None of us want to offend workmates, partners or fellow commuters with our body odor. However, maintaining a fresh scent is sometimes easier said than done—perhaps you don’t like the idea that your regular deodorant is full of toxic chemicals, or maybe you find that even strong products don’t seem to keep the smell of perspiration at bay in warmer weather. If you’re concerned about body odor, try the following ten home remedies.
Sage smells wonderful, and it both cuts down sweating and fights odor-causing bacteria. Sage tincture or diluted sage oil is available at many health food stores, and it can be put directly onto the armpit area. However, you should always wash your hands after application, as sage can irritate sensitive areas (such as the eyes or genitals).
2. Thorough drying
It can be tempting to just jump out of the shower and hastily rub the towel across your skin before getting dressed (especially if you’re in a hurry). However, if you want to smell good, it’s essential that you dry your whole body properly. If your skin stays wet, you create the perfect opportunity for bacteria to breed in the crevices of your body.
3. Witch hazel
Witch hazel has natural antiseptic properties, helping to get rid those pesky bacteria. Just put some witch hazel onto your armpit area after washing, and see if it is more effective than other deodorant products you’ve tried. As a bonus, witch hazel has a clean, flesh scent in its own right.
4. Dietary changes
We all know that certain foods are more likely to cause bad breath, but fewer people are aware that particular foods are capable of making body odor worse. Among them are any ingredients that promote sweat, such as hot peppers or Indian curries. Meanwhile, the same foods that lead to stinky breath can lead to smelly armpits, so consider cutting back on onions and garlic. Anything containing sulfur compounds will promote body odor.
5. Baking soda and lemon
Baking soda is great at absorbing moisture, so it can help to reduce body odor by absorbing sweat. It also has handy antibacterial properties. Alternative health practitioners note that it works best when mixed with lemon juice (in equal parts). Once you’ve combined the two ingredients, simply apply the paste to your armpits, leave it on for a few minutes, and then gently wash it off with warm water.
When you’re anxious, angry or stressed, you sweat more. As a result, you tend to smell worse! Learning how to maintain a calmer demeanor can therefore improve your scent. Try mindfulness exercises, guided meditations, using adult coloring books, or reading a good book. If you make time for self-care every day, you should find yourself sweating less often.
7. Turnip treatment
Turnips are perhaps one of the most surprising alternative treatments for body odor, but—like many other entries on this list—they have potent antibacterial properties. They also provide you with nutrients like vitamin C, which is known to reduce body odor. Just blend 2-3 turnips to make a paste, and then sieve to separate out the liquid. The resulting juice can then be patted onto your armpits. Let it dry, then gently rinse off with warm water. Some people swear that this remedy helps them stay fresh as a daisy for at least 10 hours!
8. Avoid smoking
As well as trigger many kinds of cancer, ruining your teeth and aging your skin, being a smoker tends to increase body odor. Think about it—a cigarette contains thousands of different chemicals and chemical compounds, and they slowly work their way through your body after you inhale. Some are expelled via the skin, causing a bad smell as they leave your body. Just another reason to quit smoking!
Apple cider vinegar and white vinegars can both reduce the pH of your skin, creating an acidic environment that is less hospitable to odor-causing bacteria. Consequently, you’ll soon notice an improvement in smell. Try applying some vinegar to your armpits after showering (provided you haven’t just shaved!), and you should smell clean all day. However, it’s worth applying just a little bit of vinegar to a small part of the skin before trying this remedy, in order to ensure your skin doesn’t become red or irritated.
10. Rosemary bath
Rosemary is a rich source of chlorophyll and menthol, both of which have natural deodorizing properties. Not only do they neutralize your scent, but they actually make you smell really good as well. Try adding half a cup of dried rosemary leaves to four cups of freshly boiled water, and let the rosemary steep for 10-15 minutes. Next, add this rosemary water to a warm bath, and soak for 20-30 minutes. Your worries about body odor should be gone for the rest of the day.
Finally, if you feel like you’ve tried just about everything and still notice a strong smell coming from your armpits, it’s worth talking to your doctor about this. An underlying medical condition could be playing a role, and there may be prescription medications you can try.