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Body odor can occur when sweat mixes with the bacteria that make their home on your skin. Avoiding it starts with staying clean and dry.

Sweating is healthy; it cools your body. But if you’ve ever sweated through a workout, a hot summer day, or a stressful situation, you’re probably no stranger to body odor. Perspiration itself — made up mostly of water and salt — is practically odorless, but when it mixes with the bacteria that live on your skin, the result is body odor.
You may think of your armpits as ground zero for body odor, but other areas of the body also produce odor. These include your feet, upper thighs, and groin area.
Lifestyle Changes Keep Body Odor at Bay
Keeping body odor away is often as easy as following some basic rules of hygiene:
  • Bathe at least once a day — more often if you’re sweating heavily. Showering or taking a bath reduces the amount of bacteria on your skin; it also washes sweat down the drain.
  • Use an antibacterial soap. This will help keep bacteria in check, which will control odor.
  • Dry yourself carefully. Pay particular attention to the skin between your toes and to areas where you sweat heavily. When skin is dry, it’s harder for bacteria to breed.
  • Shave your underarms regularly. This will help keep bacteria from building up there.
  • Use a deodorant and/or an antiperspirant. Deodorants are alcohol-based and cover up the odor caused by bacteria, but they don’t stop sweating. Antiperspirants contain aluminum-based chemicals that temporarily reduce sweating. Many antiperspirants also contain a deodorant.
  • Wear clothes made with natural fibers. Cotton, wool, and silk all let your skin breathe. For workouts, you may feel more comfortable wearing moisture-wicking fabrics.
  • Wash your clothes often — especially workout clothes that you sweat in. In summer, when you’re more likely to perspire, change your clothes frequently.
  • Enlist the help of your shoes and socks. To keep your feet dry, wear socks made of moisture-absorbing materials like cotton and wool and change them often. It can also help to use sweat-absorbing foot powders. To allow your feet to breathe, choose shoes made of leather. If your feet sweat heavily, let your shoes dry completely by not wearing the same pair two days in a row. Better yet, go barefoot when you can.
  • Watch what you eat. Sometimes eating spicy or fatty foods can lead to body odor.
Treating Body Odor
If you perspire heavily enough to disrupt your normal routine, you may have a condition called hyperhidrosis. Consult your doctor. Sometimes a prescription antiperspirant can help; if you try one, keep in mind that it’s most effective when applied at bedtime to the most sweat-prone areas of your body.
You should also call your doctor if you start having night sweats for no reason or if you suddenly sweat much more or much less than usual. And if you notice a change in your body odor, it could signal certain medical conditions that require treatment.
Fortunately, home remedies are all it takes to banish normal body odor. Keep yourself and your clothing clean and dry, and you’ll smell like a rose.