indicated that garlic is not the bad guy that most people assume. Despite making your breath a little whiffy, higher consumption of garlic was found to have good effects on body odour and make it more attractive, perhaps due to its health effects, such as antioxidant properties and antimicrobial activity.
Before we all blame individual foods, best to check the above note about gut health and choose foods with as least processing as possible. It’s not necessarily what you eat but what you absorb.
Another important factor is to drink enough water. Water keeps all the systems in your body functioning properly, with each person’s needs being individual. Heidi Godman from Harvard recommends drinking fluids gradually throughout the day and increase this more if you are sweating.
5. Wear Aluminium-free Deodorant
Yes, for the love of all that is good and sweet-smelling, wear deodorant. Everybody is different when it comes to body odour. Skin chemistry and a whole host of other factors differ from person to person in the B.O. department.
However, before reaching for the aluminium-based antiperspirant to nuke the smell and everything else under there, consider natural alternatives that will promote the overall health of your body and not shut down natural processes. Toxins are prevented from being released through the sweat glands under your arms each time you whack on the aluminium antiperspirants. Those toxins get recirculated around your body to cause you even more grief.
Be aware that just because a product says it’s all-natural or aluminium-free doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for your skin. Arsenic is natural, poison ivy is natural. A lot of deodorants in this category use sodium bicarbonate or magnesium hydroxide or ethanol alcohol to keep the BO-causing bacteria at bay. When used as a main ingredient and left on your skin, they corrode away and damage the protective acid layer of your skin and takes a few weeks to a few months to heal. During this time of stopping with these products, the BO-bacteria can go nuts.
Lavilin deodorants use a combination of gentle herbal extracts and probiotics to nourish the skin and reduce the odour-causing bacteria without harsh chemicals. No aluminium, no parabens, no ethanol alcohol, no phthalates, no paraben preservatives. No more smell. For up to 7 days. Showering, swimming and exercising don’t wear it out. Lavilin underarm deodorant cream is the longest-lasting deodorant in the world. Confidence to put your arms up.