Occasional, mild body odor is normal, but excessive or unpleasant body odor can be a source of great discomfort for others and very embarrassing for you.
Strong and unpleasant odor emanates from the body when the sweat glands are overactive. But it is not sweat that causes body odor. The unpleasant odor occurs when sweat mixes with bacteria. The bacteria that cause odor grow quickly in a warm, moist environment.
Some other causes of offensive body odor include poor hygiene, nutrient deficiencies, gastrointestinal problems like chronic constipation, and underlying medical problems, such as genetic metabolic disorders, liver disease, or diabetes.
The primary symptom of body odor is an unusual, pungent smell arising from the body. Other symptoms include excessive sweating, weight loss, night sweats and cold hands.
Body odor can be treated with over-the-counter medicines or by practicing good hygiene. There are also simple and natural home remedies that get rid of body odor by controlling the growth of bacteria and reducing excessive sweating.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for body odor.
1. Baking Soda
As baking soda helps absorb moisture from the skin, it can absorb sweat and reduce body odor. Plus, it kills bacteria and works like a natural deodorant.
- Mix one tablespoon each of baking soda and lemon juice. Apply it to your underarms and other body parts where you sweat excessively. Leave it on for a couple of minutes and wash it off with water; do not scrub. Then take a shower or bath. Do this once daily for a few weeks.
- Alternatively, mix equal amounts of baking soda and cornstarch. Apply it directly onto your dry underarms to prevent sweating as well as bad odor. Use this remedy when you need protection for several hours.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a powerful bacteria-fighting ingredient. It also helps eliminate body odor by balancing the pH level of your skin.
- Soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and rub it on your underarms. Wait two to three minutes and then take your shower. Follow this remedy twice daily, once in the morning and again before going to bed, until you notice improvement.
- Alternatively, add one cup of apple cider vinegar to lukewarm bath water. Soak in this water for 10 minutes once daily.
- You can also add two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar along with a little honey to a glass of warm water. Drink it three times daily before eating your meals.
3. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is great for treating body odor. The acidic property of lemon juice helps lower the skin’s pH level, which in turn makes it difficult for odor-producing bacteria to survive.
- Cut one fresh lemon into two halves. Rub one half of the lemon on your underarms. Make sure the juice gets onto your skin. Allow it to dry on its own, and then take your shower. Follow this remedy once daily until the odor is gone completely.
- If you have sensitive skin, you can dilute the juice from half a lemon in one-half cup of water and apply it to your underarms using a cotton ball. Leave it on for 10 minutes, and then wash it off with water. Do this once daily until you notice improvement.
Rosemary inhibits growth of odor-causing bacteria. It also contains menthol and chlorophyll, which have natural deodorant properties that neutralize strong body odor and also lend a nice fragrance to your body. Plus, it has zinc, of which a deficiency can cause body odor.
- Add one-half cup of dried rosemary leaves to four cups of hot water. Allow it to steep for 10 minutes, and then add it to your bath water. Soak in this bath water for 15 to 20 minutes. Pat dry your skin. Follow this remedy once daily to smell nice throughout the day.
- Alternatively, mix eight to 10 drops of rosemary essential oil in one ounce of water and apply it under your arms as a deodorant.
Note: If rosemary causes any kind of irritation, discontinue its use.
A delightfully fragrant herb, sage can be used to combat body odor. Sage reduces sweat gland activity and is an antibacterial agent that prevents bacteria from thriving on your skin.
- You can make a natural deodorant with five drops each of sage essential oil, coriander essential oil, and lavender essential oil along with two ounces of distilled witch hazel. Mix them together and put the solution in a spray bottle to use as a daily deodorant.
- Alternatively, add two tablespoons of dried sage to four cups of hot water and allow it to steep for 10 minutes. When the solution cools, use it to rinse your underarms. Do this two times daily until you get positive results.
- You can also drink sage tea. Steep one teaspoon of dried sage in a cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Strain the leaves and enjoy your tea. Do not drink more than two cups of sage tea in a day.
Note: Sage must not be used by a pregnant or nursing mother.
6. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel can lower the skin’s pH level and make it impossible for odor-causing bacteria to survive. Plus, its astringent properties contract skin pores and help reduce the production of sweat.
- Soak a cotton ball in witch hazel.
- Dab it under your arms.
- Do this whenever your body smells. It will work like an antiperspirant.