Banish BO (for good!)

Friday, 21 October 2011

As you may well know, body odour is a nuisance and can cause embarrassment. Human perspiration contains water, proteins, urea, ammonia, lactic acids and salts, which mix with bacteria to form body odour. The pungent body odour emitted by human adults is unique in the animal kingdom. Why some men’s odours are stronger than others depends on their diet, genetics, hygiene and state of health. Here’s how to keep yours in check.

body odour, sweat

1. You are what you eat

You may want to consider cutting out onions and garlic from your diet, as they’re high in sulfuric acid, which contributes to body odour. They also cause foul breath. Need we say more?
Probiotics and prebiotics (which help to restore the balance of bacteria in your digestive tract) reduce your body’s toxicity, which can be released as odour from the skin. So eat plenty of yogurt, artichokes, beans, and dried plums.

2. Bathe regularly. 
As in, every day.

‘Well duh,’ you might say, but honestly, this is the simplest and most effective way to curb body odour. Use an antibacterial soap and give yourself a good ol’ scrub all over. Apart from perspiration, bacteria also feeds on dead skin tissue, so it can also help to exfoliate using a scrub, loofah or body brush. You might also want to consider applying talcum powder to key areas after a shower: back, chest, unmentionables, you name it. It helps to soak up sweat.

3. Use deo

Preferrably a combo of anti-perspirant and deodorant. Anti-perspirant helps to temporarily block sweat glands, while deodorant disguises odour. In other words, one keeps you from sweating and the other keeps you smelling nice. You need both.

4. Chill out

Hormones and oils can increase with your stress level and create the right environment for bacteria to grow rapidly. Make time for exercise, which helps to combat stress (though you’ll need to implement all the previous steps as well, obviously) or a destressing activity such as yoga.

5. Foot odour

Lots of men get it, and the reason is that feet sweat – a lot. They have more sweat glands per inch of skin than any other part of the body. Bacteria feed on the sweat, producing a smelly secretion. Ick.
To prevent them becoming a biological hazard, wash your feet daily with an antibacterial soap, then dry thoroughly and sprinkle on a little antifungal powder (add a little to your shoes as well). Applying a little antiperspirant to the soles of your feet can also help reduce the amount they sweat.

Don’t wear the same shoes two days in a row – in fact, you should be giving each pair of shoes at least two days’ break, stored in a dry, cool place. Try to wear socks made from wool, cotton, hemp or bamboo, as these allow feet to ‘breathe’ more easily than synthetic fabrics (consider changing them once or more throughout the day).

Written by

Rachel McGregor is a Cape Town journalist (and part-time narcissist) specialising in food, health and lifestyle-related features. In her spare time she loves to cook and poke fun at hipsters. Sometimes she dreams of giving it all up and becoming a millionaire.

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  1. Debsie

    My husband always smell nice. Even after a hard day at work

    5 years ago •

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