Is it normal to get bad armpit odor after a shower? The bad smell that emanates from the armpits is real and can put you in a really shameful situation.
Yeah, not nice. I rub and rub and rub with soap in the shower and I can still smell the sweat residue. Very pungent. And I have to change my clothes sometimes two, three times a day. And also, it can happen that my clothes come out of the washing machine on 40 degrees and I can still smell the sweat in the armpits of the clothes too. [Source: steadyhealth.com]
Everyone wants to smell the scents of perfume worn all day. It can be ridiculous to perceive underarm odor shortly after wearing yours or shower. What causes it? Can I get rid of my smelly armpits? Read on to know how possibly you will get rid of armpit smell including what to use and what not.
Cause –why are my armpits smelly?
This are the things making you to start getting stinky, smelly and odor from not only your armpits but other susceptible areas such as the groin area and feet.
The bacteria living in skin is one of the reasons for body odor. However, this odor can be worsened by lack of taking regular showers or washing your body properly.
When there is overgrowth of bacteria, you will likely stink or smell badly. This is known as bromhidrosis, or extreme body odor.
In many cases, bromhidrosis is linked to apocrine sweat especially after propionibacteria bacteria breakdown. Additionally, “eccrine sweat can also lead to this unpleasant odor, such as when it softens the protein keratin on the surface of the skin, or when a person has consumed certain foods.” [health.howstuffworks.com]
Bromhidrosis can also signal a health problem such as being overweight, diabetic, or hyperhidrosis. All of these encourage overgrowth of bacteria hence your body stinks.
Sweaty armpits is another reason why some people have smelly armpits. We are talking about how the composition of sweat in relation to the bacterial action.
Propionic acid (propanoic acid)
This is one of the things found in sweat produced by humans. The bacteria (propionibacteria) that live in the sweat glands break down this component to form propionic acid.
Propionic acid is responsible for body odor. Some people perceive its pungent smell being that of vinegar.
Another reason for smelly armpits body odor is due to isovaleric acid. This is formed as a result of interaction between bacteria Staphylococcus epidermidis with the skin. This acid id also what produces body odor which is likened to the strong varieties of cheese.
Inherited disorders or disease
Here we look into how your genetic predisposition means in terms of certain disorders and how these disorders can lead to body odour from diets.
One of the disorders is called Trimethylaminuria TMAU. TMAU is a rare metabolic disorder which is inheritable. According to the American journal of Medicine publication, after a study, it was found out that the disorder impairs certain body processes. In particular, TMAU inhibits the ability of an enzyme (flavin-containing monooxygenase 3) to convert trimethylamine (TMA) into an oxidised form.
Now, trimethylaminere is a food compound as a result of food digestion. If TMA is not converted into its normal form, it then builds up. Since the body recognizes it as an unwanted, it releases it through urine or sweat and sometimes as breath.
When perceived, TMA is a strong body odor that is fish odor-like when produced in high concentrations. Due to personal difference in smelling, some people comment that this body malodor is just unpleasant or something close to garbage bad smell.
For reasons which are yet to be revealed, this odor is more common in men than men. It is usually worst during puberty as reported. This change in sense of smell suggests that it is not only food that can result to it. The rest may include:
- Changes in hormone concentration
- Stress levels
- Contraception in females
- Female sex hormones
- Menstrual periods in women
The fact that certain food types will likely cause a change in TMA amount released, means that diagnosing it is consequential or difficult.
(These food diets include egg yolks, legumes, fish, red meat, beans and many others)
There is no known treatment but patients and individuals can consult a physician. In many occasions, the best way to deal with this body odor is to stop eating any of the foods named (plus any other that your physician will advise on).
Depending on how strong the armpit or body smell is, your physician would also recommend on what to use like a washing detergent with lower pH. Oral antibiotics can also be prescribed only.
Smelly armpits even with deodorant
Have taken every aspect of hygiene and still have smelly armpits or body odor? Sometimes this will happen at some point. The problem with this will always be asking yourself what goes wrong along the way.
Bodily odor after applying a deodorant can be awful. Bromhidrosis can have a hand in this but besides it you could have a bigger problem.
Surprisingly, you can put on either a deodorant or antiperspirant but still people can comment on your body smell.
Common factors that lead to smelly armpits even with deodorant include:
- Very sweaty armpits or hyperhidrosis
- Genetic predisposition such as TMAU
- Poorly washed or wearing your clothes more than once
One of the other problems that you could be facing is to do with the glands under the arms. There are two types of glands, namely apocrine and eccrine.
- Eccrine glands secrete fluid when your body temperature rises
- When you are stressed esp. due to emotions, the apocrine glands secrete a milky fluid
Underarm odor after a shower
You can put on the strongest deodorants to cover up underarm smell and still other people perceive the bad smell. This can really be bad if you sweat a lot. Note, that sweat itself does not have odor so this means that there is something else that come out with the sweat that throws the bad smell.
One of the facts to look into is disorders such as TMAU. Moreover, the more you sweat the more you are likely to perceive underarm odor after shower. Since our bodies are constantly producing sweat, you need to use an antiperspirant.
Nervousness, hyperhidrosis can also contribute to this. When you are nervous the sweat glands are stimulated. This makes the cells to secrete more sweat.
