Why do I smell?
The bigger question is… who doesn’t?
Let’s face it; we all do at some point or another to varying levels! It is in fact a perfectly normal part of being human and nothing to be ashamed of.
Put simply, we smell because we sweat, sweating is another perfectly normal and necessary bodily function – but we’ll look into that more another time. Sweat itself hardly ‘smells’ at all, but when the bacteria that lives naturally on our skin begins to ‘eat’ some of the by-products that sweat produces, it results in creating and releasing what we know as ‘body odour’.
- We all sweat
- We all have bacteria on our skin
- We all produce body odour
Now more than ever we live in a world that promotes good health and personal hygiene, but as far back as the Egyptians, we have been trying to rid ourselves of, and mask body odour with varying concoctions.
It is when we cannot control or improve that which is naturally produced with washing and off the shelf antiperspirants and deodorants that we have to stop and consider whether we have ‘regular B.O’ or whether a condition known as Bromhidrosis may be the cause?
What is Bromhidrosis?
Well, Bromhidrosis is the medical term for a chronic condition that causes extreme body odour; this is no regular B.O and no laughing matter, pungent, persistent and quite often devastating to the sufferer.
There are two types of Sweat Glands which cause Bromhidrosis…
Both occur when sweat and bacteria on the skin mix.
Apocrine is the most common, apocrine glands are mostly found in the armpits and groin area, the bacteria that builds on skin creates enzymes that break down the lipid rich apocrine gland sweat. This action creates by-products, such as Butyric Acid and Thioalcohols which give off an unpleasant, strong, and often sour odour.
Eccrine is the least common form, generally this type of sweat is not malodorous consisting almost entirely of water, eccrine glands can be found all over the surface of the body but are most numerous on the palms of hands and soles of feet, however when sweat from the eccrine glands soften the keratin in the skin, bacteria is able to break it down, the softer the keratin the easier the bacteria is able to degrade it and cause an offensive odour.
This type of Bromhidrosis can also result from ingestion of strong smelling foods and some medications which the body naturally secretes.
Regular B.O or Bromhidrosis?
In most cases, Bromhidrosis is commonly present in one or both underarms, but it can also present in the groin or on the feet. Regular washing helps of course, but sufferers of Bromhidrosis will find that an odour still persists, regardless of washing and maintaining good daily personal hygiene, and often presents again soon after washing or application of an antiperspirant or deodorant.
Medical diagnosis can be confirmed by performing a simple swap test of the bacteria on the affected skin area. The presence of excessive Corynebacterium, Propionibacterium, Micrococcus or Staphylococcus bacteria would indicate the condition.
There are many factors that can cause Bromhidrosis, alter and/or increase body odour aside from the main culprits – Sweat and Bacteria, these include genetics, diet, lifestyle, medication and underlying medical conditions.
On occasions, a sweat gland can also become infected and blocked, which can create a strong body odour. In this instance, the infection should be inspected and treated by your doctor, and wouldn’t necessarily indicate Bromhidrosis.
The stigma surrounding body odour is often the most debilitating part of the condition. The anxiety, depression, the lack of confidence, ridicule and often the withdrawal from social situations that the sufferer may experience as a result of it can be far worse than the body odour itself.
The good news is it can be treated, to reduce and improve the odour.
The first step is to recognise and understand the underlying cause of the condition, the information outlined already should go a long way towards helping with that.
By changing your diet
We are what we eat, really comes in to affect here! The by-products of food we eat, things we drink and oral medications secrete in our sweat, generally the stronger and more pungent, the worse the body odour. We have included a small list below of some of the main offenders that may be adding to your odour.
- Brussel Sprouts
By maintaining good personal hygiene
Making sure that problem areas are cleaned thoroughly on a daily basis can go a long way toward reducing the odour causing sweat and bacteria on your skin.
It is especially important to think about those hard to reach areas.
Areas where the skin may fold or crease on to itself, because such areas provide sweat and bacteria that have become trapped with the perfect environment to create odour.
By reducing sweat
We already know that sweat is a key contributing factor towards body odour, so with that in mind…Do you sweat heavily and frequently? Do you produce sweat at times when it should not really occur?
If so, this could point to an excessive sweating disorder known medically as Hyperhidrosis – which we will explore in more detail at a later date – so the Bromhidrosis would likely be as a result of the excess sweat produced, and would need to be treated alongside in order to make any improvements to body odour.
By decreasing skin bacteria
Removing excess body hair is a good starting point; hair can trap sweat and odour causing bacteria.
Changing sweat soaked clothes often lessens the time bacteria have to create odour.
Most importantly of all – swap what you wash with – standard soaps, gels and washes are unable to lift and remove odour-causing bacteria, so the skin will never really reach a clean state by their use alone. And further sweating only compounds the problem.
Perspi-Guard® Odour Control Bodywash, scientifically formulated for the treatment of Bromhidrosis, used daily with its active ingredient Triclosan, it can totally eradicate the odour-causing bacteria that build up on the skin.
When used in conjunction with Perspi-Guard® Maximum Strength Antiperspirant – available separately or together in our Perspi-Guard® Sweat Defence™ system dual pack, skin will remain sweat and odour-free for up to 5 days, guaranteed to work or your money back!