Ways to smell good

Body odour and bad breath have the power to take away the positive impression you might otherwise create

Woman spraying perfume on herself to smell goodSweating happens just about anywhere – when you’re working-out at the gym, when you’re facing an audience to deliver a presentation, or when you’re simply taking a walk on a hot day. Perspiration contains mainly water and salt and trace amounts of electrolytes that help regulate the balance of fluids in the body. Did you know that a pea-sized bead of sweat can cool about one litre of blood 17?C? But, there are people whose perspiration systems sometimes go awry, resulting in either too little sweating [anhidrosis] or too much [hyperhidrosis].

Perspiration that is triggered by intense feelings occurs on the face, palms, underarms and the soles of your feet. Your moods, certain foods and beverages, hormones and medication can all affect the way you smell.

For many of us, sweating is simply bothersome. The odour that occurs with it is sheer embarrassment. Although perspiration doesn’t have an odour, it smells when it comes in contact with the bacteria on your skin.

Types of sweat glands

There are two types of sweat glands on your skin: eccrine glands and apocrine glands. Eccrine sweat glands that number between 2-5 million are present over most of your body and open directly on the surface of your skin. As they secrete perspiration onto the surface of your skin, your body temperature cools down as the sweat evaporates.

Apocrine glands secrete a fatty sweat directly into the tubule of the gland. When a person experiences stress, the wall of the tube contracts and the sweat is pushed directly onto the surface of the skin when bacteria begin breaking it down. This is what causes the strong odour.

Causes of sweating

  • Heredity. Some people sweat more on their palms and soles of their feet, which is an inherited problem.
  • Hormonal imbalances. During menopause, women experience hot flashes which cause a rise in body temperature, which in turn produces excessive sweating. This is due to a drop in oestrogen levels.
  • Beverages. Intake of coffee and alcohol tends to cause more sweating.
  • Spicy food. Heavily spiced foods also increase body heat and cause sweating.
  • Drugs. Certain medications such as analgesics and overdose of thyroid medication also produce more sweat.
  • Low sugar. When the body’s sugar levels drop, sweating occurs. Diabetics recognise this as a warning and take action by eating or drinking.

Smell good by eliminating body odour

  • Use deodorants or anti-perspirants regularly after a shower. Deodorants eliminate odour [but do not stop perspiration], turn your skin acidic and make it less attractive to bacteria.
  • Shower twice a day, especially as we live in a hot and polluted country.
  • Change your socks often, wash and dry your feet.
  • If you have trouble with sweaty feet, rotate your shoes. Try not to wear the same pair two days in a row.
  • Cover your head when taking a walk at noon.
  • Wear cotton socks as they absorb moisture better.
  • Dry your feet thoroughly after showering and powder between your toes.
  • Wear natural fabrics such as linen and cotton that help your skin to breathe.
  • Watch your diet. Make sure it is low on alcoholic beverages and spicy foods.
  • Try relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation to help reduce stress levels.

Smell good by banishing bad breath

The problem of bad breath, called halitosis, also leaves a bad taste in the mouth. A dry mouth or thick saliva on a regular basis is a problem sufferers live with. If your breath is causing people to step away from you, if you’re in the habit of chewing gum, using breath fresheners or popping mints, if your breath is interfering with your social or professional success in some way, you suffer from halitosis.

Chronic halitosis is a condition in which a person produces an offensive odour from their oral or nasal regions. This is different from the “morning breath” many of us wake-up with. The unfortunate fact is most halitosis sufferers are unaware of their breath problem until they are informed about it.

Some of the common causes of halitosis are sinus infections and abnormal sinuses, tonsil infections, kidney, lung or liver diseases, diabetes, gallbladder dysfunction, allergy conditions, post-nasal discharge, gum disease, dental decay, menstruation and blood disorders. Food particles trapped in the mouth are also breeding grounds for bacteria that cause bad breath. When the mouth is dry, saliva production decreases and the mouth’s natural ability to cleanse itself is impaired.

Exhale easy

  • Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth thoroughly after every meal.
  • Brush your tongue also, for it is covered with tiny hairs that trap bacteria.
  • See your dentist regularly to ensure oral hygiene.
  • Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless lozenges to increase the flow of saliva, your mouth’s natural mouthwash.
  • Drink plenty of water. Hold it in your mouth for about 20 seconds and swoosh it around to dislodge any stubborn food particles that the bacteria in your mouth are waiting for.
  • Avoid mints and mouthwashes that contain alcohol. They worsen a bad breath condition by temporarily covering the smell. But they eventually dry the mouth and provide a fertile breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Eating fresh fruit and veggies like celery and carrot help cleanse the mouth.
  • If you have an important meeting, avoid strong-smelling foods like garlic and onion.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol – both dry the mouth.
  • Quit smoking. Tar and nicotine build up on the surface of the teeth and tongue and also inhibit saliva flow.
  • Apply a few drops of peppermint or tea tree oil to the tongue to freshen your breath. Their anti-bacterial properties will also kill the odour-causing bacteria in your mouth.

So follow these simple tips and ensure that you smell good all the time!

Home Remedies

For Body Odour

  • Eat healthy food that contains loads of fibre, whole grains, wheat, soy products and green leafy veggies.
  • Include red radish juice in the diet. You can also apply it on your feet, under the arm and between the toes after the shower.
  • Drinking plenty of water will also help you to smell fresh and sweet.
  • Body odour always lingers on clothes. So, wash your clothes everyday and never repeat the same outfit without washing it. Remember wearing something sleeveless will only make the smell more prominent. If you are a person who perspires a lot, wear clothes with sleeves as often as possible.
  • Vinegar is an effective home remedy for underarm odour. Apply cider vinegar or white vinegar for unpleasant armpit odour with the help of cotton. This will help you be odour free throughout the day in minutes. Do not apply vinegar on freshly shaved skin as it may sting.
  • Apply baking soda with lemon on the underarms to kill bacteria. It also aids in absorbing sweat.
  • Add a few cups of tomato juice to bathing water and soak yourself in water for about 15 minutes.
  • To smell fresh add a teaspoon of alum to your bath water. Cupful of camphor oil and boiled mint leaves will also work wonders.
  • Use anti-bacterial soap or deodorant soap while bathing.

For Bad Breath

  • Chew some cardamom seeds to sweeten your breath. The aromatic flavour in cardamom is a breath freshener.
  • Tea made from Fenugreek [methi] seeds is also beneficial in bad breath and bad odour.
  • Clove is good for bad breath caused by rotting food in mouth, used in old time mouth wash and powders.
  • Unripe guava is useful in halitosis. It is rich in tannic, malic, oxalic, and phosphoric acids as well as calcium, oxalate, and manganese. Chewing tender leaves of guava tree also stops bleeding from gums and bad breath.
  • Rinse with a glass of water and the juice of half a lemon after each meal.

— Team CW

Uma Girish
Uma Girish is a grief guide, a certified life purpose coach and author. Her latest book is a transformational memoir Losing Amma, Finding Home: A Memoir About Love, Loss And Life’s Detours published by Hay House. She is the co-founder of the International Grief Council.


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