Body Odour

What is Body Odour?


Body odour can be very embarrassing when you have to move around with people all the time. Body odour is the repulsive smell caused by bacteria multiplying in the sweat produced by the human body. While body odour is caused due to hygiene factors, an individual’s body odour is influenced by his diet, lifestyle, gender, genetics causes, state of health and medication taken. Children rarely suffer from body odour as the bacteria causing odour proliferate in the sweat and secretions of adolescent and adult humans.


What are the causes of Body Odour?


1.   Lack of personal hygiene: The most common cause of body odour is lack of cleanliness and personal hygiene. A daily bath is essential to wash away the dirt accumulated on the skin as also to wash away sweat and oily secretions on skin. If this is not done, bacteria thrive on body secretions and emit foul odour.

2.   Climatic conditions: It is essential for the body to sweat to control body temperature. In times of stress or high temperatures, the body secretes more sweat which evaporates on the surface of the skin and brings down the body temperature. To prevent body odour, taking a bath twice a day is essential under these conditions.

3.   Non absorbent Clothing: Natural fibres like cotton and linen allow air to circulate against skin and prevent build-up of sweat. Synthetic fabrics prevent air circulation against the skin and trap heat and sweat, which are ideal conditions for bacteria to breed and cause body odour.

4.   Dietary factors: A diet which has an abundance of meat based foods causes the body to secrete sweat which turns malodorous when acted upon by bacteria. Intake of at least 8 glasses of water is a must to ensure hydration of the body and to prevent malodorous sweat as water flushes out wastes and impurities from the body.

5.   Hirsutism: If a person has excess hair on his or her body, it tends to trap sweat and encourage bacteria causing body odour. People suffering from these conditions should keep body parts clean and make sure to take at least 2 baths daily to keep them clean and dry.


Prevention of Body Odour


  1. The easiest way to prevent body odour is to take bath once or twice a day and wear clean, laundered clothes. The cloth should be absorbent and be able to keep the skin dry.

  2. Use of an anti-bacterial soap also helps prevent body odour.

  3. Ensuring intake of 8-10 glasses of water a day, cutting down on caffeine and alcohol and meat based foods are dietary changes which help prevent body odour.

  4. A solution of baking soda in water or diluted with alum can be applied in the armpits and between the toes to get rid of embarrassing body odour.

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