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The Common Causes Of Body Odor, Plus How To Prevent And Treat It

Make it go away for good.
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Underarm odor can happen to everyone, and poor hygiene is not the only factor to be blamed. Other things like genetics and diet can cause your pits to smell funky. But the good news is that there are ways to treat and prevent it. Read on below to find out how you can score fresh-smelling armpits all day.

What causes underarm odor?

Before we solve the problem, we have to get to its root first. Underarm odor is caused by the sweat's reaction to the bacteria inhabiting the armpits. The kind of smell that your body will produce depends on your genetic makeup, diet, and hygiene.

Does excessive sweating cause underarm odor?

Our bodies produce two types of sweat, eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine is secreted from our whole body and is made up of water and salt. On the other hand, apocrine is excreted in hairy regions such as the scalp, armpits, and pubic area. This type of perspiration is composed of protein and fats. 

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Sweat itself doesn't cause underarm odor. As mentioned earlier, its reaction to bacteria that naturally stay in our bodies that cause the stink. Bacteria thrive in moist environments so if there is excessive perspiration, the more humid the armpits become. Sweaty underarms have a higher risk of getting smelly, but it's not necessarily the sole cause of B.O.

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How to prevent and treat underarm odor
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How can you treat underarm odor?

Your genetics cannot be altered so let's focus on the other causes that we can control: Diet and hygiene. Below, we created a guide on the things you should avoid and habits you must follow to prevent and treat underarm odor.


Whatever we consume, our bodies absorb and react to it. This includes food and medicine. Some medications may trigger weird smells. Cruciferous veggies (like cauliflower and broccoli), red meat, onions, and spicy foods contain sulfur, the chemical compound that smells like rotten eggs. Excessive intake may shoot up the sulfur levels in our secretions, therefore wafting an unpleasant odor. Alcohol is another offender as this turns into acetic acid (the compound responsible for vinegar's sour smell). Limit your intake of the said foods to prevent and treat underarm odor.


Cleanliness is key and here are the important habits you need to learn:

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  1. Shower regularly.

    Keeping your body clean will stunt the overproduction of bacteria. This is why it's important to shower right after an activity that caused you to sweat a lot. While you're at it, wash your armpits for at least 20 seconds with an antibacterial soap.

    How to prevent and treat underarm odor
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  2. Never skip deodorant.

    Using an effective deodorant can prevent underarm odor, too. If you perspire a lot, go for an antiperspirant formula as these create "plugs" that block the sweat from coming out of the pores.  

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  3. Use fresh bath towels.

    Change your towels every three to five days. Otherwise, your towel can be filled with dead skin gunk that may become a breeding ground of bacteria. Again, overproduction of bacteria = underarm odor. 

  4. Wear breathable clothing.

    When sweat and body heat are trapped in your clothing, this creates a recipe for underarm odor. Kulob only increases the body temp, triggering more sweat and bacteria production. Also, please always wear freshly laundered clothes! You would not want a dirty t-shirt to "contaminate" your bagong-ligong body. 

  5. Get rid of underarm hair.

    There was a study that said that participants who waxed or shaved armpit hair were less prone to having underarm odor. It was found that thorough cleansing was possible when the kilikili was hair-free..

  6. Consult a professional.

    If you've done everything and you're still suffering from underarm odor, it's best to seek advice from a doctor. There may be underlying conditions that require medical treatment.

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