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Body Odour

The most obnoxious part about summer, apart from the heat, is undoubtedly the many body odours that irritate our olfactory senses. But contrary to popular belief, it is possible to keep body odour down without much hassle. Body odour must be one of the greatest antisocial epidemics of our times. It seems you cannot go anywhere on the underground, on a bus, along a busy shopping mall or into a pub without noticing that unpleasantly distinctive, acrid, penetrating and pungent stale sweat smell produced by human bodies, usually male.

Every region of the human body has a different odour; sometimes the odour is so distinctive so as to allow immediate identification of its origin. For instance, scalp and feet odours are easily recognised. If you think perspiration causes body odour, you are not wrong. But body odour is not dueto perspiration alone. Perspiration itself is essentially odourless when first secreted; the offending odour develops from the action of bacteria on the perspiration. These bacteria are present on everyone's skin and are most active in warm, moist surroundings. Hence, body odour is most likely to develop in areas of the body from which perspiration cannot evaporate easily, such as underarms.

However, bacteria do not make all perspiration odourous. There are sweat glands all over the skin. There are two types of sweat glands, eccrine glands and apocrine glands, which secrete different kinds of perspiration. Eccrine sweat glands are found all over the body surface. Their primary function is to aid in regulating body temperature. Heat, high humidity or nervous tension stimulates them to produce large amounts of a clear, salty sweat that cools the body as it evaporates. Eccrine sweat usually does not cause an odour problem. Body odour is related primarily to the sweat secreted by the apocrine glands and bacteria. These glands are concentrated in the underarm area (axilla), around the nipples and in the genital area.

There are three important factors in creating odours in your body.

The patterns and type of secretory glands on the skin surface.

The positioning of the skin itself-the armpits, for example, make it very difficult for sweat to evaporate and so produce a characteristic odour.

The concentration of bacteria: The skin's surface provides nutrients for the growth of bacteria.The number of bacteria are variable in different parts of the body being maximum in parts like the scalp, axilla, genital areas and the feet.

Controlling Body Odour

Bathe at least twice a day.

Hair can trap sweat and millions of germs. Remove the hair in your underarms and private parts regularly.

Wear clean, washed clothes every day.

Avoid synthetic wear because cotton is definitely cooler than synthetic.

Also avoid tight fitting clothes, they make the problem of sweating worse.

Avoid hot drinks and hot crowded places.

Regularly cleanse your body with medicated cleansers if possible.

Use deodorants every day, or even twice a day, if required. Use deodorants made by reputed companies.

If you sweat excessively,then you should use an antiperspirant on alternate days.

If after doing all this, you still have body odour, then you should check for other factors. There could be certain metabolic or hormonal disorders, infectious diseases, some drugs or even some foods such as garlic and onions which could be causing excessivebody odour. You may need to see a dermatologist to determine the root cause.

As earlier mentioned, it is important to moisturize your skin after your bathe and cleanse your face. The next chapter will tell you how to make effective use of moisturizers in your skin care routine.



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