Body Odor

Body Odor, which is scientifically named bromhidrosis, osmidrosis or ozochrotia, is the foul smell the human body emits when acid from sweat breaks down the bacteria present in the skin. Body odor usually develops during puberty, around 13 to 16 years old in females, and 13 to 17 years old in males. People who consume too much spicy foods and those who have medical issues such as obesity and diabetes are more susceptible to develop body odor.

Excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis can also cause body odor. Although sweat is odorless, body odor comes from the acids from sweat which breaks down the bacteria in human skin. There are two kinds of acids that commonly cause bad odor. The first is Propionic acid (propanoic acid), which inhibits the sebaceous glands of adolescent people. This acid gives off odor similar to vinegar which is commonly associated with the odor of teenagers. Second is the Isovaleric acid (3-methyl butanoic acid), which gives off odor similar to cheese. The foul smell is caused by the Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria.

Human body is composed of four million sweat glands, which are classified into Eccrine glands and Apocrine glands. Eccrine glands are simple sweat glands that are found everywhere there is skin. These glands are responsible for maintaining proper temperature of the body every time we sweat. Apocrine glands are found in nipples of breasts, eyelids, armpits, ears, groins and genitals. Apocrine glands in breast help form milk during pregnancy. Apocrine glands in the ears help form earwax.


In humans, body odor is commonly caused by bacteria and sweat. The interaction of these two components results to a foul smell that we usually associate with body odor

• Food also causes body odor. The various nutrients that we get from different foods are vital in maintaining proper health. However, some of these nutrients also produce foul smell that is secreted in our skin. Organic compounds digested by our body often produce foul smell that is released through our skin as we sweat. Foods that are regularly blamed for producing body odor include meat, beans, and eggs, garlic, onion, cheese, yogurt, asparagus, and most herbs and spices. In addition, excessive consumption of a single kind of food can lead to body odor.

• Many drugs and medicines can develop body odor, such as antipsychotic and antidepressant pills. Excessive intake of aspirin and acetaminophen may also develop excessive sweating.

• Hormonal change is also associated with body odor. Menopausal, which is one of the most common hormonal changes that women experience, produces hot flashes and excessive sweating. Hypogonadism, which occurs in males that produce low level of testosterone, can also lead to body odor due to excessive sweating and hot flashes.

• Genes also play crucial role in body odor issues. Studies reveal that people from East Asia tend to have fewer sweat glands, thus they are less susceptible in producing body odor. They also have less ear glands, thus they produce lesser earwax.

office colleague disgusted by body odor in the workplace


Body odor varies in every person. Some people have more sweat glands than other, while some also produce less sweat than most. To prevent body odor, you must first identify the early signs that your body is indeed producing foul smell. Below are the most common symptoms of body odor.

Canker Sores

• Sudden excessive sweating is experienced. You begin to produce more sweat than normal even if you don’t do tiring physical activities.

• Regular night sweats. You suddenly experience sweating while sleeping.

• Excessive sweating begins to interrupt your normal day to day routine and activities.

• You notice abnormal smell from your body.

Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Body Odor Fast

Body odor affects everyone and is a condition that must be treated immediately. People suffering body odor can experience low self-esteem and decreased self-confidence. It is a fact that the use of chemical based deodorants has increased over the years. Although effective, these deodorants can cause side effects due to harmful chemicals and substances. Fortunately, there are various natural remedies for body odor that you can conveniently do at home.

1. Practice Good Hygiene

The most practical and effective natural remedy for body odor is proper overall hygiene. In order to minimize sweating and formation of bacteria on the skin, take daily bath using antibacterial soap. Regular baths will relax the sweat glands while decreasing sweat production. Using potent antibacterial soap will kill most of the germs in human skin and prevent further infestation or infection.

Using lukewarm or hot water will also help in killing germs and bacteria. It is recommended to bathe in the morning before heading to work or daily activities. It is also vital to clean the body before going to sleep to remove all the dirt and germs accumulated during the day. Splashing the skin with cold water before heading out the shower room will also minimize sweat and oil production as the skin pores are closed by cold water.

It is also important to use clean towel after showering. Make sure that your towel has been washed properly and does not contain germs and bacteria that can be transferred to your skin. In addition, always wear clean clothes.

Other vital habits that you must also do routinely are regular hand washing to prevent spread of odor causing germs, and brushing your teeth after meals to prevent bad breath.

2. Remove Underarm Hair

Excessive hair can easily be a host for various odor causing germs and bacteria. Hair easily absorbs odor and trap it for long periods. Excessive hair can also prevent the evaporation of sweat. Instead of using chemical based deodorant, prevent foul underarm smell by shaving or removing hair.


For women, shaving entire underarm hair is common. Use a clean and lubricated shaver and avoid causing bumps and small cuts which may cause infection. For men, trimming underarm hair with clean scissors is the most common way to prevent foul smell.

3. Witch Hazel

Bacteria that forms in sweaty areas of the body such as armpits, joints, groin and genitals needs high skin pH level in order to thrive. One of the most effective ingredients that lowers skin pH is Witch Hazel.

Apply witch hazel to body parts that produce sweat and foul odors with a clean cotton ball. Do this after taking a bath and going to bed.

Hamamelis mollis Boskoop. A good yellow Witch Hazel for winter flowers.

4. Lemon and Vinegar

Like witch hazel, lemon and vinegar also effectively lower skin’s pH level.

Extract juice of large lemon and apply on the skin. You can also mix the lemon juice with a glass of warm water and drink during breakfast and night.

Hot bath with a few drops of lemon juice can also be done 3 to 4 times a week. Aside from lemon juice, vinegar such as apple cider vinegar can also be used as a deodorant.

5. Baking Soda and Cornstarch

Aside from being natural deodorants, baking soda and cornstarch have antibacterial properties which kill odor causing germs. Both can also minimize the production of sweat

After taking a bath, directly apply cornstarch or baking soda on armpits. You can also apply on joints and feet.

6. Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic that effectively kills odor causing germs. It also provides a sweet smell which makes it a safe deodorant alternative.

Apply directly on skin after taking a shower. Can be used daily.


Gii Santos
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Gii Santos

Gii is a full-time work at home mom to her 9 year old daughter and a new baby on the way. She is passionate about health and fitness and natural remedies for certain health conditions. She makes it a point to use eco-friendly products as a way to give back to the environment. Aside from mothering, her routine at home includes sewing, crafting, cooking, reading books, and designing.
Gii Santos
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