Body odour: how to deal with an unpleasant smell

body odour

Body odour is absolutely normal, but sometimes, a foul smell can be a sign that something needs to change. While taking good care of your health and hygiene can usually lead to a reduction in the smell, sometimes, it may need a professional medical opinion. 

Sweat: The Lowdown

When your body sweats, it can often give off a smell. This is not because the sweat itself smells but because the contact with the bacteria on your skin. Sweat occurs as the body’s natural response to try to cool itself down. For example, during hot weather, when exercising and often, when we feel embarrassed, nervous or angry. 

The worst parts of your body for odour linked to sweating are your armpits and your genitals. 

Feet are high on the list, too. In other words, for runners, smelly sweat can be a problem. Every foot has its own particular smell which is at its worst when we cover it with socks and shoes (running shoes are no exception!)  

The food we eat can also have an impact on the body odour we create. Strong smells, such as curry and garlic, can come out of your sweat glands and make it even more unpleasant.

Preventing the Smell

The most common reason for smelly sweat is poor hygiene. Not showering on a regular basis, especially after exercising, can lead to a stale sweat, which is incredibly unpleasant. Putting on fresh, clean clothes after showering is imperative, too. If you possibly can, try to shower at the gym after hitting the treadmill as there is no way you want your car to have a sweaty odour, too. 

After going for a run, be sure to complete your cool down and then shower straight away. Sitting in your dirty running gear can lead to bacterial problems and you certainly won’t smell pleasant either.

Running gear is a funny thing. We will often find one product that we prefer over others and, therefore, overwear them. If we are not careful, the clothing can have a leftover smell of sweat. However, using an antibacterial washing liquid when dealing with your running gear can make a positive difference. Be sure to wash the clothes immediately rather than letting them hang around in the washing basket, the smell lingering. 

Don’t forget that your running shoes can succumb to a powerful pong, too, so be sure to air them after every run. Whether you put them in the washing machine is a controversial subject in running circles, so we cannot possibly advise you whether that’s a good idea or not. 

How to deal with an unpleasant smell

Things to Avoid

  • Excessive weight 
  • Tight clothing
  • Spicy and oily food
  • Too much alcohol
  • Too much coffee and tea
  • Too much chocolate and peanuts 

Things to Do

  • Have a balanced diet – less spice, more protein and vegetables
  • Drinking lots of fluid and juices would also help
  • Shower daily and wash yourself thoroughly
  • Add a cup of vinegar to your bath, when you have one (once a week is optimal)
  • Take a towel with you to the gym to mop up any excess sweat

While there are lots of things that can be done to prevent an unpleasant smell as the result of runner’s sweat. However, it is a natural thing and while you can minimise its impact, you will not be able to get rid of it completely. The good thing is that when you are running with others, they will undoubtedly smell a bit, too!

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