Heat Wave Survival Guide: How to Combat Body Odor
This post is dedicated to everybody, everywhere during this heat wave, because Lord knows we’re all sweating a bit too much for comfort. If the 90-plus degree weather this week is causing your sweat to work overtime, here are some ideas for how to go the extra mile to combat B.O. with products and tools you might already have at home.
First, you need a little background on where body odor actually comes from. The culprits are your apocrine glands, which you’ll find pretty much anywhere you’ve got hair: scalp, armpits, groin (TMI?). The apocrine glands act like little body flushers, pushing out fat and other bodily tidbits that bacteria find oh-so-attractive. Interestingly, it’s not actually the sweat itself that stinks; it’s the bacteria that goes H.A.M. on your sweat once it’s on your skin. When the bacterial feeding frenzy commences, you’ve got a recipe for a stinky disaster.
Keep the bacteria circus in mind as you read these tips. Most have something to do with killing the bacteria. So while you may not stop sweating all together, you can at least try to get the bacteria situation under control.
Reach for Witch Hazel
via Columbia Health at Columbia University
No, it’s not a magic potion. Witch hazel is a plant, the leaves, bark and twigs of which are distilled into a liquid that’s used for a variety of natural medicinal purposes. In this case, you want to use it for its pH-balancing properties, which will prevent stinky bacteria from growing on your skin. White or apple cider vinegar also works. Just wipe it on and let it dry.
Use an Antibacterial Soap
Bacteria is what causes that funky smell. Nip the problem in the bud by switching to an antibacterial soap or body wash during the sweatiest months. Look for products at CVS or Walgreens with the word “antibacterial” in big, bold type.
Curb Your Coffee and Tea Habit
Coffee and tea increase the activity of your apocrine sweat glands, so if you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get rid of that smell, try laying off caffeine for awhile.
Soak Your Feet in Salt Water
via Discovery Health
Fact: Your feet are swimming in germs—that’s why they stink. If you have particularly odorous tootsies, try soaking them in salt water. A cup of salt for every quart of water should do the trick. Pat dry after 15 or so minutes.
Grab Some Cornstarch
via Dr. Oz
When you need to keep an area dry, try a sprinkle of moisture-absorbing cornstarch. Good ol’ baby powder and baking soda also works.