Why do Underarms smell?


Why do Underarms smell?

Poor Hygiene. Most of the time, our underarms are closed and no air can pass through. This makes the underarms hot which cause them to sweat especially under strict physical activities.

Sweating is natural and healthy for the body. Through perspiration, our body cools itself down. But naturally, sweat is odourless. So where does the eerie smell come from? It comes from the bacteria in your skin. These bacteria eats the skin cells in your underarms and releases a chemical called 3-methyl 2-hexenoic acid” which triggers the odor. Bacteria mixed with sweat, joined by the air equals a pungent and awful smell.

The only solution is maintaining a proper hygiene. Poor hygiene can cause smelly underarms. Properly clean your body especially your underarms, scrub it gently while showering and use products such as antiperspirants to reduce sweating or deodorants to prevent having underarm odor.

Undigested Trimethylamine’. If however your underarms reek of fish-odor then you have a different issue. The fish-odor’ syndrome is a case where the armpits smells like decomposing fish. This condition is rare and is only found in those persons whose system is unable to digest trimethylamine’, a substance responsible for the odor associated with fouling fish’. It is also related with taking large doses of choline and carnitine which can be found in eggs, fish, liver and legumes.

If this is your case then all you need to do is to control your diet and minimize your intake of these types of foods.

Spicy Foods. Too much intake of spicy foods such as curry, onions, garlic, chillies and other spices can also cause your underarms to smell through your sweat. The smell of the spices is secreted outside your body and is mixed with sweat producing the bad odor which is why most people who live in the Middle East have this distinct smell on them.

Other diseases. Having diseases such as gastrointestinal problems, kidney or liver problems and diabetes can also cause smelly armpits due to in-take of strong medicines which affect the body odor.

Genes. If your family have smelly underarms then you know where you got it.

In conclusion, there are a lot of reasons why the underarms smell. To solve this problem, you need to look for the main cause and get the right solution.

Author: joanna

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18 Responses

  1. kristin

    April 25, 2012 2:09 pm

    If bacteria caused the smell then it would go away when sanitized. Smell is not due to poor hygiene at all. That’s an absurd conclusion. The armpits are essential in ridding the body of toxins. That’s why we sweat. Red meat, processed and manufactured foods, and spicy foods cause the odor. If your armpits stink its because they are cleansing your body of horrible toxins and you need to change your diet! Covering up the smell with deodorants just masks a health issue! Not to mention harms your body with the toxic fragrances and heavy metals. Most contain aluminum, which causes your body to reduce sweat production. This can harm the way your body releases toxins! Not to mention the cancer causing effects of aluminum! Washing off the smell is not the answer. And if the smell was caused by bacteria, rubbing alcohol would do the trick. The smell comes from within.

        • India

          February 20, 2013 11:09 am

          Kristin makes a strong point on it not being a hygiene issue, because even after taking a shower your armpits will naturally start to sweat and smell again. It is only with the use of deodorant that prevents it and there are now potential health issues from deodorants with certain chemical ingredients. So without using deodorants, your armpits can smell within an hour of having cleaned oneself. Thus not necessarily a poor hygiene issue.

    • Shauna

      March 7, 2013 9:52 pm

      Kristin, I totally agree with you. Not every person’s odor comes from poor hygenie. I am a female, 28, with excellent hygenie. I take at least 2 to 3 showers a day due to persistent underarm odor. Deodorant, rubbing on alcohol, vinegar (you name it) only calms down my odor problem. Get this!!! My underarms still smell after I shower- just not as bad. My mom says my problem started as an infant. She began putting deodorant on me before I was walking because the problem was that bad.

      • Shauna

        January 22, 2014 7:54 pm

        I really hope my comment helps someone!!!

        I just want to update you all on my problem with smelly underarms. So I started drinking my body weight in water daily (125lbs=125oz). My smelly underarm problem has been CURED completely.

        Prior to me increasing my water intake, I would drink about a third of a glass of water per day. And I never drink sodas or juices. I know this sounds crazy but I just don’t like to drink anything. So increasing my fluid intake was all I need to do.

