Despite the countless roles body odor might play, one thing is for certain: if you have bad body odor despite your best hygiene efforts, your life can be miserable. It can keep you from participating in social activities, hold you back in your career, and make it nearly impossible to find a partner.
Many potential issues can lead to bad body odor, from hygiene to diet and underlying illness to your family background. It could also be a result of a condition called bromhidrosis. According to the medical website Medscape, it’s unclear how many Americans suffer from bromhidrosis because it's underreported (source).
If your body odor is affecting your life, there is a good chance you may have bromhidrosis. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know: what bromhidrosis is, what causes bromhidrosis, bromhidrosis symptoms, and bromhidrosis treatments – including home remedies for bromhidrosis and medical treatments to consider.
According to Medscape, bromhidrosis is a common phenomenon in post-pubertal individuals. It is a chronic condition in which excessive odor, usually an unpleasant one, emanates from the skin. (source) Although many people associate body odor with sweat, your body has millions of glands that secrete either sweat or a thicker, oily substance. It’s the oily substance that causes the odor.
If your body odor is affecting your life, there is a good chance you may have bromhidrosis.
There are two types of bromhidrosis, related to the two types of sweat glands that we have.
The bacteria and germs that break down sweat are really the odor-causing troublemakers.
The causes of bromhidrosis depend on the type. Although sweat is usually the culprit, it is not at the root of bad smells. According to Dr. Miriam Hanson, board-certified dermatologist at Sanova Dermatology, the bacteria and germs that break down sweat are really the odor-causing troublemakers (source). As sweat breaks down, whether it is from apocrine or eccrine glands, the bacteria will keep producing the odor.
So, what causes bromhidrosis? Here’s a list of some of the most smell-producing issues:
As you might have guessed, the primary bromhidrosis symptom is foul-smelling body odor. This physical symptom can also create secondary symptoms, such as psychological distress and social ostracism.
Cleanliness is one of the best treatments for bromhidrosis. According to Dr. Mamelak, also of Sanova Dermatology, keeping the smelliest areas clean is always a good start (source). Other bromhidrosis treatment tips to help you combat odor include:
If heavily scented deodorants and antiperspirants aren’t working, try an unscented product instead. Although this might seem counterintuitive, fragrances can sometimes interact with your body odor and make it worse.
This is an obvious choice, but often people do not realize they are using deodorant instead of antiperspirant. Deodorants mask smells, while antiperspirants stop sweating by blocking sweat ducts. You should also make sure you’re using your antiperspirant properly with these steps:
To fight underarm odor, wash your armpits thoroughly twice a day. Use soap and water with an exfoliator to remove dead skin cells. According to Dr. Hanson, an exfoliating cleanser used every couple of days keeps skin fresh. Choose a cleanser containing glycolic acid to remove dead skin cells and sweat.
Hair removal is a good idea for a number of reasons. First, it can provide a clean surface for your antiperspirant. Second, it can help you to avoid skin conditions like folliculitis and hidradenitis suppurativa. Finally, it can also help reduce sweat and keep odors at bay. That is because some organisms and fungus can grow on your body hair; by removing that hair – such as by shaving your underarms – you can help reduce sweat and odor.
Did you know that certain foods make you sweat? If you are a guy who loves spice in your life or who likes to indulge in a few drinks, you might reduce body odor by limiting your consumption of these things. Pungent foods can be smelled in your sweat, while alcohol can make your body odor worse.
Here are some tips to change your diet and make healthier food choices to reduce body odor:
Pungent foods can be smelled in your sweat, while alcohol can make your body odor worse.
There are bromhidrosis treatments that you can discuss with your doctor if these extra hygiene techniques are not working. Medical treatments can include:
In addition to trying bromhidrosis treatments, you can also make small changes in your wardrobe to fight body odor. Specifically, look for clothing like undershirts, boxer briefs, and socks with odor-fighting materials. All Ejis undershirts, including our best-selling micro modal v-neck undershirt, have odor-fighting silver, as do our boxer briefs and socks. (Buy in our shop or on Amazon)
If you’re struggling with bromhidrosis, you now have a better understanding of what causes bromhidrosis, and bromhidrosis treatments you can try at home or discuss with your doctor. Along with trying out new treatments and/or lifestyle adjustments, learn how to get body odor out of your clothes... so it isn't a repeat offender.
If you're ready to take control over how bromhidrosis is affecting your life, Ejis products can help. We have anti-odor sweat proof undershirts, anti-odor sweat proof underwear, and anti-odor dress socks to help manage body odor wherever it affects you most.
This article was originally published in June 2019, and was updated in December 2019.
Most of us incorporate products into our daily hygiene routine to keep ourselves smelling – and feeling – fresh. These products can be especially important for those who have a daily battle with persistent underarm odor. When a product stops working halfway through the day, it's time to re-evaluate the product you currently use. To help you find a reliable product that ensures freshness throughout your day, check out our top picks for the best deodorant for smelly armpits.