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Body odour (BO)

Sweating is essential and about controlling your body temperature and stop you overheating. Each day, the body gets rid of 2-3 litres of water through 2 million sweat glands. That's about a teaspoon or 2ml every minute so it’s not surprising that body scents and odours occur naturally.

Sweat itself doesn't really smell unless you've been at the garlic, curries or alcohol. Body odour (BO) is when sweat turns stale – a reaction between fats and proteins in the sweat and bacteria that live on the surface of the skin. Having said that, some men prefer a strong ripe body odour to a less aggressive body scent.

Our natural body scent, often a musky smell on the skin, is an individual fingerprint of who we are. In moderation, it’s generally regarded as pleasant and we respond and get turned on by the right scent in others.

They don't make ads like this anymore ...

5 Classic Retro Deodorant Commercials | Classic Commercials | 10 Mar 2014 | 2m 27s

BO happens is worse in the moist enclosed airless areas of your body where the bacteria thrive particularly well; eg: arm pits, arse crack, and the groin (behind your balls/ between your legs).

You also have sweat glands on your forehead, palms and soles of your feet which is why you can sweat a lot if you put on a woolly hat, or thick gloves. Your feet have around 500,000 sweat glands and unlike other parts of our body are usually covered and enclosed by shoes or trainers. When feet are not ventilated, trapped warm sweat is a breeding ground for very smelly bacteria.

Sorting out BO

  • Shower or bath every day to kill the bacteria on your skin; on hot days you may have to do this more often. Afterwards dry yourself and feet (between the toes) properly.
  • Gently but thoroughly, wash right under and around the armpits using an antibacterial soap (which should say so on the packaging). Avoid over-washing as this can remove healthy skin bacteria and make the problem worse.
  • Wear natural fibres, such as wool, silk or cotton which allows skin to breathe so sweat evaporates more quickly. Conversely, avoid synthetic and/ or tight fitting clothes which trap sweat.
  • Wear clean clothes, particularly underwear and socks; no buts on this one! If you don't wear underwear, remember you will have wash your jeans/ trousers more often.
  • Make sure you wash your clothes regularly.
  • Use a deodorant or an antiperspirant after showering or bathing.
    Shaving your armpits will allow sweat to evaporate quicker, giving bacteria less time to break it down (though this may not be the look you're after).
    Reduce spicy foods (eg: garlic, onions, curry or garlic) which make your sweat smell worse. There is also evidence that eating a lot of red meat and heavily processed foods can make BO worse.
  • Sleep naked!

Antiperspirants and deodorants

Most people think that antiperspirants and deodorants are the same thing, but the active ingredients differ. Experiment as you may find some more effective than others.

  • Antiperspirants work by reducing the amount of sweat produced by your body. Antiperspirants contain aluminium chloride, a chemical that reduces sweating, and often also contain a deodorant. Roll-on antiperspirants tend to be more effective if you sweat heavily.
  • Deodorants work by masking and/ or neutralising sweat smell with antiseptics against bacteria and can preferable because they don’t interfere with sweating.

Experiment with a few to find which type and method of delivery suits you best. Some can cause irritation and you'd be unwise to apply them to broken skin or on your cock and balls. If you still have a BO problem, chemists have stronger antiperspirants which reduce the amount of sweat you produce, but can cause skin irritation. Further problems: see your GP.

Body odour | NHS Choices
Body odour | Wikipedia
Body Scent and pheromones | MEN R US
Body odour and sexual attraction | Wikipedia

What causes body odor? | Mel Rosenberg | TED Ed | 5 Apr 2018 | 4m 28s
Let's Talk About Armpit Smell: Natural Hygiene and Body Odor | Rob Greenfield | 28 Jan 2016
How To Sweat Less: The Science of Sweating | The Royal Institution | 4 Jun 2015 | 3m 07s
Smell My Armpits | SupDaily06 | 3 Jun 2014 | 3m 42s

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