Grab your deodorant. Making sure you smell nice is one of the things that impact the way people see you. From job interviews and business meetings to dinner with friends or a hot date, the way your armpits smell makes a huge difference. What can you do when you put on your deodorant, but your armpits still smell? I went in search of all the facts about this annoying phenomenon. Relax, there’s plenty of ways to solve a case of bad B.O.
Why do Armpits Smell: Bromhidrosis
Before you can solve the ‘smelly armpits after using deodorant’ issue, it helps to know what’s going on in the first place. What we call B.O. is actually bromhidrosis. Regardless of what you call it, a bad smell is still a problem.
Why does your sweat smell so bad? Surprisingly, the answer is that sweat doesn’t have an odor. It may sound crazy, but it’s true. I’ll break down the real problem.
Sweat Glands Contribute To Smelly Armpits, but Not The Way You Think
Because the glands that make your sweat are controlled by your hypothalamus instead of an electric panel, the signal to sweat can come from more than just heat. Stress and emotional stimuli also activate your hypothalamus. Hence we sweat when we’re worried, anxious, or even just turned on. However, we use different glands for different types of sweating.
Eccrine glands create an odorless, clear fluid that your body uses to help regulate your body temperature and release this fluid to the surface of your skin. That’s sweat. Think of it as a personal evaporative cooler. The liquid evaporates and takes the heat with it.
Apocrine glands are the ones that usually release stress sweat. Moreover, instead of venting directly to the surface of your skin, they release fluid in your hair follicles. These apocrine glands are mostly found in places like your armpits, where you have more hair. Resultantly, these are the glands that are responsible for stinky armpits, but they don’t make the smell.
If healthy sweat has no real smell at all, then why do we stink when we sweat? The sweat from our bodies helps feed another natural process.
Sweat + Bacteria = Smelly Armpits
The special apocrine glands in your armpits do more than just release sweat differently. The fluid they secrete has more protein in it. Realistically that only changes one thing for you. High-protein sweat provides more food for bacteria.
Before you freak out about the idea of bacteria in your armpits, you need to know that it’s perfectly normal. The bacteria are supposed to be there. Human skin is host to over a thousand different kinds, and all of it is natural. You don’t need to worry about what’s living on your skin, just the side effect of bacteria eating protein. In short, it smells.
Without the bacteria on your skin, you would have a whole host of problems. In fact, without the right balance of beneficial bacteria, you would die. However, keeping armpit funk down to a much more manageable level is easy.
Reducing Armpit Odor Without Deodorant
There’s more to underarm odor than just deodorant. If your armpits smell in spite of your best efforts, then there are some additional steps you can take. Sometimes a little preventative action can make a big difference. Especially if you’re one of the many guys who sweat excessively, you need to take extra steps to ensure you smell nice.
There are some great natural ways to help your deodorant do its job better. The good news is that extra sweat is a good sign. When you sweat a lot, it means your body is doing its job. Efficient sweat glands help keep you healthy. Nevertheless, you can do more, so you don’t smell.
Natural Ways To Reduce Underarm Stink
No one wants stinky pits, especially after you put on deodorant. Minimizing the odor through your grooming habits is simple. Follow the steps below to kill off excess bacteria in your armpits.
This is the most obvious way to reduce underarm funk. You can try adding an acne wash to your armpit scrubbing routine to help reduce bad smells. Acne wash containing benzoyl peroxide is designed to kill bacteria on the skin before it can get in and infect your pores. Alternately you can use a special body wash intended for B.O. reduction.
My favorite odor-reducing scrub is Botanic Hearth Tea Tree Body Wash from Amazon. The peppermint oil has a nice tingly feeling, and it smells great. Plus tea tree helps keep you from getting any fungal infections on your skin like ringworm, jock itch or athletes foot. You can get a bottle by clicking here.
Another brilliant tip for better bathing is to chill out. When you use hot or even warm water, you sweat. As a result, when you step out of the shower, your body is already in sweat production mode. Cool off the water at the end of your shower a little at a time.
You don’t have to go for the sudden freeze, but reducing your skin temperature for a few minutes before you step out will help stop sweat and odor before they start. Similarly, cut back on the overhead heat lamps. No one likes feeling cold after a nice shower, but it’s much better for your body and your B.O.
Shave or Wax
The hair in your armpits is a great way to trap more than odors. Hair also creates an excellent surface for bacteria to breed. In short, hair-free armpits make cleaning and thus deodorant more effective.
Waxing will remove the hair for longer than shaving because it pulls it out by the roots instead of shaving it off at the skin level. There is some pain involved in waxing. Regardless, many men find it’s worth the brief ache. Plus, over time, waxing can sometimes reduce the total amount of hair.
