Get Sweating and Odor Under Control

Is excessive underarm wetness or odor a real concern for you?

Even though sweating is a natural and healthy mechanism your body uses to maintain its correct temperature, sweat stains on your clothes or unpleasant odors can be embarrassing. Fortunately, there are simple methods you can use to keep them under control.

Proper Hygiene Techniques

1. Understand bromhidrosis. That’s the technical term for body odor. Sweat alone has very little scent but it’s a breeding ground for bacteria. It’s the bacteria on your skin that causes odor.

2. Know the difference between deodorants and antiperspirants. Deodorants just mask the odor from bacteria. Antiperspirants contain chemicals that actually inhibit sweating. Even if you find that deodorant alone is usually adequate, you may occasionally want to use an antiperspirant in stressful situations like job interviews.

3. Enhance your deodorant’s effectiveness. Your deodorant will work better if you apply it the night before and give it a chance to seep into your sweat glands. Soft solid formulas are better because you can massage them into your skin. Carry a bottle with you for touchups on hot days or at the gym.

4. Dry your skin thoroughly. Moist skin is more attractive to smelly bacteria. After showering, pat yourself completely dry. If you’re in a hurry or it’s humid, a blow dryer set on cool may help.

5. Switch to antibacterial soap. If you need something more than regular soap, try antibacterial products. If they dry your skin, use them just on your trouble spots like underarms and feet. You can even make your own solution by adding a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide to a cup of water.

6. Shave your underarms. Shaving underarms is more popular in some cultures than in others. Still, bare underarms provide less shelter for bacteria.

Other Lifestyle Changes

1. Lose weight. Your body has to work harder if you’re carrying around excess pounds. In addition to all the other benefits, maintaining a healthy weight will help you perspire less.

2. Manage stress. Many people sweat as a response to stress. Try taking a yoga class or practicing daily meditation. Listen to gentle instrumental music or take a daily walk.

3. Know your trigger foods. Foods like garlic are notorious for their ability to seep into your pores and cause an odor that lingers long after the lasagna is gone. Other offenders can include foods and beverages with hot spices or those that are served at high temperatures.

4. Stay hydrated. You may be able to eat risky foods if you drink a lot of water to reduce their impact. Similarly, limiting your intake of alcohol and caffeine will help you stay hydrated and fresh.

5. Pick clothes that breathe. Loosely woven natural fibers like cotton will keep you dryer. When working out, look for athletic gear that whisks moisture away. Dressing in layers always helps too.

6. Change your bedding. If night sweating interferes with your sleep, look for sheets made from more absorbent materials. One hundred percent cotton sheets may keep you more comfortable than silk or flannel.

7. Talk with your doctor. An estimated three percent of the population suffers from excessive sweating called hyperhidrosis. Your doctor can suggest treatments like prescription strength antiperspirants or even surgery. In rare cases, heavy sweating can be a warning sign for infections or other conditions. It’s also common for women to sweat more during menopause.

Careful washing and simple lifestyle changes may enable you to avoid any unpleasant or embarrassing wetness and odor. If home remedies fail to work, talk with your doctor about additional steps you can take.

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