Occasional, mild body odor is normal, but excessive or unpleasant body odor can be a source of great discomfort for others and very embarrassing for you.
Strong and unpleasant odor emanates from the body when the sweat glands are overactive. But it is not sweat that causes body odor. The unpleasant odor occurs when sweat mixes with bacteria. The bacteria that cause odor grow quickly in a warm, moist environment.
Some other causes of offensive body odor include poor hygiene, nutrient deficiencies, gastrointestinal problems like chronic constipation, and underlying medical problems, such as genetic metabolic disorders, liver disease, or diabetes.
The primary symptom of body odor is an unusual, pungent smell arising from the body. Other symptoms include excessive sweating, weight loss, night sweats and cold hands.
Body odor can be treated with over-the-counter medicines or by practicing good hygiene. There are also simple and natural home remedies that get rid of body odor by controlling the growth of bacteria and reducing excessive sweating.
1. Baking Soda
As baking soda helps absorb moisture from the skin, it can absorb sweat and reduce body odor. Plus, it kills bacteria and works like a natural deodorant.
- Mix one tablespoon each of baking soda and lemon juice. Apply it to your underarms and other body parts where you sweat excessively. Leave it on for a couple of minutes and wash it off with water; do not scrub. Then take a shower or bath. Do this once daily for a few weeks.
- Alternatively, mix equal amounts of baking soda and cornstarch. Apply it directly onto your dry underarms to prevent sweating as well as bad odor. Use this remedy when you need protection for several hours.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a powerful bacteria-fighting ingredient. It also helps eliminate body odor by balancing the pH level of your skin.
- Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and rub it on your underarms. Wait two to three minutes and then take your shower. Follow this remedy twice daily, once in the morning and again before going to bed, until you notice improvement.
- Alternatively, add one cup of apple cider vinegar to lukewarm bath water. Soak in this water for 10 minutes once daily.
- You can also add two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar along with a little honey to a glass of warm water. Drink it three times daily before eating your meals.
3. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is great for treating body odor. The acidic property of lemon juice helps lower the skin’s pH level, which in turn makes it difficult for odor-producing bacteria to survive.
- Cut one fresh lemon into two halves. Rub one half of the lemon on your underarms. Make sure the juice gets onto your skin. Allow it to dry on its own, and then take your shower. Follow this remedy once daily until the odor is gone completely.
- If you have sensitive skin, you can dilute the juice from half a lemon in one-half cup of water and apply it to your underarms using a cotton ball. Leave it on for 10 minutes, and then wash it off with water. Do this once daily until you notice improvement.
Rosemary inhibits growth of odor-causing bacteria. It also contains menthol and chlorophyll, which have natural deodorant properties that neutralize strong body odor and also lend a nice fragrance to your body. Plus, it has zinc, of which a deficiency can cause body odor.
- Add one-half cup of dried rosemary leaves to four cups of hot water. Allow it to steep for 10 minutes, and then add it to your bath water. Soak in this bath water for 15 to 20 minutes. Pat dry your skin. Follow this remedy once daily to smell nice throughout the day.
- Alternatively, mix eight to 10 drops of rosemary essential oil in one ounce of water and apply it under your arms as a deodorant.
Note: If rosemary causes any kind of irritation, discontinue its use.
A delightfully fragrant herb, sage can be used to combat body odor. Sage reduces sweat gland activity and is an antibacterial agent that prevents bacteria from thriving on your skin.
- You can make a natural deodorant with five drops each of sage essential oil, coriander essential oil, and lavender essential oil along with two ounces of distilled witch hazel. Mix them together and put the solution in a spray bottle to use as a daily deodorant.
- Alternatively, add two tablespoons of dried sage to four cups of hot water and allow it to steep for 10 minutes. When the solution cools, use it to rinse your underarms. Do this two times daily until you get positive results.
- You can also drink sage tea. Steep one teaspoon of dried sage in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Strain the leaves and enjoy your tea. Do not drink more than two cups of sage tea in a day.
Note: Sage must not be used by a pregnant or nursing mother.
6. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel can lower the skin’s pH level and make it impossible for odor-causing bacteria to survive. Plus, its astringent properties contract skin pores and help reduce the production of sweat.
- Soak a cotton ball in witch hazel.
- Dab it under your arms.
- Do this whenever your body smells. It will work like an antiperspirant.
7. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has antibacterial as well as antiseptic properties to kill bacteria present on the skin and eliminate body odor. Also being an astringent, tea tree oil controls sweating.
- Add two drops of tea tree oil to one ounce (two tablespoons) of water.
- Pour the solution into a spray bottle and use it as a deodorant.
Note: Those who have highly sensitive skin must avoid using tea tree oil.
Turnips have antibacterial properties that help kill odor-causing bacteria. Plus, they are a good source of vitamin C and many other nutrients that help combat body odor.
- Cut two or three turnips into small pieces and put them in a blender to make a paste.
- Put the paste into a sieve and press it with a spoon to extract the juice.
- Apply this juice to your underarms and groin area.
- Allow it to dry on its own, and then rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Use this remedy each morning to keep yourself free from body odor for at least 10 hours.
You can also include turnips in your diet.
Tomatoes have antiseptic properties that can kill bacteria that cause body odor. They also help shrink pores and reduce sweating.
- Gently crush seven to eight tomatoes.
- Press the crushed tomatoes on a sieve to extract the juice.
- Add this freshly extracted juice to a bucket full of water.
- Use it to take your bath.
- Follow this remedy once daily to control body odor.
You can also drink one to two glasses of tomato juice daily to reduce body odor.
Wheatgrass contains a lot of chlorophyll that has a deodorizing effect. It also helps eliminate toxins.
- Mix one or two tablespoons of wheatgrass juice in one cup of water.
- Drink it on an empty stomach in the morning.
- Follow this routine daily until the body odor is gone.
Warning: As wheatgrass has a very strong taste, it may be nauseating for some people.
Along with these remedies, you need to maintain proper hygiene and follow a well balanced diet to get rid of body odor. Also to smell fresh, follow these additional tips:
- Bathe at least once a day.
- Always wash your clothes after wearing them once.
- Do not wear tight shoes and avoid wearing shoes for long periods of time.
- Manage your stress and anger as they can cause more sweating.
- Keep yourself dry as much as possible.
- Opt for cotton clothing rather than synthetic fabrics to avoid trapping sweat and moisture.
- Drink lots of water to flush toxins out of your body.