In order to practice good hygiene, it’s important to know how body odor often occurs. Insufficient bathing or poor hygiene can lead to an unpleasant odor secreted by the apocrine glands, located in the underarms, genitals, and around the nipples, and the eccrine glands, found in the underarms, hands, and feet, when they interact with skin bacteria. The sebaceous glands, located in the scalp, face, and chest, produce oil, which has a light odor with or without bacteria. “If people have poor hygiene bacteria can build up on the skin and create more than just bad body odor,” Dr. Jennifer Burns, physician at The Bienetre Center in Phoenix, Ariz., told Medical Daily in an email.
To prevent excessive sweating and body odor, add these four home remedies to your bathroom cabinet to keep your skin clean and dry.
1. Shave Underarms
A lot of hair under your arms can create a swampy environment for bacteria. Hair is porous, meaning it easily absorbs odors and can even slow the evaporation of sweat. Hair traps odorants, especially when it’s located in your armpits. Burns recommends shaving your underarms to stop body odor so the “bacteria doesn’t get trapped in the hair thus decreasing odor.”
2. Change Shoes
A common misconception is body odor comes from the armpits, but one of the foulest odors actually come from your feet. Changing your shoes will allow them to air and prevent the odors from staying concentrated in one area. This cuts down the bacteria that is in the shoe. Burns’ rule of thumb: “Everyone should be switching up their shoes every 500 miles anyway.”
3. Apply Vinegar
Vinegar, whether it’s apple cider or white, can help lower the pH level of the skin for an anti-bacteria environment. Dr. Mehmet Oz of The Dr. Oz Show recommends this home remedy because the bacteria cannot thrive in acidity, and the smell will dissipate. It’s best to splash the vinegar under the arms when you get out of the shower, but not immediately after you have shaved your underarms. This is safe for the skin as long as it’s unbroken. It’s best to do a test on a small patch of skin to make sure you do not react badly.
4. Apply Witch Hazel
Witch hazel and tea tree oil are natural sterilizers that can be applied on your armpits, since they are natural antiseptics. They lower the skin’s pH, which makes it impossible for bacteria to survive. Directly applying witch hazel on your skin can serve as a regular deodorant. For those who are prone to sweating, Burns suggests “wiping [underarms] down at least 4 times a day.”
These four home remedies for body odor will help eliminate foul smells and leave you feeling healthy, clean, and fresh.