Notably, odor after shower can be perceived more if you are used to certain diets or have a disorder like Trimethylaminuria.
Get rid of underarm odor permanently
What is the sure way to eliminate smelly armpit or odor? Generally, body odor is not a problem that can be eliminated completely at one. Even though, these are some of the best ways to possibly eliminate odor under arms.
- Seek medical attention if you sweat excessively
- Shave your underarms, take baths at least after every workout especially if you sweat more
- Keep underarms dry as possible
- Wash your workout clothes often
Get rid of odor from clothes
Some people forget that odor could also be present in clothes around the armpit area. Stains, rings and patches of sweat and much more. If your detergent cannot eliminate the odor:
- Try using warm water and baking soda to alter pH level + your detergent
- Spray white vinegar after washing your clothes
- Try a crystal of deodorant
- Try scrubbing with a mixture of aspirin and cream of tartar
Alternatively, you may opt to get new treated clothes if you cannot eliminate the stains from clothes.
Treatment or cure bad armpit odor or malodor
Another optional treatment involves removal of the sweat glands located in the armpits. This treatment is surgical procedure known as superficial liposuction curettage.
“Options for open surgery include cutting or shaving the subcutaneous tissue through procedures that may or may not remove skin along with it”.
However, such surgical procedures may come with risks and are usually costly. These methods should be the last options after trying the rest of the remedies to reduce armpit odor
Remedies and what to use or undearm odor
The following are some of the things you can do if you realize you have started to develop smelly armpits, especially with sweating.
Use of antiperspirants and deodorants
Though the use of these products is not the ultimate solution, it helps get out of potentially shameful situations.
Almost all known antiperspirants have an aluminum-based compound as a key or active ingredient. These include the following.
- Aluminum chloride
- Aluminum hydroxybromide
- Aluminum zirconium tricholorohydrex glycine
- Aluminum chlorohydrate
This active ingredient is what makes the product what is meant to serve. That is, to act as a sweat-blocking agent.
Injections of botulinum toxin (Botox) type A, can provide longer-term relief from excessive sweating which may be leading to smelly armpits.
How antiperspirant works
The mechanism to control sweating involves cellular processes like osmosis and may be complex in nature. The important thing here is to ensure that the amount of water outside the cells and inside the cells themselves reach an equilibrium.
Usually, the aluminum ions are taken into the cells that line the eccrine-gland ducts at the opening of the epidermis. This leads to the aluminum ions being drawn into the cells. Now, as more water flows in, the cells begin to swell. This is what will cause the ducts to get closed so that sweat can’t get out.
Interestingly, each cell can draw in a certain amount of water, hence reaching to the level where the concentration of water across the cell membranes balance out.
This reduces amount of water passed out as sweat. However, your body will have to lose some and as this happens, swelling of the cells goes down. This is why people have to re-apply antiperspirant.
When antiperspirants won’t do its work
Unfortunately, for people suffering or experiencing too much sweating or excessive sweating, they may need these ingredients to be in higher concentrations to control sweating.
Nevertheless, the FDA requires over-the-counter antiperspirants contain no more than (15 – 25%) of the active ingredient. Besides, the OTC products, some of these antiperspirants are available as prescription. These are normally of higher concentrations.
There is no single soap or deodorant that can get rid and address strong underarm odor if the problem is with foods you eat unless you stop eating such foods.
Again if you have a pungent or really bad smell then it is not only the armpits but rather the whole of your body could be producing the odor. Now, products sold over the counter usually have a certain amount of ingredient concentration. For example, an antiperspirant that might have an active-ingredient concentration of anywhere from 10 -20 per cent, is not enough to deal with body odor.
Here is what’s good for underarm odor. Keep in mind that most of these things to use will help to reduce perceiving the smell that is really bad.
Notably, changing your diet alone cannot bring smelly armpits to an end. You need to observe other common things. Start with practicing personal hygiene at best levels to reduce underarm bacteria.
- A daily bath with warm water
- Use of antibacterial solutions especially if you have ingrown hair or folliculitis
- Body cleaning after each and every working out sessions
- Use the best means of removing the hair under arms
- Gentle exfoliation
- Use your sweaty pants once per workout
- Soak them and clean immediately after a workout
- Try wiping dilute hydrogen peroxide on your armpits when you feel armpits getting sweaty
Be careful of what you choose as your clothing for workout or exercises. Preferably, go for ones with or made from natural fibers. These will ensure much of the sweat is continually lost to keep your skin dry. This can turn around the growth of otherwise accumulating bacteria.
Other considerably helpful remedies to reduce sweating, which is also good for the general body health include:
- Relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation
- Managing stress
NOTE: Use of bacterial soaps cannot prevent or eliminate armpit odor.
You also need to know what’s good for underarm odor and what is not. First, talk to your physician.
If people comment how bad your underarm odor is avoided void egg yolks, fishes, red meat and most legumes such as beans. (Your diet doesn’t eliminate underarm odor, you might need to take advanced medical steps to get rid of the smell).
All in all, at times measures like these, may fail to give the reasonable results. Always feel free to consult a physician.
- New Zealand Dermatological Society
- Sweating and body odor
- Monell Chemical Senses Center. “Really bad body odor? Undiagnosed TMAU may explain many cases of personal malodor.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 September 2011. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110831160040.htm