With such demanding lifestyles, it’s no wonder that everyone smells a bit peculiar now and again—it’s just part of being a living, breathing animal. With that mind, the reasons why a less than appealing stench may suddenly come wafting out from your skin is not as cut-and-dry as you’d think.
There are various different bodily reactions which could be causing your current stenchy trace. Some of these are easily treatable, others are substantially more difficult, and there are even those that can’t be controlled at all. Here is a helpful list to better understand the more common explanations for this unpleasant circumstance, as well as easy ways to tackle it:
Whether it’s hot outside, you’ve just hit the gym, or you’ve got a fever, you may start sweating. Sweat itself is odorless, but bacteria aren’t, and these microorganisms love nothing more that to feed in wet, warm places, as they multiply quickly and then die within your folds.
Solution: Shower at least once a day, focusing on the areas you most typically sweat from. Dry yourself well afterward to destroy the bacteria’s preferred damp habitat, and then mask any potential smells with antiperspirant and/or deodorant. If you find this routine does not fully eradicate the issue, invest in antibacterial soap, speak to your doctor about prescription antiperspirant, and (in extreme cases) discuss surgically removing your sweat glands.
2. Your Wardrobe
As your body sweats, the material of your clothing will absorb this moisture, and once again these wet elements are perfect for bacteria and fungus to prosper. This is why wearing the same unwashed shirt or bra for days in a row will tend to give off a pungent scent, and can even lead to a rash.
Solution: Wash your clothes! You should also put on fresh clothing after you’ve been sweating, and remember that synthetic fabrics tend to trap odors far more persistently than the breathable alternatives (such as cotton or lace).
3. Your Home
If your house has a sharp smell to it, chances are that these aromas are clinging to your body and clothes, and you are carrying your home’s scent around with you everywhere you go.
Solution: Air out your house with open windows and then address all hygiene issues, by cleaning up moldy food, garbage bags, and dirty laundry. You should also look into replacing these undesirable smells with more inviting flavors, such incense, scented candles, and potpourri.
4. Your Feet
When it comes to body odor, the feet are often the most guilty, and it’s easy to see why. For a large portion of your day, your feet are shoved into dark, warm shoes where moisture builds up rapidly, creating a playground for bacteria to roam free.
Solution: Apply antiperspirant to your feet, use deodorant powders, and always wear socks. Rotate your pairs of shoes to give them a day or two to air out. Take your shoes off whenever you can, and go barefoot as often as possible. If nothing is working, try soaking your feet in a solution made from one part vinegar, and two parts water.
Like some cruel joke, the sweat produced in times of high pressure is of a completely different breed. Stress sweats come out from your apocrine glands, which secrete a less watery and more fatty consistency, leading to a much worse environment for bacteria to play in. As a result, these sweats tend to smell even worse.
Solution: Take breaks whenever you can. Practice meditation. And if all else fails, keep a stash of antiperspirant on your person at all times.
Annoying but true: a strange bodily aroma could be the result of eating healthy food! Onions, garlic, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower all circulate sulfur around your bloodstream, which can leak a poignant smell out of your pores.
Solution: Eat these select foods at well-chosen hours (not before any social gatherings, for example), and if you do, have a shower afterward, followed by drinking plenty of water.
Simply put, alcohol is a toxin, and your body will try to get rid of it by any means necessary, which includes seeping through your skin with an extra special potent stench. Furthermore, the larger the quantities you drink, the worse off you will be.
Solution: Limiting your intake is your best solution. In times when alcohol is unavoidable, try drinking slower and consume water between each glass. Your morning hangover will thank you too!
As one gets older, there is a reduction in the skin’s antioxidant defenses, meaning your natural oils break down faster, attracting bacteria more profusely than before. This is where the term “old person smell” comes from.
Solution: Make showering easier for seniors and encourage them to exercise more, whilst increasing their antioxidant intake with raw veggies, green tea, and fruit smoothies.
One of the more difficult body odor related culprits to address is medication, as these prescriptions may be causing one problem, but are busy fixing another. Bupropion hydrochloride (found in the antidepressants Zylan, Prozac, Zoloft, and Effexor), as well as decongestants, and muscle relaxers can all produce dry mouth (which is a prominent cause of bad breath), whilst morphine or fever-reducing drugs are known to make you sweat more.
Solution: Be honest with your doctor about these side effects and see if he or she can recommend an alternative solution.
10. Genetics, Diseases, and Disorders
In rare cases, your unique scent could be a result of a deeper issue. Trimethylaminuria is a disorder where your system can’t break down trimethylamine, leading to a fishy smell. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition when your body is deprived of insulin, allowing ketones to build up, and causing bad odor along with many other problems. Hyperhidrosis and bromhidrosis are responsible for an excess of sweating or secretion. And even complications such as kidney/liver disease, or magnesium/zinc deficiencies can be to blame.
Solution: In these situations, it is highly recommended that you speak to a specialist, looking at what medical options are available for your specific problem.