Are you suffering from underarm odor? Does your body odor make you feel embarrassed to hang out with your friends? Well, you are not alone. There are people, especially teenagers, who have smelly underarms and are at wits’ end to find an effective and long-term solution for underarm odor. Thankfully, you don’t have to search too hard or long for effective remedies. This post talks about how you can get rid of underarm odor.
Are you curious to know more? Keep reading.
What Causes Underarm Odor?
If you think sweat causes underarm odor, you are wrong. Sweat itself is completely odorless. It is the bacteria that use perspiration to multiply and in the bargain break down the keratin, a type of protein present on the surface of the skin. It is this action that causes your underarm to smell.
Remember, sweating is an important physiological response of your body (1). It is the body’s way to regulate its temperature and hence, is considered an important function.
How To Get Rid Of Underarm Odor
Here we have listed a whole lot of tips to help overcome smelly armpits. There is no doubt a lot has to do with personal hygiene, but still these tips can do you good.
Most people tend to use an antiperspirant in the morning after their shower or bath. However, this usually proves ineffective in combating underarm odor, as the sweat tends to wash it away. Hence, you should be looking to apply an antiperspirant just when you retire to bed at night (2). Remember that a deodorant is different from an antiperspirant. The former masks odors, while the latter reduces perspiration.
2. Dry Underarms
Since you know bacteria are the cause of smelly armpits, it makes sense to keep your underarm as dry as possible. You can use wet wipes to dry your underarms each time you perspire.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide
Dilute one teaspoon of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide in about 8 Oz water. Use it to wipe your underarms, as the hydrogen peroxide is extremely effective in killing the odor-causing bacteria.
4. Personal Hygiene
Make it a point to bathe every day, even after your workout. This will get rid of the odor and also the bacteria that have proliferated in your armpits.
Remember that even if you bathe every day, it is important you don’t wear the same outfit again if you are battling smelly armpits. The bath will remove the bacteria, but your unwashed clothes will still harbor the bacteria. So, once you don the outfit, the odor will return. Wash your clothes and then wear them. This holds true for regular wear as well as your gym outfits.
Women usually have less odor emitting from their armpits compared to men (3), as most tend to shave their armpits. If you don’t shave your underarms and suffer from armpit odor, it is time to pick up that razor and get going.
Today, many cosmetic surgeons are offering Clostridium botulinum, the botulinum toxin (Botox) treatment as a way to combat underarm odor. The Botox is injected into the armpits, and it prevents brain impulses from reaching the sweat glands in the armpits. As a result, it reduces underarm sweating and subsequently underarm odor (4). According to available statistics, one treatment with Botox for underarm odor lasts anywhere from 2 to 8 months, after which you need to get another treatment session. Usually, this treatment is reserved for people who sweat profusely under their arms and is an out-of-pocket treatment and not paid for by the health insurance.
Note, if you experience excessive sweating, you should consult a doctor. This is a medical condition known as hyperhidrosis and requires aggressive medical treatment.
Home Remedies To Combat Smelly Armpits
If you don’t want to use the tips provided by medical experts to combat underarm odor, you needn’t, as there are many effective home remedies that offer excellent results. Some of the home remedies that you can use are as follows:
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
According to Dr. Oz of the famous The Dr. Oz Show, apple cider vinegar’s acidity does not allow odor-causing bacteria to proliferate (5). He recommends splashing the vinegar under your arms after you finish your bath. Don’t worry about the vinegar odor; it will disappear after some time. Remember not to use the vinegar if you have just shaved your armpits or there is broken skin. And, perform a spot test on your wrist to first ensure you are not allergic to apple cider vinegar.
The doctors at Karri Family Clinic based in Singapore recommend using iodine to get rid of smelly armpits. Apply the iodine and then use a soft-bristled brush to scrub your underarms. Leave the iodine standing for about 5 minutes and then shower as usual. The clinic claims that using this method for a few days will allow you to discontinue deodorants and sprays to fight underarm odor.
3. Essential Oil
Make a paste of baking soda and lavender or orange essential oil. Apply the paste under your arms and this works to control the odor-causing bacteria. As a result, it will help to combat odor. Let the paste dry and then wash it off. Make sure you add enough essential oil while making the paste – it should have a strong smell of the oil for it to be effective.
4. Witch Hazel Or Tea Tree Oil
Both witch hazel and tea tree oil have potent antibacterial properties and hence, are great for getting rid of the bacteria that cause odor under the arms. Use witch hazel or tea tree oil to wipe your underarms around 4 to 5 times a day. It lowers the pH of the skin, making it hard for the bacteria to survive.
5. Cornstarch Or Baking Soda
Baking soda can be applied under your arms to kill bacteria and absorb perspiration(6). It also functions as a deodorant. Similarly, you can use cornstarch, which is more absorbent compared to baking soda.
6. Lemon Juice
Squeeze fresh lemon juice and dilute it with a wee bit of water. Apply this under your arms. The acidity of the juice alters the pH of the skin, making it tough for bacteria to survive and proliferate. Make sure you let the juice air-dry before wearing your clothes. Otherwise, the whole process will be ineffective.
7. Reduce Stress
Stress and anxiety are known to increase the production of sweat. Hence, if you learn to control your stress levels, you reduce the amount of sweat your body produces. There are many techniques to reduce stress, such as meditation and yoga. Choose one that you enjoy and you should be able to combat smelly underarms quite effectively.
8. Dietary Change
It has been observed that people who consume fatty foods, oily foods and strong-smelling foods, like onions, curries, and garlic, tend to have body odor and smelly armpits. This is because these foods ooze out of the pores, resulting in odor. The odor, in turn, attracts bacteria that proliferate and produce even more odor. If you eliminate these foods from your diet, you can reduce the amount of odor, as it will prevent the bacteria from multiplying.
Other Natural Remedies For Underarm Odor
There are many other natural remedies that you can use to fight underarm odor. For instance, you can take grass or chlorophyll supplements along with your food. According to Columbia University, this supplement can help make underarm sweat odorless.
The Health911 website recommends taking vitamin and mineral supplements to reduce the odor (7). You can take B-complex, zinc and magnesium to reduce odor. However, before you start taking these supplements, check with your doctor. This is especially true if you are on medication.
[ Read: Home Remedies For Reducing Body Odour ]
The Bottom Line
If you have underarm odor, it is important you shower regularly. In most cases, just bathing once a day may not help and you may have to bathe twice a day to get rid of the odor. Also, change to antibacterial soap to kill the bacteria. After you bathe, make sure you dry your underarms thoroughly and thereafter use an antiperspirant, deodorant or any other remedy listed in this post. The key is getting rid of the odor-causing bacteria and keeping your underarms dry (8). And, do not wear clothes more than once. After each use, wash them to kill the bacteria and perspiration that gets transferred to the clothes. Also, make sure you change your bed linen frequently and do not be tempted to drop into your bed without taking a shower. If you do this, it will be tough to get rid of underarm odor.
If all the aforementioned remedies fail, you may have to consult a doctor. The odor could be a sign of an underlying health problem. It has been observed that people with kidney or liver problems may have strong underarm odor that cannot be treated with the remedies mentioned in this post.
Now that you know how to get rid of underarm odor, use these methods and let us know if they helped you. Do comment in the box below. We would love to hear from you.
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