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13.03.2020 Feature Article

Body Odor; How To Prevent A Bad Body Odor.

How To Reduce Body Odor
Body Odor; How To Prevent A Bad Body Odor.
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Sweat per se, is odorless; it is skin bacteria that feed on sweat, and release smelly waste products.

Sweat is secreted by the sweat glands in the skin. There are 2 types of sweat glands: Eccrine sweat glands and the Apocrine sweat glands.

. Eccrine Glands
Eccrine glands are found in all skin areas including the forehead, palms and soles of the feet

Eccrine glands produce sweat (mainly, salt water) to cool the body.

Occasionally, if sweat stays too long in certain skin areas like toe webs, it can lead to local skin maceration. Skin bacteria may feed on the soften skin and release a foul-smelling, skin products.

Apocrine Glands
Apocrine glands are found in hairy areas of the skin, mainly the armpits and groin.

Apocrine glands become functionally active after puberty; they are responsible for most skin odors.

. Apocrine glands do not contribute much towards body heat control. The eccrine glands do that.

Stress, Pain, and Excitement may cause the apocrine glands to release their secretions into hair follicles.

Apocrine secretions are feasted upon by skin bacteria, to yield volatile and offensive waste products that cause body odor.

Each individual has their personal body odors (based on their age, the type of skin bacteria present, the kind of food they ingest).

Body odor may not be a major problem if the skin could be kept dry and bacteria-free.

Those who sweat profusely tend to have more Apocrine glands and they are at a higher risk for body odor, more so, if they don’t change clothes frequently.

Men have more of the Apocrine glands than women.
We could keep body odors low, in three ways
. By reducing the bacteria population in the armpit, groin, and on macerated skins.

. By keeping skin, especially, the armpit, groin and toe webs, dry.

. By wearing dry and clean clothes,
. Keep the skin clean by having a bath every day.
. Wash the armpits, groin and areas under the breast (if you sweat) at least twice a day with ordinary soap and water.

. Scrub the underarms, groin with freshly-cut lemon juice. Freshly-cut lemon fruit juice has a pH of around 2 and that makes the scrubbed surfaces uninhabitable for skin bacteria.

Apocrine secretions and skin bacteria get attached to hair shafts. Shave the armpits and groin to reduce the bacteria load in these areas.

Wear breathable fabric.
Sweat gets attached to hair shafts; Shaving the armpits and groin allows sweat to escape from the skin faster

. Wear natural clothing materials like cotton and wool. Cotton, woolen clothes allow easy passage of sweat from the skin into the surrounding air and cool the body.

Synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, rayon and acrylic are good for cold weather conditions only. They are not breathable; they retain sweat and skin bacteria.

Synthetic clothing materials begin to emit bad sweat odor, when they are worn continuously, for longer than half-a-day.

. Apply topical Drying agents
. Aluminum chloride-based products like Drysol, inhibit sweat production. They can be applied to sweaty areas like the underarms, hands and feet

. Cornstarch (absorb sweat)
. Regular use of antiperspirant deodorant helps to protect against sweat and skin odor.

Sweat and skin bacteria stick unto the clothes. If you sweat earlier in the day and continue to wear that same cloth for a several hours, the clothes would begin to emit offensive smell.

Change your clothes every day, and preferably twice daily if you sweat.

. Wash clothing after a single short-time use if you sweat a lot. Skin bacteria could still, feed on the sweat on clothes and emit a bad odor.

. Wear clean clothes only. Change or remove sweaty clothing promptly.

. When washing clothes, apply a pre-treatment chemical like Baking soda or vinegar, to heavy sweat areas before washing the entire clothes. Turn your clothes inside out

. Smell the washed clothes to ensure the smell is gone, prior to drying them.

. Dry washed clothes in the sun, if you can. UV-light helps kill bacteria.

Alex Sarkodie MD
Alex Sarkodie MD, © 2020

Alex Sarkodie,MBChB has over 30 years experience in the field of MedicineColumn: AlexSarkodie

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