Often thought of as one of the most anti-social occurrences in modern times, having body odour is not necessarily a bad thing. Many women find a masculine scent very attractive, as do men to women; it is part of sexuality and scents that are given off by us is partly what makes us attracted to each other. However, on the whole, suffering from excessive body odour can be a nuisance. Many sufferers are oblivious that they have a problem and live blissfully unaware that they are offending people. Sometimes it may be the duty of the family member or best friend to drop hints to try and raise awareness.
Why Do We Sweat?
Sweating is part of the body’s natural cooling process. We lose fluids through our sweat glands which settles on the skin and cools us as the air reaches it. The fluid lost does not have a strong odour, but when it is left; bacteria can breed which increases the strength of smell.
There are certain areas on our body that contain many more sweat glands that other parts; the groin, underarms and feet excrete higher amounts of oils through a larger number of glands. These areas are also mainly hidden away from the air so the bacteria have plenty of opportunity to breed. If you are overweight, there is a higher chance of having excess folds of skin and flesh in which bacteria can live quite happily.
Exercising and hot weather all increase the amount of fluid we lose as our body needs to work harder to cool itself therefore increasing the risk of excessive body odour.
Treatments for Body Odour
The cheapest, easiest and fastest way of stopping the smell of body odour is by maintaining personal hygiene and washing frequently. It is also vital that the skin is dried thoroughly so as not to provide a reservoir for bacteria to breed in.
Some people can manage to keep their body odour under control by simply washing once a day, while others may need to bathe two or three times a day. Another easy way of reducing odour is to keep clothes fresh. Clean underwear and socks etc. are essential everyday, not just in the reduction of odour, but to help reduce risks of infection or soreness. A scented detergent and fabric softener that is suitable for your skin is a simple means of giving-off a pleasant aroma instead.
The use of an anti-perspirant deodorant is very useful for keeping excessive sweating of the underarms at bay, there are many varieties to choose from, some un-perfumed, others for sensitive skin; try a variety until you find a brand that is suitable for you. The removal of excess hair helps to reduce the areas on which bacteria can breed; shaving during the summer months can help with feeling refreshed and clean and reduces the event of odours developing.
In the instance of very severe sweating, when all other methods of prevention have been tried is to undergo surgery. Some specialists use a technique called a trans-thoracic sympathectomy, which has a success rate of just under 50% for underarm sweating. The surgeon, through keyhole surgery, permanently damages the nerves responsible for the sweat glands, therefore reducing the amount of fluid produced.
Alternatively and rather radically, would be to remove the sweat glands by using traditional surgical techniques; due to the need for an incision, pain and post-operative infections may result along with scarring.
Some doctors advocate the use of a skin patch that contains agents that help reduce the glands producing sweat. Any surgery carries risks so this procedure should not be undertaken lightly and should be a last resort. With the development of the use of Botox, doctors have found it to be useful in the treatment of sweating, though it can only be used in the underarm area. The substance is injected into the areas that have been identified as those that are producing the most sweat.
Body odour is a very personal issue and should be handled delicately. It is nobody’s fault that they may produce excess sweat, but there are steps that can be taken to try and control this issue.