EMBRACE CHANGE: WHAT CHANGES IN BODY ODOUR MEAN (AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT)
“My sweat smells bad all of a sudden” – That might sound like you, especially when you don’t smell like you. You might have simply overdone it on the garlic last night. Or it might be something else. Whatever it is – you’re not alone.
Body odour is just one of the things that changes regularly in life, for men and for women, for better and for worse. Changes to our sweat smell can occur during puberty or much later in life and it’s often nothing to worry about. If your nose has got whiff of a new scent, then there’s likely no need to worry – it’s time to K.O. that B.O. and learn what those body odour changes actually mean.
WHAT DOES A CHANGE IN BODY ODOUR MEAN?
OK, let’s start with the basics of B.O. Body odour is caused when natural bacteria on your skin breaks down your sweat. The large concentration of glands in hairy areas – like you’d find in your armpits and groin – secrete more sweat and generate a stronger smell. It usually has a fairly consistent smell but if your sweat smells different all of a sudden, there are a number of possible causes:
Remember puberty? Getting armpit hair was a badge of honour. If all the growth spurts, voice breaking, and other bodily changes weren’t enough you may remember a sudden body odour in your underarms – thanks, hormones. But puberty isn’t the last time your body odour changes. Did you know? A study in Japan discovered that people aged over 40 have more of the substance ‘2-Noneal’ in their body odour – which causes them to smell different to younger adults. And if you find that only one armpit smells? You might have put your antiperspirant on in a rush this morning. Or it could be due to a higher concentration of glands or substances such as 2-Nonenal in that armpit.
You are what you eat – and that’s certainly the case when it comes to B.O. A sudden change in sweat smell can be caused by the foods you eat. Most of the time it’s not a problem but there are some people who have a genetic defect that causes them to emit a fishy-smelling body odour after eating foods with choline – fish, meat, and eggs. Not really the earthly musk you were after, right? If you notice your body odour changes after eating certain foods, you could consider eating less of them – as well as using a long-lasting LYNX antiperspirant to prevent sweat for up to 48 hours. Pair it with a LYNX body spray, complete with antibacterial properties – and swap B.O. for fresh underarms.
So many of our body’s physical responses can be triggered by stress. If you notice that your armpits always smell during anxious or high-pressure situations (penalty shoot-outs on FIFA, last-minute exam revision, watching your mate go and finally ask their crush out), then you are most likely experiencing stress sweat. Unfortunately, the act of sweating is only likely to make you feel more anxious and so the cycle repeats. But it doesn’t have to. Stay cool under pressure with LYNX antiperspirant.
BANISH BAD B.O.
So, you know what’s going on with your body odour – but what can you do about it?
There are a few basics to remember – apply antiperspirant and shower daily, more if you’ve been pounding the pavement or hitting the gym, and make sure you dry yourself thoroughly. Damp armpits and feet are breeding grounds for stinky bacteria. And if you’re really hairy? Bring out the hairdryer to thoroughly dry your coat.
For some more creative measures, trim your body hair. Not because shaving a superhero’s logo into your chest hair will keep B.O. at bay, but because reducing body hair helps prevent sweat and bacteria from collecting. Cut back on the sweets (sugar is a leading cause of body odour changes), and up your intake of magnesium. Research shows that people with a magnesium deficiency produce a stronger body odour than those who consume the proper amount. If stress is causing your B.O. blues then try calming techniques: yoga, breathing exercises, or even just putting in another session at the gym. You’ll still be working up a sweat, but it’ll be the right type of sweat.
EMBRACE YOUR CHANGE
You know what is ‘normal’ for your body and its odour. A change in body odour is natural but if you’re really concerned then it doesn’t hurt to make a trip to the doctors. They can put your mind at ease – which hopefully ends any anxious sweating and means you won’t ever need to ask: “why my sweat smells bad all of a sudden”.