Sweating & BO Odour Treatments

  • Best Results8-14 days
  • Treatment RecoveryNA
  • Procedure Time2 minutes
  • Skin SpecialistDermatologist
  • Duration of Results4-8 months
  • AnaestheticNA
  • Back to WorkImmediately
  • Cost$-$$

Sweating & BO Odour Treatments

While odour can be very embarrassing, help is available. Talk to a podiatrist, or medical dermatologist about your concerns and use the tips below to start better managing odour. Medical treatments coupled with diet & lifestyle changes can improve most cases of BO.

FactsFacts On BO & Sweating

  • BO is caused by apocrine secretions
  • Dietary factors can contribute to odour
  • Foods including garlic, fermented vegetables & curries are implicated
  • Sweat reduction can be effective in reducing body odour
  • A medical dermatologist can assist for resistant cases
  • Deodorants can be effective

Where does the smell come from?

Humans have two different types of sweat glands: the eccrine & apocrine glands. Eccrine sweat glands are found in large numbers on the palms, soles, head, cheeks, & in the axillae or armpits. These glands regulate heat production & can produce large volumes of watery odorless sweat. When sweat production goes into overdrive, it is termed hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating.

Apocrine glands are different. They are found in the armpits, back of ear & groin areas. They produce a thick, viscous, usually invisible fluid. When this fluid encounters bacteria on the skin’s surface, it produces body odour. 

Can food & diet give BO?

To a certain extent, yes. Spicy foods such as garlic and onions can give you “garlic sweat”. Like your cabbage and broccoli, these foods also typically contain sulphur.

Asparagus has a compound called “methyl mercaptan.” Highly water-soluble mercaptan passes through your system almost immediately after you eat asparagus. Broccoli, brussels sprouts, and the rest of the cruciferous vegetable family can be odour offenders. They contain sulphur which accounts for the pungent smell.

Does sweating contribute to odour?

Typically, people who suffer from excessive sweating or hyperhidrosis do not have unusual problems with body odour. This is because sweat washes away bacteria & the chemicals found in apocrine secretions.

Body odour can occur, however, if a person sweats sporadically and the sweat is allowed to dry on the skin. In this circumstance, apocrine sweat would have the opportunity to react with bacteria on the skin and produce odour.

What simple methods can be used to reduce BO?

If you are experiencing BO, the first step is to keep the body area dry. Antiperspirants, powders, & clothing changes can help.

You should wash regularly with an antibacterial soap. Deodorants may be helpful to mask BO. Dietary changes can also help, though it is difficult if there are cultural cuisines that your palate is used to. Curries, meat & fermented vegetables are examples. If these methods do not work, consult a medical dermatologist.

Foot odour is often caused by an overgrowth of a different type of bacteria including Corynebacterium. This is frequently associated with plantar hyperhidrosis. Simple sole liners, double cotton socks & shoe changes can help. Failing that your GP or dermatologist can prescribe you erythromycin or clindamycin lotion.

Disclaimer: I am a procedural dermatologist; I do not treat or prescribe any medications.

Davin’s Viewpoint on Apocrine Gland Dysfunction & BO

Apocrine gland dysfunction can give rise to hidradenitis suppurativa & body odour. The former may be associated with acne, the latter may be associated with diet. Both conditions can be challenging to manage.

Start off with lifestyle changes. Wear loose clothing, change frequently, adopt a diet, stop smoking. You can use an antibacterial wash like Physiohex, daily in the shower. OTC stuff like zinc tablets have been reported.

If things are no better a medical dermatologist can help. They can prescribe vitamin A drugs, antibiotics & in severe cases of HS, biologics.

Disclaimer: I am a procedural not a medical dermatologist. I do not prescribe.

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