What’s That Smell? Demystifying Body Odour

There’s an unseen but definitely smelled epidemic of bromhidrosis that we all need to talk about. It is quite often a taboo subject for people to talk about so we’ll help and we’ll need you to help by sharing this as widely as you can.
You may be familiar with it, the odd scent that trails that person who walks into the room and it seems an extra presence surrounds them.
See, there is a certain smell that the body can give off when bacteria that live on the skin break sweat down. If you have the smell you may not know that you do but others definitely notice.
You may have body odour and we are here to tell you. And help you tell others. Here’s some information to understand the condition or to help someone you know who might have it.
Is body odour normal?
No, it really isn’t. Bromhidrosis, that’s the medical term for body odour, often kicks in at puberty because of hormones called androgens; these hormones are not active until puberty. This is why teenagers stink up the house and need good hygiene more than ever.
Body odour is usually associated with the armpits, but it can also occur in the feet, groin, belly button, upper thighs and around the anus.
People who are obese or who regularly eat spicy foods, as well individuals with medical conditions like diabetes are even more susceptible to having body odour.
Check your sweat
Sweating is how our bodies regulate temperature and with our weather here in Nigeria, you are likely to sweat a little bit every day. Even more so when you work out or even just walk outside.
Your skin’s bacteria multiply rapidly when sweat lingers on your skin and body odour is often from the breakdown of keratin protein on the surface of the skin.
Thoroughly washing the skin with soap and a sponge, especially the areas prone to sweating can help control body odour in general.
Prevention & Control
In general and for armpit body odour, these tips should help:

  • Keep the armpits clean by washing and shaving regularly. Anti-bacterial soap can help keep the bacteria on your skin at low levels
  • Deodorants or antiperspirant: Deodorants make the skin more acidic so bacteria don’t thrive. An antiperspirant helps reduce sweating
  • Limit the use of spices, like curry or garlic, in food because they can make your sweat smell
  • Some evidence suggests that eating a lot of red meat tends to make body odour worse

While smelly feet are less of a problem socially than underarm odour, taking off shoes can unleash a wave of pungent odour. This may get awkward if you visit a home where shoes are taken off before entering.
The following may help control foot odour:

  • Wash your feet with warm water at least once a day and make sure to dry them thoroughly afterward, including between your toes.
  • Wear a clean pair of socks each day. They should be made of natural fibres like wool or cotton that breathe and allow the sweat evaporate.
  • Do not wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. Give them a full day to dry out.
  • Exfoliate your feet to remove any dead skin that may encourage bacteria to thrive.
  • Ask your pharmacist for special foot deodorants and antiperspirants but not if you have athlete’s foot. Treat the fungal infection with appropriate medication.
  • Walk barefoot: Whenever you can, walk barefoot or at least slip out of your shoes regularly.

Please share these with someone else if you found them useful.

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