Strong Body Odor Causes & Remedies

by grandi

An in-depth overview of strong body odor causes, which also discusses the facts and myths of foods that influences undesired body odor.

Just the same as body odor is normal, both sweating and perspiring are another spontaneous phenomena, consequential for heat regulation in hot weather, during the fever, or when exercising and performing other types of physical activity.
Frequently, they can manifest also as a stress response to anxiety, nervousness, anger, or discomfiture.
Even in completely normal skin flora, sweat enhances rapid multiplication of bacteria. Moreover, the sole sweat – entirely odorless - tends to break down protein into certain acids, which develop the bothersome scent, commonly recognized as body odor.

The outermost layer of human skin (epidermis) is Iinhabited by several bacteria, which is – paradoxically – our natural protection against exposure to the environment.

Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus along with species of Corynebacteria, Micrococcus, Mycobacterium, and Pityrosporum are the most common bacteria that all co-operate in special synergistic conjunction in which one species is profitable for certain organism (microbe) while the other one (human) is not influenced. 

The average human body consists from three to four million sweat glands, distinguished by two types, considering their different function and different type of sweat created.

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Populated mostly all over the skin area, Eccrine glands (pivotal to control the regular body temperature) bring about odorless sweat. 

On the other side, the Apocrine glands – also known as scent glands - generate the sweat that is lubricious and rich in protein. When disintegrated down by bacteria, this sweat results in body odor, most often in special areas such as the



genital area,

ear, and


When to confer to doctor because of body odor problem?

Although the austerity of our body odor mainly depends on our genes and hygiene, some medical conditions definitely bear upon the way we smell and how much we sweat. Suddenly changed sweating and body odor, for example, must be taken seriously, as it may indicate an over-active thyroid. 

Then again,  beware of too much of hygiene, as the scientist alert to the unreasonable obsession with cleanliness, which may strike on our immune system and even augment the risk level for allergies like hay fever and other.

Yes, our modern, hygiene-obsessed lifestyle may be incriminated for epidemic breathlessness, rashes, sneezing, and swollen eyes.

Body Odor Treatment Options


Due to highest concentration of Apocrine glands in the armpits, this section is the most inclined to rapid development of undesired body odor.

By decelerating the evaporation of sweat, hair under the armpits grant the bacteria more time to break it down into disturbing smell. Thus, shaving or trimming the armpits and body hair is important, as well.

If the circumstances permit, a hasty wash of your armpits in the course of the day is warmly advised. It does not have to be a wash cloth – a damp paper towel will eliminate at least some of already formed malodorous debris along with bacteria causal for inescapable odor development. 

Keeping the armpits, groin, and feet neat, indisputably lead to in alleviated body odor, as the regular use of anti-bacterial soap definitely lower the quantity of bacteria.

Do not scrub too hard or too long, but use a deodorant soap at least once a day, better twice if possible. Powerful antibacterial ingredients are doing miracles. 


To some extent, widely attainable antiperspirants positively slow down at least some of the Apocrine sweat production, if only they contain Aluminum Chlorohydrate as their active component. A good antiperspirant blocks the sweat ducts successfully without harming your delicate underarm skin.

If you are predisposed to eczema, suffer from razor burn, diabetes, regional friction, or various skin allergies, pay extra attention when selecting your product. 

Furthermore, most common baby powder, talk, or most ordinary baking soda are both terrific sweat absorbents, incredibly capable to conceal already produced body odors. 


By all means, inspect the label conscientiously before you buy the under arm deodorant.

Even the habitual, over the counter one is fine – as long it comprises aluminum or zinc antibacterial metallic salts, which are able to destroy offending odor causing bacteria.

Feel free to use the under arm deodorants at all odor generating areas.

Compared with sprays, the roll-on and stick kind of deodorants provide not only longer persisting protection, but also better coverage. In addition, try swapping among diverse deodorants to find the one that suits you best.

And what are the attributes of exemplary deodorant?

- Potent, long lasting security

- Odor prevention

- Non-irritating

- Scent free (or smells acquiescent)

- Affordable 

The Last Resort

If everything else fails, try washing the most problematic zones with an acne cleanser as it has the powerful antibacterial property. However, avoid extreme or prolonged conduct of acne cleanser as the Benzoyl Peroxide may provoke distressful drying and irritation.

