Understanding Body Odor

There are two glands that produce sweat:

  • Eccrine, which produce watery sweat that helps cool the body
  • Apocrine, which secrete sweat filled with lipids that are waxy and fatty

Eccrine sweat glands are the primary sweat gland and can be found throughout the body. Apocrine glands are found where hair follicles are most concentrated.

Why Do You Have Body Odor?

Body odor is not caused by sweat – it is caused by bacteria that are attracted to the waxy and fatty secretions of the apocrine sweat glands. Sweat is nearly undetectable to the human nose, but the bacteria that feed on it secrete acids as a byproduct – and these produce odors that are often unpleasant and sometimes downright offensive.

Having excessive hair around apocrine glands gives bacteria more surface to cling to and can make body odor worse. This is why unpleasant odor is more prominent in areas with pubic hair, such as the groin and genitals, as well as those with other types of body hair, such as the armpits.

What causes body odor, even after bathing, are the acidic secretions of bacteria. You can use antibacterial soap to address this issue, but without consistent and thorough washing, you’re really just covering one scent with another – and those benefits are not sustainable for long. The same is true of deodorants and perfumes – while they can mask the scent of body odor temporarily, they cannot prevent its occurrence and will ultimately fail at producing real results in people who struggle with chronic and persistent sweating.

Unlike standard deodorants, antiperspirant deodorants target apocrine sweat glands to prevent their secretions and may prove effective at controlling body odor for some people.

Tips for Reducing Body Odor Infographic for Andover Plastic Surgeon Dr. George Chatson

How Do You Stop Your Armpits from Smelling

Antiperspirants may be effective as a solution to body odor. So too might actions such as:

  • Removing unnecessary hair
  • Avoiding pungent and spicy foods
  • Utilizing antibacterial solutions to clean the skin
  • Keeping underarm’s dry
  • Wearing breathable fabrics

It is important to remember that diet plays a large role in odor production. A diet high in fat can lead to unpleasant underarm odor. Fat is one of the primary secretions in apocrine sweat.

If at-home methods fail, there are other options as well. These include:

  • miraDry® – a noninvasive treatment that uses controlled energy to target and destroy apocrine sweat glands. Once destroyed, these glands will no longer produce sweat, making miraDry® a safe and effective way to permanently reduce excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
  • BOTOX® – a neurotoxin that works to shut down the sweat glands temporarily. As with its cosmetic use, BOTOX® is not permanent and will need to be reinjected as odor begins to return, typically every four to 14 months.

If traditional methods, such as antiperspirants, careful food considerations, and hair removal have failed to control your body odor, it may be time to look into a more advanced approach. Andover plastic surgeon Dr. George Chatson would be honored to meet with you to discuss this professional treatment and help you determine if it can help restore your comfort and confidence.

To schedule a consultation at our Andover, Massachusetts office, please call 978-687-1151. In Nashua and surrounding areas of New Hampshire, please call Dr. Chatson at 603-882-2103 to schedule your body odor treatment consultation.

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