Shaving your armpits is a simple way to cut down on funky smells. If you’re worried about shaving irritation in your underarms, use soothing shave creme with aloe vera and follow the next tip.
Whether you shave or not, you need to get rid of the dead skin cells in your armpits. Like hair, they’re giving bacteria more space to breed. Similarly, dead skin is protein, which means more food for bacteria. Use an exfoliating scrubber or wash several times a week.
Get Dry/Stay Dry
Drying off is something we all do. You probably think you have it down, but taking a little extra time to make sure you aren’t still wet from your shower might save you a ton of trouble. Make sure you’re using a completely dry towel and getting all the water out of your underarm area.
Baking Soda & Peroxide
Both baking soda and peroxide can help destroy the funky bacteria in your armpits. Using peroxide is easy, you wipe it over the area. Wait a minute or two and then rinse it off. Baking soda, on the other hand, has an added benefit. If you use a paste of baking soda on your armpits, you get some of your exfoliating done while you clean and deodorize.
The power of baking soda is so reliable that Arm&Hammer makes deodorant. I suggest the Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Deodorant since it has none of the harsh chemicals that can cause problems with your glands over time. Pick yours up from Amazon by clicking right here.
Like baking soda, using a salt scrub is multipurpose. The salt will exfoliate and absorb odors. Moreover, salt is going to make it very hard for bacteria to live on your skin. If you go with this solution, use it sparingly. After all, you don’t want to dry out the surface of your underarms. That could get uncomfortable very quickly.
You can also keep a small container of hand sanitizer around for emergencies. While you shouldn’t use this regularly, in a pinch, a little swipe will help kill germs and reduce the smell. Similar to salt, too much hand sanitizer will dry out your skin. Plus, it hurts like heck if you have any nicks from shaving.
Take Fenugreek In Summertime
The local herb shop or online vendors should have fenugreek in stock. This herb can change the odor of your sweat. Because it makes you smell a bit like maple syrup, you need to remember to talk to your doctor about taking fenugreek.
There’s a severe medical condition that causes the same effect naturally. Plus, you should always discuss any supplements you plan to take with a doctor anyhow. Be aware that fenugreek can stimulate lactation, though it’s much rarer in men than women. Additionally, you’ll need to be extra vigilant about underarm hygiene. Changing the scent doesn’t change the underlying issue.
A Bad Diet Can Make Your Armpits Smell
When it feels like your deodorant just isn’t working, sometimes there’s another issue. The old saying ‘you are what you eat’ isn’t a hundred percent accurate, but it can be right where your underarm scent is involved. Certain foods can affect your body odor because of the way they interact with your body chemistry.
You know that garlic can give you ‘garlic breath.’ Unfortunately, garlic, along with spicy foods and even beer, can make your B.O. worse than it already was. The good news is that you don’t need to give up all your tasty favorites. Moderation is the key to success when it comes to changing your diet.
If you eat a lot of the foods that make your body odor worse than start by cutting out a couple of meals a week, replace them with healthy options that have different spices. It also helps to cut down on caffeine since it makes you sweat more.
What You Wear Can Make Your Deodorant Less Effective
Have you ever noticed how bad your clothing smells after you go to the gym? Even having an extra active or hot day can do the same thing. Even with deodorant, you’ll probably still smell. Naturally, washing your clothing after every time, you wear it is one way to cut down on the problems.
The fabrics you choose can also have a significant effect on how your armpits smell at the end of the day. Synthetic materials don’t ‘breathe.’ Airflow is crucial to staying cool when you’re on the go. Pick out fabrics like cotton that are made from natural fibers. Your skin and your sweat glands will be happier. Plus, you won’t be forcibly holding in all that heat and moisture to make a bacterial breeding ground.
Did you know that you can buy sweatproof undershirts? Ejis Men’s Sweat Proof Undershirt helps keep air flowing to your skin, and they guarantee you won’t have sweat stains. The silver fused cotton fibers and seamless armpits are great for giving your deodorant a boost. Check out colors and availability by clicking here.
Deodorant Vs. Antiperspirant for Smelly Armpits
When your armpits still smell no matter how many other changes you make, it’s time to take a long look at what you’re using on your armpits. When you’ve tried everything else, it may be time to take a look at your deodorant. There’s more to it than spray, roll-on or stick.
I’m not talking about scents either. It might surprise you to learn that deodorants and antiperspirants are not the same things. Have you read the label? If not, it’s high time you took a look.
- Deodorant- A deodorant is precisely what it sounds like. The ingredients change your smell. Essentially, deodorant alone is just pit perfume that usually has an antibacterial component.