      • ali

        January 26, 2014 11:52 am

        this is too much, i have the same problem but it came after thirty and it is still, i don’t know the reason and to to solve it ?

  2. Lara

    December 22, 2012 11:51 pm

    I agree spices can up the odour, but why did the author have to put a racist judgement on it? Author could have just left it at ‘spices can cause odour’ instead of adding a value judgement and continuing the sentence with ‘this is why people who live in the Middle East…’
    Poorly executed and not needed at all.

    And by the way, for your ignorant minds, the Middle East is not the only place on earth who use spices, there are many other countries and cultures who use spices, so if you’re going to label one, you may as well list all of them, since you obviously know so much about what people from which cultures eat what.
    At least spiced food tastes better than white people food. All y’all eat is sandwiches.

    • India

      February 20, 2013 11:17 am

      I didn’t see it as a racist remark, but enlightening. The same as I have heard the kimchi eaten by Koreans come out through the body pores, therefore is not body odor.

    • hip hip

      July 11, 2013 4:35 pm

      “…white people food. All y’all eat is sandwiches.”

      How is that different from saying “all African-Americans eat is fried chicken” or “all Asians eat is rice” or “all Mexicans eat are burritos”?

      I find it odd that you point the finger at the author and then proceed to make racist comments yourself.

      I don’t particularly care for sandwiches and I prefer spiced food; primarily because I was raised in a home that experimented with cuisines from various regions. Stop jumping to conclusions, Lara. You only weaken your argument.

      That being said, I agree that the article is stronger without using the phrase “bad odor” and “people who live in the Middle East” in the same sentence. I think it would have been more appropriate to say something along the lines of, “A spiced diet is a is a contributing factor to body odors in various regions.” This would include white people, because, hey, we have a distinct smell, too; but like the people of the Middle East, we’re used to it, just as they are used to their own smells.

  3. cott

    February 8, 2013 12:56 pm

    @Lara, so youre insult because you are middle eastern and most americans are aware that middle eatern people do have B.O and smells pungeant like curry and spices. but, you end off by trying to add an insult about Americans and sandwiches? That’s hilarious! All you did by posting is show your anger. well, i have a middle eastern friend who moved to the U.S 10 yrs ago. She tells me that her parents never use deodorant or even soap when washing and she learned those things from people she met. Diet isnt the only way to solve this. I eat very healthy and if i dont wear DO i smell like a middle eatern too! Lmao! sorry, I couldnt resist;)

  4. Michelle

    June 7, 2013 10:33 am

    I think body odor is caused by a variety of reasons, hygiene and diet being two of them. But everyone is different – some people can shower once every 2 days and smell the same as others who shower 3 times a day. Everyone’s different. What I would say is consistent amongst many people that I have met is that the ones using Lavilin deodorant all find that it works very very well. They advertise that Lavilin works for a week per application – that is true in some instances, while in others, daily application is required.

    Anyway – I would suggest buying some Lavilin and seeing what that does for you. Keep in mind there may be an adjustment period of a month or so until it starts working. Find it here: http://microbalanced.com/

  5. Abigail Titus

    January 20, 2014 12:19 pm

    From a creation perspective – do you believe that body odor is a result of the effects of a sinful world ? I wonder at why people have this attribute. We were never created to have to put chemicals under our arms in order to eliminate odor that probably was never there to begin with. With that in mind , it makes sense that we have this problem in light of how much our lifestyles have changed over the last several hundred years, or thousands since creation . What we eat, among other aspects of life has been altered dramatically.

    • Shauna

      January 22, 2014 8:00 pm

      Great point, Abigail! Almost everything we eat is laced with chemicals, dyes, preservatives and such. I don’t think anyone’s body should smell.

  6. Alex

    March 7, 2014 3:40 am

    I’ve been using Lavilin for a couple years and express enough how much I love this deodorant. It’s all-natural (which my wife loves), and it lasts for 2-3 days per application, even in the summer. It’s great when I go camping for the weekend – no need to pack a deodorant. http://www.lavilin.com


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