As well, a sprinkle of rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, applied during the day, helps to reduce significantly the quantity of odor-causing bacteria – but only as an exception throughout special occasions, not as a regular routine! As far as I am concerned, baking soda is equally effective yet less aggressive and thus safer. 

Healthy Life Style

At last, but not least, think about deadly toxic overload in your body.  

Speaking from my experience, I can confirm that purifying up our body – starting with kidneys and livers - is absolutely the most fruitful in prevention of body odor and stained laundry.


Each year, about 1.500 new chemicals are introduced to the stores all over the world, mostly in commercial products, food included.

Drastic use of pesticides eventuates in most terrifying totals of chemicals discovered in fruits and vegetables, such as celery, broccoli, carrots, apples, oranges, strawberries, etc.


Besides, the products on grocery store shelves are full of additives such as

Monosodium glutamate (MSG),

chemical sweeteners,

hydrogenated oils,

artificial colors and else. 

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Pay attention to what you wear, as certain types of fabrics help control upsetting body odor.

All fabrics that breathe naturally (cotton, silk, linen, and wool) maintain your body dry. Particularly cotton is quite absorbing, therefore change your clothes (and bedding) often enough.

Although synthetic fibers do have many advantages over natural ones, I would warmly recommend the combination of the both, i.e. the cotton-spandex fabrics.

On the other hand, for example, consider quality modern fabrics, which allow quick dispersion of perspiration from inside out, where it evanesces instantaneously. 


Getting the odor (and stains) out of your clothes and bedding is of major significance. As the scalding water is much more efficient than lukewarm or cold, after the hot wash not only your laundry looks better, but also smells better. 

Always wash your clothes in superior quality odor fighting washing detergent. I always soak my sweaty exercising garment in detergent that is competent for removing protein-based stains and smell, before I toss it in the washing machine. 

When doing your laundry, perhaps you may find helpful some natural alternatives, too. 

Borax is supreme additive to kill odors – you can either soak the laundry in Borax, or simply add it in the normal wash cycle along with detergent.

Also, vinegar is tremendous deodorizer.

Two cups of (white!) vinegar used in a rinse washing cycle removes the detergent and cleans both the fabrics and washing machine. 

Before washing, spray embarrassing stains or the most affected patches such as underarms with rubbing alcohol. Allow a couple of minutes to act properly,  then wash as usual. 

To remove successfully sweat and oily deposits from pillowcases, try your conventional dish detergent. That way you can also fight the yellowish marks on underarms or around the collar.

In addition, you can also try with oily hair shampoo.

Both dish detergent and shampoo should be scrubbed in the stains. Alternately, dissolve the liquid in the water and allow laundry to soak for at least one hour. 

Foods that Cause Body Odor - Myth or Truth?

You Are What You Eat


The logic is simple: what we put in our body it is more or less exactly what it comes out of it. Although, I have to admit, the scientific evidence links the nutrition and body odor rather tentatively. 

Nevertheless, the most advocated dietary change actually limits the consumption of foods that are rich in the amino acids carnitine and lysine. Moreover, it is proven that as much as about 7 % of people who suffer of strong body odor cannot digest their food properly due to innate enzyme deficiency or digestive disorder.

Study the list of foods below and test each one to understand how it influences your own body odor, as not every person reacts to certain food equally. In addition - at least in my humble opinion - only unusually huge amounts of certain foods turn out in notable bad odor.

However, for the sake of your general health, also try to incorporate in your diet as many rich in chlorophyll foods as you can, as they clean and protect body cells from harmful effects of oxidation.

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Alleged culprits:

Spices such as garlic, onion, and curry generally produce sulfur gases

Red meat – utmost demanding food in sense of digestion release foul-smelling gas and toxins

Alcohol and caffeine along with tea and soda they all stimulate Apocrine sweat glands

Processed and junk food causes excessive intake of salt, sugar, white flour, and hydrogenated oils that rot in the stomach

Diary products – lactose that is present in milk can sometimes cause body odor if your metabolic processes are not working properly

Low carbohydrate diet leads to increased consumption of protein rich foods

Fried food lead to poor digestion because of fats and oils

Tobacco particularly causes body odor because it excretes through the pores of the skin and mixes with other elements of body’s chemistry.

Foods such as seafood, fish oil, eggs, liver, nuts, soy products, broccoli, are rich in amino acids that are directly related to causes of body odor. 

Updated: 04/23/2012, grandi
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katiem2 on 04/04/2012

Great information on body odor, I learned something I did not know. Great Page!

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