Of the many iconic moments and bits in the television show “Friends”, one of the most memorable was “Smelly Cat”. The quirky and fun Phoebe (who tells it like it is) loves her song about a cat so foul-smelling, it was an outcast. Light-hearted and funny it may be, but body odour issues are not. There is perhaps some truth to the song; escaping bad body odour isn’t simple, especially with our active lifestyles.
Though many people are rarely ever away from air conditioning, BO does have a way of catching up with us. Several factors contribute to the problem. Whether your body can’t tolerate heat or you’re easily stressed, we have some solutions. These methods of reducing and controlling body odour can minimise and rectify the issue, but you first need to understand what’s causing it. Let’s start from the top.
The basic, logical and most common reason for bad odour is hygiene. The more hygienic you are, the less likely you are to have BO issues. As mundane as it may sound, bathing every day is a crucial part of smelling fresh. Skipping a shower can lead to accumulation of dirt, sweat and bacteria. Apart from bathing, maintain your physical hygiene as best you can. Wash your hands and feet regularly, and keep your sweaty areas as dry and as clean as possible.
Despite being hygienic, many people still encounter body odour problems. Your sweat glands play an important part, and these differ from one body to the next. Your emotional state can impact how your sweat glands react; the more stressed, tensed or agitated you are, the more you sweat. Try to calm your mind so that your body in turn remains calm. Anger is another emotion that triggers the sweat glands, so keep your anger in check.
Another reason you may have problems with body odour is because of what you put into your body. Certain foods can definitely increase smelliness. Hot and spicy tends to generate heat inside the body, which causes one to sweat. Avoid these foods to reduce BO, as well as excess garlic and onion. Sulphur is the main component of malodour, so eat foods with lower sulphur content to reduce your risk. Avoid broccoli and cauliflower, and consume more leafy vegetables and soy products.
Tight clothes and garments that rub up against your skin could be causing bad odour. The skin needs room to breathe, so wear loose-fitting clothes; it can make a big difference. Pale colours like white and sky blue absorb less heat than darker colours like black and brown. Wearing lighter colours will make you sweat less, but the fabric is also crucial. Lighter ones like cotton will do the job better than wool or linen. Speaking of hygiene and clothes, ensure that the clothes you wear are clean. Don’t wear the same item of clothing for too long, even if it doesn’t smell dirty. Wash your clothes regularly, whether or not they seem musty.
Though we have a tendency to spray ourselves silly with deodorants and perfumes in an attempt to avoid smelling stale, all we’re actually doing is concealing the smell. Why not avoid the sweaty smell in the first place? Use talcum powder to soak up perspiration, so that bad smells don’t mingle with pleasing fragrances. This brings us to the products your body is exposed to. The chemicals in many cosmetics have a direct impact on how how the body reacts. Use products that are natural or of higher quality.
The right soap is important, but so is drying off properly. If you leave a damp towel on your bed, you will find that in a couple of hours, the room smells musty and unpleasant. Similarly, damp areas on your body lead to a musty-smelling you. When we sweat, we tend to allow it to dry out, but wiping those areas dry can make a huge difference to your scent.
Though it may sound oxymoronic, exercising can help prevent malodour. A lack of regular exercise can lead to an accumulation of toxins in the body, causing BO. The main areas to focus on when dealing with body odour are your underarms, groin, crotch and feet. These are the areas that sweat the most, and tend to collect the most bacteria. Focus your efforts on these areas.
Another reason for bad body odour is unnecessary hair, such as under your arms, which tends to gather moisture and breed bacteria. Shaving or cleaning these hairy areas regularly will help minimise the smell. Similarly, your feet smell bad due to their proximity to the ground, and the various nooks and corners in which the dirt can get lodged.
Just because India is a warm (and also wet) country, it doesn’t mean that unpleasant body odour is inevitable. These simple tips can help make sure BO doesn’t get the best of you; keep them in mind, and you (and your loved ones) will be forever grateful! ..... Saloni