- Antiperspirant- Antiperspirants have chemicals that affect your sweat glands. For better or worse, they gum up the works and reduce how effectively you sweat. An Antiperspirant is both sweat-reducing and odor minimizing.
- Wrong Name- Many of the so-called deodorants you find in stores and online are actually antiperspirant. Be wary of what you’re buying and make sure it’s doing the job you think you’re paying for.
If your antiperspirant says it “lasts all day,” or has “24-hour protection,” that doesn’t necessarily guarantee the timeframe. What it means is that your product meets the minimum FDA standards to say that.
At twenty percent sweat reduction, a company can call it ‘all day,’ and if they up the protection to thirty percent, it’s “extra strength.” Regardless, if you’re using antiperspirant, that may be the problem. Switch to an outstanding natural deodorant instead. Zentuary Aluminum-Free Natural Deodorant with activated charcoal is a significant upgrade that will help you keep the armpit odor down. Click here to find out more.
Make Deodorant More Effective on Smelly Armpits: Tips & Tricks
Once you have the right deodorant for your smelly underarms, it’s essential to use it correctly. It seems simple enough, though. You grab it in the morning and rub, roll or spray it around your armpit… right? Wrong!
Make sure you shower at night and dry off completely. Then apply your deodorant before bed. It might seem silly, but giving it time to work while you sleep is more effective. You don’t need to reapply again in the morning if you use a long-lasting product.
Are You Using Deodorant Wrong: The Answer Stinks
Have you ever smelled your armpits, and just grabbed your deodorant in a rush? Putting deodorant over already smelly armpits won’t make the smell go away. Unfortunately, you’ll just smell like deodorant and body odor combined.
More alarmingly, you can become immune to your favorite brand of antiperspirant. If you have to wear an antiperspirant, switch off between antiperspirant and deodorant, so you don’t overwork your sweat glands.
Picking the Right Deodorant
Over time, using antiperspirants can cause you to smell worse than if you used nothing. The armpits-still-smell problem may have nothing to do with ‘deodorant’ at all. If you’ve spent years using an antiperspirant, it’s better if you stop. Switch to a more natural product and make the changes to your diet and grooming routine instead.
One of my favorite underappreciated deodorants is Art of Sport Men’s Deodorant Clear Stick. It has none of the aluminum or parabens that can affect your tissues and glands adversely. Check prices and availability here.
When to See a Doctor About Your Smelly Armpits
Unfortunately, some smells are more of a concern than others. If your armpits smell all the time, regardless of deodorant, there may be some other underlying problem. You should see your physician if any of these things happen along with your B.O.
- Fruity or bleachy body odors can indicate diabetes or warn you of liver and kidney problems.
- Plenty of people sweat a lot, but if you sweat so much you constantly soak your clothing, or you have trouble doing normal things like turning a doorknob, ask your doc about it.
- Sudden and inexplicable changes in how much you sweat or how strong your body odor can also indicate other problems.
- If you sweat all the time, when you sleep or when you’re not even moving around or warm, please talk to a healthcare professional.
Most of the time, funky armpits aren’t anything serious. You can take steps to reduce your smell, and you’ll be fine. However, your health is no joke, and if you think something is wrong, then you might be right. Always err on the side of caution when your life and health are on the line.
Prescription Strength Deodorant & Other Extreme Solutions
If your doctor determines that you have hyperhidrosis (severe excess sweating), you might get a prescription-strength deodorant to prevent armpit smells. There are a few other conditions that can cause this as well, but you’d have to ask your PCP about them.
You can also try a clinical strength OTC (over the counter) antiperspirant. The best one I know of is ZeroSweat. Be aware that this is not a regular daily-use antiperspirant. One application permeates your sweat glands and can stop them from producing for up to a week. You can see how effective it is for yourself by clicking here.
The other extreme solution to sweat-based odor issues may surprise you. You’ve probably heard of botox for wrinkles. Likewise, you may even know that some people who suffer from migraines have used botox to help with their condition. However, it’s not common knowledge that botox can also be used for decreasing sweat.
Getting an injection in your armpit, or a prescription level sweat stopper should always be a last resort. With a little luck and some perseverance, you should be able to solve the problem before it gets to this point.
When deodorant seems to leave you smelling like you never bothered to put it on in the first place, you have to make some changes. While you probably won’t need every solution, you have to start somewhere. Choose a better exfoliant for your armpits and take a look at your diet.
Unlike antiperspirant, a deodorant won’t affect your glands and skin. Make sure you trade up for a brand with natural ingredients. Look for labels that have no aluminum or parabens.
From anti-odor clothing to throwing out your antiperspirant, there are plenty of options to choose from. It may take a few days, but most men can reduce smelly armpits fast.