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7 Effective Ways To Stop Body Odor

SPECIAL FROM Grandparents.com

Ewwwww, Grandma, you smell bad!”

Your worst nightmare, right? Who wants to be the grandparents kids hate to visit because they have body odor? You’re not alone—in a study done by Sentient Decision Science, 46% of people asked said they’d willingly shave ten years off their life rather then be perceived as smelly. Another 76% said they’d rather gain weight than have chronic body odor.

Three glands are responsible for body odor. The secretions of the apocrine glands (located the underarms, genitals, and around the nipples) and the eccrine glands (found mainly in underarms, hands, and feet) produce an odor when they interact with skin bacteria. Oil produced by the sebaceous glands (scalp, face, and chest) has a light odor with or without bacteria.

What can you do to chase the stinkies away? You know the basics—bathe daily with antibacterial or deodorant soap (twice a day, if you have to), wash pitted out, sweaty clothes, and use underarm protection. But here’s some other ideas that can help keep you smelling fresh.

  • 1 Watch what you eat
    Certain foods have the potential to make our sweat more pungent. A diet high in the red meat increases body odor as does curr
    Shutterstock
    Certain foods have the potential to make our sweat more pungent. A diet high in the red meat increases body odor as does curry, garlic, and other spicy foods. “We don't fully digest garlic, curry and onions so they leave the pores with the sweat and create a strong smell,” explains Debra Jaliman, MD, author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist.
  • 2 Shave your underarms
    If you have a lot of hair under your arms, it slows the evaporation of sweat so that you have more bacteria. (If your crotch
    Shutterstock
    If you have a lot of hair under your arms, it slows the evaporation of sweat so that you have more bacteria. (If your crotch area is a problem, consider waxing. And take pit stops, meaning, if you exercise a lot or sweat a lot, wash under your arms a few times a day and change clothing.
  • 3 Wear breathable clothing
    Natural fibers (linen, silk, cotton, light wool like merino) can breathe and decrease sweating. Also some of the high-tech fi
    Shutterstock
    Natural fibers (linen, silk, cotton, light wool like merino) can breathe and decrease sweating. Also some of the high-tech fibers wick away moisture. Many exercise clothing now offer high-tech fabric that wicks away moisture from the body, so bacteria doesn’t have a chance to get at the sweat. (Clothing tags will identify them.) Dressing in layers also helps soak up the sweat.
  • 4 Use antiperspirant and deodorant
    An antiperspirant blocks the sweating action while deodorants have fragrance to mask the smell. Deodorants also make the skin
    Shutterstock
    An antiperspirant blocks the sweating action while deodorants have fragrance to mask the smell. Deodorants also make the skin more acidic, making it less hospitable for bacteria. If a regular product doesn’t work for you, try a stronger over-the-counter antiperspirant such as Secret Clinical Strength, Gillette Clinical, or Certain-Dri.
  • 5 Apply twice
    Studies have shown that applying deodorant in the morning on dry skin and at night before bed makes a big difference. Night-t
    Shutterstock
    Studies have shown that applying deodorant in the morning on dry skin and at night before bed makes a big difference. Night-time application allows the ingredients to get into the sweat glands and clog them, as opposed to the morning, when sweat glands may already be full.
  • 6 Don't fear aluminum
    Some people avoid deodorants because they’ve heard bad things about the ingredient aluminum chloride. However, according to D
    Shutterstock
    Some people avoid deodorants because they’ve heard bad things about the ingredient aluminum chloride. However, according to Dr. Jaliman, who is also assistant clinical professor of dermatology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, there have been no conclusive studies that prove aluminum chloride causes health problems. If you prefer natural products, try Tom’s of Maine or Crystal Body Deodorants.
  • 7 Change shoes often
    If foot odor is your problem, give shoes a chance to dry inside by changing them often. Dust them and your feet with foot pow
    Shutterstock
    If foot odor is your problem, give shoes a chance to dry inside by changing them often. Dust them and your feet with foot powder to maintain dryness.

If the smell still persists...

See a physician about underlying disease. The smell can be caused by hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) or trimethylaminuria (a.k.a. fish odor syndrome), a metabolic disorder that prevents the body from breaking down a smelly compound called trimethylamine. “Diabetes, tuberculosis, Parkinson's disease, and cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma also can cause excessive sweating,” says Dr. Jaliman.

  • Ask about a prescription antiperspirant. Talk to your dermatologist about Drysol or Xerac, which have higher aluminum concentrations.
  • Think about Botox. Botox injections shrink sweat glands on hands, feet and armpits. The effect lasts on average for about eight months.
  • Consider electromagnetic therapy. For people with hyperhidrosis, a new procedure called miraDry, uses controlled, directed electromagnetics to destroy underarm sweat glands. (This cannot be used on other parts of the body.)
  • Get underarm surgery. It you are really desperate, various types of surgeries – excision, liposuction and laser – can remove sweat glands in the surface fat.

One more thing you should know:

There is such a thing as "old person smell." (Remember how you'd visit your own grandparents and they would have a certain smell to them? Even thinking about it, you can probably recall the smell.) Researchers believe that as we age, our body chemistry ages along with us. But the great news: According to a recent study, people find "old person smell" pleasant rather than gross! Maybe you don't need that deodorant after all!

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