What Causes Body Odor? Common Causes, Plus How to Treat and Prevent It

Body odor – it’s something that embarrasses just about everyone.

Because of this, numerous manufacturers have sought to find ways to cover the smell, which has resulted in a multi-billion dollar deodorant industry.

What causes body odor in the first place? And is there anything that can be done to prevent it?

what causes body odour

What Causes Body Odor? Is It Possible to Prevent It?

You may think that sweat is the main cause of body odor. However, sweat itself is odorless. So what causes body odor? The culprits are bacteria and the Apocrine glands, glands that remain dormant until puberty and are present on the scalp, under the arms, and in the groin area.

The sweat produced by the Aprocine glands is different from the sweat produced on the majority of the body. That sweat is made up mostly of salt, whereas the sweat from the Aprocine glands is made up of protein and fat.

The bacteria on your skin break down the protein and fat molecules into acids, during which time an odor is released. This is why the sweat under the arms, groin, and scalp smells, while the sweat on the rest of the body (which is mostly salt) doesn’t.

Body Odor Treatment: 4 Ways to Gain the Upper Hand

Now that you know what causes body odor, your next question may be: How can I treat or prevent it?

Here are four steps you can take to stay fresh, clean, and odor-free:

1. Clean Susceptible Areas Regularly

This may seem like a no-brainer, but regular cleansing is essential for preventing body odor. You may need to wash more often when:

2. Monitor What You Eat

The scent molecules of pungent foods can seep out of the skin. Some foods that can lead to a foul-smelling odor include:

  • Red meat
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy foods, like garlic and onions.

3. Choose the Right Fabrics for Clothing

Man-made fabrics don’t always breathe. This can lead to stronger body odor, and the smell can linger on your clothes even after they’ve been washed.

Stick to natural fibers, like cotton and wool. If you workout, try exercise clothes in merino wool. It’s lightweight, breathable, and odor resistant.  

4. Try an All-Natural Deodorant with Manuka Oil

Some deodorants can actually increase the likelihood of foul odors because they don’t allow the skin to breathe. Therefore, people end up reapplying them throughout the day.

Instead of continually applying an unhealthy, chemical-laden deodorant, try an all-natural option. An ingredient to look out for: Manuka oil, which has powerful antibacterial properties.

Natural Treatments Are a Better Long-Term Solution to Body Odor

Now you know what causes body odor. And you know how to control that odor. The question remains: Why choose natural odor-busting products instead of “traditional” ones?

Natural fibers and deodorants can not only lead to less stench, but also to better health. They allow the skin to breathe and won’t cause adverse reactions like skin irritation or cancer.

Choosing the natural option is a great way to smell fresh and clean, while simultaneously protecting your overall health.  


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