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Easy and Natural Ways to Fight Body Odor

Body odor, or BO as it’s not-so-affectionately called, is an embarrassment and a turnoff. Nobody wants to smell badly, but some people’s bodies just naturally produce more odor than others…even if they’re taking a shower every day!

Let’s take a closer look at what causes body odor and how you can treat and prevent it the natural way.

Photo credit: mmntz via Flickr

Photo credit: mmntz via Flickr

What Causes Body Odor

When the body sweats, it produces a natural odor, but that odor can be very strong if the sweat glands are overactive. Although sweat itself doesn’t cause odor, it contributes to the smell when it mixes with bacteria in and on the body. A pungent odor can be accompanied by other symptoms, like night sweats and cold hands.

These are some of the most common causes of bad body odor:

  • Poor hygiene
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Nutrient deficiencies

Certain foods that are rich in carnitine, an amino acid prevalent in pork and beef, leave residues in the intestines that must be broken down by digestive enzymes. Body odors can be made worse by foods you eat if those enzymes are in short supply or if your body can’t eliminate the toxins that it absorbs from the environment. Odors are most common in the armpits, feet, and genitals.

Natural Remedies for Body Odor

Chemically-based body sprays, perfumes, and colognes only mask the smell. So to really treat body odor, you’ll need to address it at the source.

Vinegar might be the last thing you think of putting on your skin to smell better, but it has a way of lowering the pH of your skin, and bacteria need high pH levels to thrive and produce a smell. Witch hazel is good for body odor for this reason too. Soak a cotton ball in either vinegar or witch hazel and dab it in your armpits instead of commercial deodorant.

Photo credit: Ninian Reid via Flickr

Photo credit: Ninian Reid via Flickr

Lemon juice is another great home remedy for body odor. Simply dab or squeeze the juice onto your skin, or dilute it with water to reduce the acidity. Baking soda is another good remedy because it absorbs sweat from the skin and works to kill bacteria too.

Essential oils and herbs are also important in keeping your body smelling fresh and healthy. For example, tea tree oil has antibacterial properties, and you can dilute it with water to apply to your underarms.  Meanwhile, sage is great for fighting body odor because it helps reduce sweat gland activity and has antibacterial properties as well. Try mixing sage oil with extra virgin olive oil to apply to your underarms, or mix the dried herb with tea either to drink or rinse your underarms with warm water. Other oils that have shown to be beneficial for fighting the bacteria that causes body odor include lavender, peppermint, and pine.

Body Odor Prevention Tips

Of course, it’s often easier and more convenient to prevent body odor before it strikes rather than treating it with DIY or over-the-counter remedies. Here are some prevention tips to keep in mind to feel fresh all day without fear of offending those around you.

  • Shave your underarm hair to discourage bacteria growth
  • Change socks and shoes daily
  • Try natural, aluminum-free deodorants to avoid toxins
  • Shower or bathe daily
  • Consider taking a wheat grass or chlorophyll supplement as a natural deodorizer
  • Detox your body with natural diet and colon cleansers like nopal cactus and seaweed
  • Eat lots of green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale

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