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Woman smelling her underarms

Body odour


What causes body odour? 

Despite what you might think, it’s not our sweat that is responsible for bad body odour.

Natural bacteria that are found on our skin feed on our sweat and release the smell that we refer to as ‘body odour’, otherwise known as bromhidrosis. The warm, damp conditions of the underarms make them an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive and for the sweat from our apocrine glands – which are more prone to releasing odour – to get trapped. This can also result in sweat patches on our clothes.

Causes of body odour

  • Body odour starts to occur when we’re going through puberty. Men tend to suffer more from body odour, as they sweat more from their apocrine glands than women, even though women actually have more sweat glands overall. 
  • What you eat can sometimes cause a sudden change in body odour. Certain foods, like curry, garlic or hot spices, alcohol, coffee and some types of medication can also make our sweat smell unpleasant.
  • Anxiety and stress can cause you to sweat more occasionally and that can lead to body odour.
  • Hormone fluctuations from menopause, pregnancy and menstruation can cause a change in body odour, however, it’s not always unpleasant.

How to prevent body odour?

If you sweat a lot, you may find that body odour is becoming a problem. Here are a few handy tips that could help you:

  • Make an antiperspirant deodorant part of your daily routine. Shield's Dry Shield Protection formula responds to body movements, releasing bursts of freshness throughout the day, thus helping to prevent body odour.
  • Sweat can easily get trapped in our armpits, feet, toes and genital area – which can lead to sweat patches – so it’s important to wash (with an appropriate soap or shower gel) and dry these parts of your body properly.
  • Take a shower or bath after your home workouts, so that you can get rid of bacteria and sweat.
  • Shave your underarms regularly. Underarm hair can slow down the evaporation of sweat and that gives bacteria more time to break it down into smelly substances. Having no underarms hair also allows your skin to absorb your antiperspirant more easily.
  • If smelly feet are a problem, you should make sure that you wear socks that are made from natural fabrics, and that you change them daily. Also, be sure to avoid wearing shoes made from synthetic materials.
  • Eat a healthy diet with foods such as fresh fruits, leafy vegetables, soy products and whole grains.

Shield has a range of antiperspirant innovations to help with body odour. They give 48-hour protection against sweat and body odour. However, we recommend that you see a doctor if you have cold sweats, if sweating disrupts your daily activities and if your body smells different than it usually does.

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