The Science of Stink—Dealing With Body Odour?

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Shahnaz Husain

Is excessive sweating in armpits, feet and groin bothering you? Unpleasant sweating in summers is major cause of embarrassment. sweating is the body’s natural way to regulate its temperature but terrible smell becomes a problem. Excessive sweating which is known as hyperhidrosis could be caused due to stress, physical exercise, emotional excitement, diet, hygiene stadards, heredity hormonal imbalance and high temperature.
While sweat itself is virtually odourless, When sweat encounters bacteria on the surface of your skin, it produces nuisance called body odour
Perspiration is the body’s natural way of cooling itself. Sweat mixes with surface bacteria and decomposes fast, creating problems of body odour. Body odour actually forms about six hours after we sweat. The waste matter that is secreted with sweat has to be removed by washing and bathing, in order to avoid stale odour and feel fresh.
Bathing and scrubbing help to clear away germs, dirt and odour. All parts of the body must be washed well, specially the neck, armpits and feet. These are the areas where germs accumulate and cause odour. Adding cologne to the bath water leaves the body fragrant. Colognes also have a cooling effect. Shower gels and body shampoos, containing natural ingredients, like sandalwood, rose and khus have a cooling and refreshing effect. They are not only natural coolants, but have germicidal and antiseptic benefits. Wear cotton underwear and clothes during the humid season. Porous materials help sweat to evaporate. Loose, light clothing is much more appropriate and comfortable during summer. Daily changes of clothing is, of course, a must.
The use of anti-perspirants and deodorants do help. Most deodorants are also anti-perspirants. A spray, rather than the roll-on deodorants may be more suitable in summer, but this is a matter of personal choice. However, be sure to choose a mild deodorant, as strong built-in anti-perspirants can cause skin irritation or sensitive reactions. It is always better to try them out on a small area, on the inner arm, first. If the skin tingles or burns for more than a minute, you should not use it. Some people find the use of talcum powders quite adequate. They absorb perspiration and maintain freshness for some time.
Climate also plays a part in choosing the right perfume. In hot and humid conditions, it is better to go for light, lemony and fresh fragrances, rather than heavy ones. The effect of perfumes intensifies in hot and humid weather. A heavy perfume can be quite overpowering. Lemon, rose, lavender or sandalwood are light and refreshing during hot weather.
Here are some tips for preventing body odour:
Be generous with the use of colognes, even splashing them on. Colognes and Eau de Toilette constitute mainly water, or a mixture of alcohol and water, with only 2 to 5 % perfume. They are lighter and leave a light lingering fragrance.
Colognes can be added to bath water. Or, add eau de cologne to a mug of water and used as a last rinse. It has a cooling effect too.
Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) helps to prevent body odour. Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply under the arms. You can also add lemon juice to this paste. Leave on for ten minutes and wash off with water. Or, mix a little baking soda with your talcum powder and apply under the arms, or on the feet.
Potato slices can also be rubbed on areas where odour forms easily.
You can also add one teaspoon alum to your bath water. Crush some mint leaves and add them too.
Rose water can always be added generously to bath water. It is a natural coolant and also fragrant.
Add 2 drops of Tea Tree Oil to two tablespoons of water or rose water. Apply this under the arms with cotton wool.
To remove odour from the hair, add the juice of a lemon and half a cup of rose water to a mug of water and use as a last rinse.
For excessive perspiration (which can result in body odour), Ayurveda gives some dietary suggestions:
Sip “nimbu paani.” Sip ginger tea before and after your meals. Chop fresh ginger root finely and mix with a pinch of salt. Chew a little of this before your meal. Sipping warm water with your meal may also help. Light diet and less spices are advised. Eat smaller meals.
The author is international fame beauty expert and is called herbal queen of India