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  5. How To Get Rid Of Your Underarm Smell?

Are you worried about sweaty and stinky underarms? Sweaty underarms are common if you are living in humid places or doing rigorous workouts [1]. But when accompanied with foul odour, they tend to bother you.

But, you don’t need to worry. Smelly underarms can easily be treated with a few quick hacks. Besides, you can take preventive measures to control the foul odour.

Scroll down to know what causes smelly underarms and how you can prevent them.

What Causes Smelly Underarms?

young woman looking at the sweaty shirt

Most of the time, we associate underarm smell with sweat. But in reality, sweat itself is an odorless fluid. However, when bacteria on your skin breaks it down, it produces a foul odour. Essentially, there are two types of sweat glands. These are known as eccrine glands and apocrine glands. [2]

The eccrine glands are present all over your body and releases sweat that evaporates quickly from your skin’s surface. On the other hand, the apocrine glands are present in your armpit and groin areas that have more hair follicles. These glands enter your hair follicles and then release the sweat out of the body. When sweat is secreted from these glands, it blends with the bacteria on your follicles and produces a foul smell.

Other causes for smelly armpits are:

1. Proper Hygiene

Not maintaining proper hygiene can be one of the primary causes of smelly armpits.

2. Shaving

The hair follicles present in your underarm can trap sweat. When the bacteria mixes with your sweat, it creates a foul odor. If you are not shaving your underarms often, chances of developing foul smell are there.

3. Sweating

The apocrine sweat glands produce sweat, mainly under stress. Sweat is usually odorless, but it starts to produce smell when it comes in contact with your skin bacteria. Also, the apocrine gland is not active until one reaches puberty. Which is why you can notice body odor or smelly armpit once you hit puberty.

4. Food Habits

If you notice a sudden change of odour in your armpits, there might be reasons behind it. In such an instance, be mindful of your diet intake. Know that foods that contain high amounts of sulfur tend to alter the odour. These kinds of sulfurous food contain compounds that can't be broken down by your body completely. Hence the metabolic processes of your body produce volatile compounds which then leave your body by giving it an unpleasant odour.

5. Alcohol

When you consume excessive alcohol, the liver is not able to process it properly. It travels through your blood and around the body and seeps out through the pores and breath. It leads to foul smell.

Are Smelly Underarms A Sign Of Illness?

Smelly armpits are normal and the reason is most likely non-serious. But if you notice changes in your body odour suddenly, then there could be an underlying medical condition.

1. Diabetes

If you have diabetes and poorly controlled blood sugar levels, your body develops a condition called ketoacidosis that causes bad breath and foul body odour. If you’re suddenly noticing a bad breath like a rotten fruit bowl, speak to your doctor right away.

2. Overactive Thyroid Gland

An overactive thyroid can result in producing excessive sweat, thus causing your body to develop smell. This happens due to hyperfunction of your thyroid gland. If you sweat profusely, check with your doctor immediately.

3. Kidney And Liver Dysfunction

Kidney and liver are the two vital organs that help your body eliminate toxins. Dysfunction of either of the organs can lead to a strong, foul body odor.

How To Get Rid Of Underarm Smell?

mirror reflection young man applying antiperspirant on armpit after shower

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Mix one cup of apple cider vinegar with one and a half cup of water. Mix well in a clean spray bottle. Spray the mixture on your underarms before you hit your bed and leave it overnight. Rinse it off with lukewarm water in the morning.

2. Aloe Vera Gel

Take freshly extracted aloe vera gel from aloe vera plant. Apply the gel on your underarms for 30 minutes over your underarms and rinse it off with water.

3. Potato

Potato also works well in controlling underarm smell. Cut a potato into thin slices. Rub it on your underarms and leave for 30 minutes. Rinse off with clear water.

4. Tea Tree Oil

Make your own body spray by mixing two tablespoons of tea tree oil with two tablespoons of water or baking soda. Apply this solution on your underarms and keep it for about 15 mins. This will help in neutralizing foul smell.

5. Rosemary

Dried rosemary has a fantastic effect on neutralizing your body odor. Grind it to make a powder and apply it on your underarms.

6. Baking Soda

In a bowl, add two tablespoons of baking soda and one tablespoon of lemon juice. Make a paste and apply it on your underarms in circular motions. Leave for 10 minutes and then rinse off with water.

7. Tomato

Mix freshly extracted tomato juice with two drops of lemon juice. Gently massage this on your underarms for about 10 minutes before washing it off with water.

8. Lemon Juice

Use lemon juice diluted with water as a solution to control smelly underarms. Apply this solution on your underarms and rinse it off after 10 minutes.

9. Sandalwood Powder

You can use sandalwood powder to manage your underarm odour. Mix a few tablespoons of sandalwood powder with water to form a paste. Apply the paste on your underarms and let it sit for a few minutes. Then rinse it off.

10. Lavender Oil

Add a few drops of lavender oil and dilute it with water. Put it in a spray bottle. Spray it before you sleep and wash it off using lukewarm water the next morning.

How To Prevent Underarm Smell?

man shaving armpit with depilation cream using spatula in bathroom at home

A research study has suggested in the past that shaving or waxing the underarm can keep your underarm smell in check. Here are some more tips that can help you reduce underarm odour.

1. Use an antiperspirant deodorant. Antiperspirant deodorants help to minimize perspiration while taking care of the skin.

2. Keep your underarms clean at all times. You may want to shave your underarms since the hair traps sweat. Removing your underarm hair can prevent underarm smell.

3. Choose to wear comfortable clothes that allow your underarms and skin to breathe. Natural fiber clothes like cotton, wool, silk, and linen allow the sweat to evaporate faster.

4. Avoid eating too spicy foods or those food items that are likely to trigger sweat.

5. Personal hygiene matters a lot. Make sure to take a daily shower.

6. Keep yourself adequately hydrated.

Why Do Your Underarms Still Smell After A Shower?

Hair is prone to trap sweat. When sweat reacts with bacteria on your skin, it leads to a foul smell. This is why people who have more body hair are prone to smell even after they take a shower. For the same reason, men have a lingering body odor as compared to women.

When to See A Doctor?

back view of woman making video call with her doctor while staying at home

Underarm smell is not uncommon and shouldn't be a cause of concern. But if you notice that the smell has changed suddenly despite no alterations in your lifestyle habits, routine or diet, consult your doctor immediately. It might be a sign of an underlying medical condition, like a hormonal change. If you’re sweating profusely recently, that too indicates a medical condition like a hyperactive thyroid gland. In such cases, you need to see your doctor for medical intervention.

Wrapping Up

Underarm smell is a common concern for many of us. But the best part is it can be prevented by practicing proper hygiene and healthy habits. You can even go for simple yet effective home remedies to manage your body odour. Make sure you religiously follow a healthy diet, wear loose clothes, and avoid stress that can result in excessive sweating. However, if you notice sudden changes in your body odour, make sure to visit your doctor to seek medical advice.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

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