What Causes Underarm Body Odor?

Ugh, the smell, the stains, the general overall embarrassment when you realize in front of a crowded room, job interview or god forbid on a date, that your deodorant is not working. You hope that you are the only one who can smell it, but keep your arms flat against the side of your body just in case.

Everyone has some kind of body odor and those odors emitted are there for a reason. For example, pheromones are excreted to attract future mates and or instill the bond between newborn baby and mother. But, those are not the inconvenient smells we are talking about.

The apocrine gland found under the arms, scalp and groin region, is milky substance secreted when a person is under emotional stress. When sweat in these places is released, it is actually odorless but not colorless, hence the yellowing stains you see on shirts and blouses. So where does the crinkling of your nose smell come from?

Two Sides to Every Story

There seems to be two different trains of thought when it comes to what causes the nasty smell that can accompany sweat. The first thought process is that the smell stems from thriving bacteria living in those above-mentioned areas, feast on your delectable sweat proteins and excrete foul smelling fatty acids as waste. According to The Washington Post, “The scent we know as B.O. is basically… bacteria passing gas.”

The second thought process is, what you put in your body will eventually need to come out, smelly toxins and all. According to Mike Adams of Natural News, “there’s more to it than just cooling your body temperature through perspiration — another function of the sweat glands in your armpits is to excrete toxins from your body. That’s why sweating is an important part of maintaining optimum physical health.”

Regardless of why smelly odors occur, nutrition seems to have a lot to do with it. The worse your diet habits are and if you are not eating enough healthy foods to provide essential vitamins and minerals your body needs, the more powerful the smell is when it is excreted. So this adds more value to the old adage, you are what you eat.

Does Deodorant Cause Cancer

Antiperspirants were created to temporarily seal the underarm pores, usually by using aluminum chlorohydrate, which prevents wetness or parabens, a preservative, to block sweat and bacteria from escaping. There are also two sides to this theory if continual use of these chemicals causes an increased risk of breast cancer or not.

Unfortunately, there are very few studies being done researching this topic.   At this point there does not seem to be any correlation to aluminum/paraben use causing breast cancer. The Susan G. Komen Foundation, responsible for all the little pink ribbons you see everywhere, has this to say, “there have been reports of concern that chemicals found in deodorants and antiperspirants could penetrate the skin of the underarm and cause harm. Although there have only been a few studies looking at use of these products and breast cancer risk, the research to date doesn’t support a link between the two.”

But, the armpit is one of the places on the body that quickly and easily absorbs anything that goes into it. By this thought process alone one can deduce that consistently using chemicals in that area can lead to dangerous consequences. More studies need to be done to accurately decide either way.

Neutralizing Bad Odor Naturally

There are several ways to eliminate odor without having to use chemically based deodorant like using natural deodorants instead. Before you start crying out, THESE DONT WORK, check out these two brands, Lãfes Roll On Deodorant and Primal Pit Paste.

Lãfes is a roll on powder that is wet when it goes on but dries like a powder. They have several varieties and kinds to choose from. Primal Pit Paste is available in different sizes, a trial size is also available, and many different scents. They have pastes and sticks for both men and women and I personally am a fan of both products.

There are also actual natural remedies that help fight odor like:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Rosemary Oil
  • Chlorophyll
  • Lemon

Whatever your choice is to help keep body odors away, just know that the people around you appreciate it.

Removing Underarm Stains

Underarm stains are not only embarrassing but they are incredibly tough to remove, especially if you let them build up. More often than not those yellow tainted shirts end up in the garbage. Here are some tips you can use to try and remove those ugly marks instead of tossing them away:

  • Aspirin contains salicylic acid that can loosen up the yellowing
  • Baking Soda can be used for just about anything. In this instance it cleans and freshens.
  • Lemons smell delightful and the acid is able to break down the enzymes causing the stain.
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Dawn dish detergent with peroxide

Having B.O. is awful for anyone, knowing how to stop it is your best defense. Whichever deodorant you choose, keep in mind that most foul odors wafting from your body, if bathing is not the issue, is diet and nutrition. Be aware of what is going into your body, because your body will surely let you know one way or another.




Tags: aluminum, B.O., body odor, deoderant, healthy diet, underarm odor

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  1. Reply

    Corpo alimentado, sem fome e bem nutrido, não precisava
    mais armazenar gordura, logo iria acabar com Sobre Peso.

    • Bob Hewitt
    • March 24, 2015

    Great article – I’m glad to be a ‘sweet smelling vegan’ !!
    Thanks Kirsten – your articles are always excellent and informative.

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