Body odour is one of the most human things and yet, also one of the biggest turn-offs. We spoke with experts about what causes it and ultimately, if we are in control of it.
According to Dr Shareefa Isa Chause, dermatologist and cosmetologist, body odour mostly occurs because of the bacteria being present on the skin, and not the sweat itself. She says you can reduce your body odour by taking care of the basics: washing a more sweaty area with soap, using antiperspirants containing aluminium chloride, and shaving body hair regularly. She adds that body hair traps bacteria, which can increase the likelihood of having more body odour.
But ultimately, can we change how we smell?
“You can lessen the impact of your body odour in certain ways. Avoid eating garlic and ginger as that smell is carried through sweat. Coffee and alcohol should also be avoided because they cause more sweating. A healthy diet with citrus fruits like oranges can also help,” the expert adds.
Dr Sayali Dhake, endocrinologist, SRV Mamta Hospital says, “Body odour can be caused by many things, such as a dip in oestrogen during the menstrual cycle, puberty, or during pregnancy. Hot flashes and night sweats during menopause can also lead to changes in body odour. Trying to take care of yourself in the best way during these times is the key to controlling body odour.”
Thus, while you cannot entirely and fully change what you smell like, you can control it to an extent and even alter it a bit by taking precautions.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, you can also “wear clothing made from breathable fabrics such as cotton, silk, or wool and wash clothes after each wear. For exercise, you may prefer to wear moisture-wicking fabrics like polyester or nylon.”