Sweat it out!-A A +A
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
HAVE you ever finished a sweaty workout, and within minutes, noticed a peculiar smell? When 17-year-old Raul left the gym after basketball practice, he walked up to a group of friends. All of a sudden, someone commented of an odor emitting from a body.
Since before Raul came to join the group, no one complained of that smelly body odor, then Raul thought that he was the primary culprit. "When I realized it was me, I was humiliated," he said.
Raul is not the first or last person to notice body odor. Generally, bromhidrosis (another word for body odor) happens at puberty because of increasing hormones called androgens. These hormones are not active until puberty, which is why body odor isn't a problem among kids.
Body odor (B.O. for short) is the unpleasant smell caused by the mixing of perspiration, or sweat, and bacteria on the skin. Sweat is generally an odorless body secretion. When bacteria multiply on the skin and break down these secretions, however, the resulting by-products may have a strong and disagreeable odor.
We produce two kinds of sweat: eccrine and apocrine. My source said that eccrine sweat glands secrete a mixture of water, salt, urea, and lactic acid onto the skin. When you are overheated, sweat seeps over your body, especially where the eccrine glands are numerous.
Eccrine sweat glands are concentrated in the armpits, the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet, and the forehead. As the sweat dries off, the skin is cooled by the surrounding air. Eccrine glands do not release any tissue cells or cell contents into their watery secretions.
In contrast, apocrine sweat is a heavier liquid containing various organic substances, including pheromone hormones. These glands are found mostly under the arms and around the groin. They develop during puberty, and are thought to serve a biological function in sexual attraction.
Oftentimes, B.O. is due to poor personal hygiene. As such, experts suggest a program of daily bathing, changes in diet, and changes in clothing:
* Bathe daily to remove bacteria from your skin, especially the armpits and groin area where the bacteria are most prevalent. Scrub the armpits with a soapy washcloth as that will work better to remove the bacteria than just soap in your hands. Deodorant soap is preferable as it helps fight bacteria more than regular soaps.
* Clothing is an area many people overlook. Loosely fitting clothes allow the body to breathe better than tight clothes. The perspiration escapes and doesn't become a breeding ground for bacteria. The type of fabric is also very important. Synthetic fabrics for shoes and clothes don't allow the body to breathe, so use all natural fabrics. Wash your clothes often!
Dietary changes are also very important in eliminating various sources of odor. Fatty foods, oils, or strong-smelling foods like onion, garlic, and other exotic spices can seep through your pores and cause body odor. Fried and baked goods may contain rancid fats and oils that lead to B.O. Try eliminating these from your diet for a week or two and see if this makes a difference. (Always see a doctor or dietician before making drastic dietary changes.)
Although you can usually smell your own B.O. if it is from your armpits, many people don't realize they have general body odor because they have become accustomed to it. Shaving your underarm regularly will help prevent the accumulation of bacteria and can reduce sweat and odor.
Or you may try using a crystal rock made from the mineral salt potassium alum instead of a deodorant. It won't keep you dry as an antiperspirant will, but they clog your sweat glands.
Another thing that may do the trick is apple cider vinegar. My source said it eliminates under arm body odor when used in place of deodorant because it reduces the pH of the skin. Bacteria can't live in areas with low pH. White vinegar is also helpful. Place some on a cotton ball and apply to the underarms instead of deodorant. The vinegar smell is gone in minutes and you should be smell-free all day.
Meanwhile, there are several other factors that may contribute to chronic body odor aside from poor hygiene. According to medical experts, these may include coffee and other stimulants (which increase apocrine gland secretion, increasing the possibility of unpleasant odors), states of high anxiety and stress (these stimulate perspiration may increase the risk of body odors), and chain-smoking and heavy drinking (alcohol and nicotine increase the rate of perspiration).
Certain drugs may also be responsible for the excretion of odors. Health problems like liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes, yeast infection, fungal infections, or gastrointestinal disorders may likewise lead to body odor.
If your BO may be caused by an underlying condition, a thorough medical exam is recommended along with a blood screen and blood chemistry panel.
In addition, if you have excessive sweating (called in medical parlance as hyperhidrosis), talk to your doctor. There are many treatment options for those with more severe sweating who desire more permanent treatments.
For comments, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 05, 2011.