HOW TO PREVENT BODY ODOR
Everyone loves the smell of a baby. But at puberty, body odor (B.O. for short) starts to become a problem, triggered by increasing level of androgen hormones. Then as we age, our body chemistry ages along with us. If you can recall the smell of your own grandparents, there’s a term for that - “old person smell.” The good news is that most people find "old person smell" not unpleasant at all.
There are two glands responsible for body odor: the apocrine glands (located in the underarms, genitals, and around the nipples) and the eccrine glands (found mainly in the underarms, hands, and feet). These glands produce sweat that becomes fodder for skin bacteria, causing the malodor. There is a third gland, the sebaceous glands (scalp, face, and chest) that produce oil that has a light odor, with or without bacteria.
To prevent body odor, start with the basics - bathe daily, use underarm protection, and wear clean clothes that breathe. Here are some other ways to help keep you smelling fresh.
1. Keep your underarms hair-free. Hair absorbs odors easily. Getting rid of the hair in your armpits can help reduce the amount of body odor.
2. Watch what you eat. What you eat can affect how you smell. If you are having problems with body odor, limit your intake of garlic, onions, curry, and other spicy foods. Red meat, caffeinated drinks, and foods that contain high amounts of sugar can also increase body odor.
3. Keep your skin dry. Bacteria like an environment with lots of moisture. It is important to dry off your skin whenever it becomes moist, whether the moisture is from taking a shower or sweating.
4. Stay hydrated. Drinking 2 to 3 liters of water daily helps to wash out the toxins in your body. This promotes good gut health, which in turn can reduce body odor.
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If the problem persists, consult a doctor. You may have a medical condition that is causing the smell. Visit any of our dermatologists to discuss your body odor issue and get a diagnosis. You might have hyperhidrosis, a condition that causes people to have excessive sweating, or a metabolic disorder that prevents your body from breaking down an amino compound.
The doctor may prescribe prescription-level antiperspirants. These can cause skin darkening and irritation. Do not use this if you have no medical issue.
Botox injection can also be prescribed to block sweat glands and eliminate excessive sweating. The effects do not last long, anywhere from 3 to 8 months. Most people may find this an expensive option.
______________________________________________________________ This was published in the November 25, 2014 issue of Manila Bulletin, Lifestyle Section. The author , Fred C. Reyes, is the CEO of SkinStation. He received the 2011 Outstanding Chemist Award from Professional Regulations Commission for his achievements in the field of cosmetic chemistry.