Your dermatologist’s guide to body odour!

Last Updated: Friday, June 13, 2014 - 17:43

Zee Media Bureau

I am sure nobody wants to smell nasty or wants to have body odour. Although it just happens somehow causing us shame, discomfort and stress because of its unpredictability and recurrence.

Yet few know what causes it. But worry not, as American Board Certified Dr Kiran Lohia MD, and Medical Director of Lumiere Dermatology, New Delhi, comes to your help and tells you all about it - causes, treatment and prevention, so you can suffer no more! Read below to learn more about this thwarting odour.

What causes body odour?

Body odour is caused by two primary factors. The first component is sweat! Perspiration is a vital process that your body uses to maintain your body’s equilibrium. It regulates your temperature and helps maintain proper homeostasis. There are two types of sweat glands – the first is eccrine sweat glands, which are found all over the body. They make salt and water when your body is overheated. The other types of sweat glands are the apocrine glands, which are found in hairy areas such as the groin and armpits. They are attached to the follicles and act in reaction to hormones or stress. These glands give off a more waxy and fatty material that is full of cell debris.

The second factor is bacteria! Bacteria thrive on the apocrine glands’ emissions, and multiply in response to their activity. They break down the cell debris and fat and create amino acids, resulting in that characteristic and frustrating odour. Ever notice that babies don’t smell? That is because they have not developed their apocrine glands yet! And, in kids before puberty, hormones have not activated those glands so they also tend not to smell either!

How do you prevent body odour?

The most important prevention method is:

Proper hygiene: Keep the area clean and wash it daily with soap and water. Remember to bathe after exercising as well, or that accumulated sweat will become even more food for those smelly bacteria.

Second, wear cotton clothes: Cotton fibers allow moisture to evaporate from the skin so that sweat is not stuck around. Letting the areas breathe is very important!

Third, avoid those spicy foods: Garlic, curry or other spices can change the smell of your sweat, so avoid them for a better fragrance!

Finally, don’t forget to shave: Hair traps sweat, allowing bacteria to proliferate. If you do not remove the hair regularly, then you will continue to have your frustrating body odour.

How do you treat it?

Now, even after doing all the recommended prevention techniques, many still have that noxious smell. Not to worry, there are many treatment options for body odour!

Wear deodourant or an antiperspirant: Deodourants make the area more acidic, thereby creating an environment where bacteria cannot grow! These deos are perfectly safe to wear on a daily basis, but look for those without fragrance in them. Antiperspirants act by reducing the amount of sweat produced. These also can be used safely and are better used by those who tend to sweat more than normal amounts.

Consider reducing your sweat: Botulinum toxin is a safe method for reducing the amount that you perspire. The patient is given some injections of botulinum toxin in the armpits - the toxin blocks the signals from the brain to the sweat glands, resulting in less sweating in the targeted area. One treatment can last from two to eight months. This is a popular treatment amongst the celebrities for the red carpet!

Radiofrequency: Radiofrequency can also act naturally reduce the amount you sweat. Look for an accredited skin doctor who understands how to use this new technology.

See a dermatologist: You may have an underlying fungal infection or hormonal condition that is not allowing your odour to go away. Make sure you go to a proper skin specialist who can determine if you have any problem that is making your odour occur! 



First Published: Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 21:43

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