How to Tell if You Smell

It’s almost impossible for people to smell themselves.  And if the global $72.7 billion antiperspirant and deodorant industry tells us anything, it’s that people worldwide are concerned with the same question – “Do I stink?”

The most accurate way to find out if you smell is, obviously, to ask someone.  It’s recommended that the person you ask be a close friend or family member who is willing to get up close and personal to assess your situation… who will love you enough to be truthful.  And who you trust enough to be incredibly vulnerable. But you can also remove your clothes and smell them – especially in the areas where you’re most likely to sweat (the armpit and groin areas).

Before we get into the main stink of the issue – let’s talk about our obvious options.  There’s deodorant, which, as the name implies, deodorizes odor.  That’s all it does.  It helps mask the scent of bacteria our bodies produce.

Then, there’s antiperspirant deodorant.  Antiperspirant’s main ingredient is aluminum-based.  These products are designed to block sweat gland so that sweat isn’t released.  But your sweat isn’t the culprit.  It’s the bacteria on your skin that breaks down sweat and causes it to smell.

But let’s get back to the main question at hand – how can you tell if you smell?  If it turns out that you’re sporting a bit of a malodorous scent, it could be as simple as changing your antiperspirant/deodorant. Sometimes, our hormones change and are incompatible with the formula.

Other times, we need to look at other factors.

  • Hormonal changes. Stress can bring about hormonal changes in the body that may impact the body’s ability to cooperate with your regular antiperspirant/deodorant. Beyond stress, pregnancy, chemotherapy, and other medical issues that affect the body’s hormones may create problems.
  • Diet. Certain foods can impact our body odors.  Some of the primary culprits include asparagus, garlic, onions, fish, and (sorry Happy Hour, enthusiasts) alcohol.  But on the plus side – some very yummy foods will help fight body odor, including apple cider vinegar (though you may not think so while it’s going down!), citrus fruit, pineapple, celery, and parsley.  Haven’t you always wondered why it’s such a popular garnish – or at least it was in the ‘80s.  Maybe it should make a comeback?
  • Hygiene. It seems obvious, but some people need a little reminder about the impact of good hygiene.  For instance, bad breath (a different kind of body odor than what we’ve primarily focused on), may be helped by using a tongue scraper in addition to brushing and flossing.  Washing your hair a little more frequently may help, and making sure armpits are totally dry before putting on antiperspirant/deodorant can make a difference. You may also need antibacterial soap.

Never fear though.  We can be proactive in our war against body odor. Some tips include:

  • Spray perfume on your torso before you get dressed, and even behind your knees. Don’t go crazy with it (there’s no need to bathe in it), and don’t rub it in.  Just simply mist and move on.
  • Arm yourself with a mini-anti-scent tool bag in your purse. Include things like mini deodorant, gum, travel toothbrush and toothpaste, some wet wipes, and even foot spray.
  • Watch your diet and avoid the major culprits.
  • Spray your closet with Febreze to neutralize any odors.
  • Add a few drops of oil to your laundry – something like lavender is fresh and smells clean without being overpowering. You can also add white vinegar, which is great at eliminating odors.
  • Make sure you’re hydrated! Drink plenty of water to flush toxins from your body!
  • Sprinkle baking soda in your shoes to absorb odors.

So never fear. There are easy ways to win the war on body odor!  Raise your arms with confidence!


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