Dealing with Body Odor

There are a few places where body odor might be encountered these days. The locker room, gym and playing field are a few places it might be found. It might be excused in those environments, but nowhere else.

We have come a long way as a society in the areas of personal grooming. What is remarkable is that the greatest changes have occurred in the past one hundred years or so. The issue of cleanliness and grooming was simply not a priority for most of the centuries before now.

Prior to the 1700s and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, almost all work consisted of the brute force of manual labor. The term manpower had real meaning as human muscle powered almost everything that was accomplished. Most work was outdoors and in the weather. That work was generally from sunup to sundown, leaving little time for any socializing. Of course, there was no indoor plumbing for most people throughout those centuries.

On top of all of this, no grooming products to speak of existed, especially no deodorants. All of these factors left body odor as a fact of life, accepted as normal. That, of course, is not the case today.

Finding the Cause

By the late 1800s, scientists discovered that bacteria are the cause of our body odors, not sweat. The role of sweat is to provide the moisture for bacteria to cause a chemical reaction on our skin. That creates the foul smells.

These insights led to the first deodorant and antiperspirant. The business of body odor control is now a $1.6 billion yearly business in the United States alone. There are dozens of varieties of deodorants and antiperspirants, from classic unscented roll-ons to advanced products like Degree time release deodorant. Over 95% of the population uses a deodorant.

Extreme Body Odor

For most people, the standard products do the job. Some people in some jobs and situations require one of the newer and more potent clinical strength deodorants.

There are, however, a small number of people for whom deodorant and antiperspirant are simply not enough. These individuals suffer from one of two medical conditions.

Hyperhidrosis, sometimes called diaphoresis, is a condition that causes excessive, extreme sweating. The volume of sweat produced is four to five times that which would be expected as a normal level of sweat. The condition can cause sweat to come from any of the three to four million sweat glands all over our bodies.

The second condition, bromhidrosis, is normally associated with medical problems like obesity and diabetes. These conditions can cause an excess of obesity on the skin. Another factor is secretion of sweat from the hair follicles, is addition to the normal sweat glands.

If you, or those around you, notice a body odor that will not go away even with good hygiene, you can first change your diet. Spices, garlic and caffeine can cause some of these symptoms. If that does not do it, a medical doctor can give advice on various steps that are effective in dealing with these two problems.