A 33-year-old man being mercilessly teased about his body odour sought readers’ suggestions (July 12).
This advice column tapped a huge resource pool of readers who cared enough to respond:
Reader #1- “Try an occasional bath in Epsom salts and use an antibacterial-type of soap (odor’s caused by bacteria consuming the sebum released from our sweat glands).
“I’ve used Hibiclens (skin cleanser and antiseptic) but there’s another available at pharmacies. They’re also used prior to surgery to prevent bacteria that may be in the skin from infecting surgical sites.
“Rubbing-alcohol wipes also help somewhat as a temporary fix. Coconut oil helps. These work well if getting skin infections or acne frequently.
“If only experiencing odour and excessive sweating, switch to lighter, breathable fabrics (active-wear hi-tech t-shirts i.e. exercise wear).
“Get an antiperspirant (even try unscented). The gel kind works better than the stick kind.
“If needed, prescription-strength antiperspirants may be obtained from a doctor, e.g. at a walk-in clinic.”
Reader #2 – “Some people say that soap washes away bacteria from the skin and lets it be replaced by smellier varieties.
“We no longer use soap, shower every couple of days, and have found that BO is now very rare.”
Reader #3 – “I'm a 60-year-old woman trying to deal with the following problem (which occurs on and off) over the past two years.
“Only when I get up off a chair (at work or on public transport) a strong odour arises from my crotch area but it’s a fabric issue.
“Believe me, I've looked into my eating and drinking habits. I bathe/shower every day. I shave the area.
“I've stopped sending my slacks to the dry-cleaner and wash them at home.
“I suspect the problem may be caused by what I call “synthetic on synthetic.”
“The clothes we wear nowadays are no more 100% natural fibres, neither are the plastic or fabric-covered chairs we sit on. (My pants don't smell before or after my having been seated).
“Of course, I'm very much aware of the odour and avoid eye-contact when I get up from a seat. (I don't cross my legs when I sit.) All this is very distressing.
“The following measures alleviate the problem somewhat. A) I now also apply (scent-free) deodorant to the inner part of my legs, next to the panty line. B) At the end of my bath/shower I rinse the area with baking soda. Be careful, as that stuff makes the floor very slippery. (Does anybody have any other suggestions before I break a leg or worse?)”
Lady in Distress
Reader #4 – “I had a similar problem, though it was restricted to my underarms. Whenever I would get warm in my underarms, there would be an awful smell.
“It started as soon as I hit puberty. I tried everything available until, much later, a dermatologist said it was "hyperhidrosis," and suggested Botox for my underarms.
“It was an absolute lifesaver! I was newly post-menopausal when I first tried it, and it was an absolute game-changer.
“I did it for three consecutive summers (it lasted three to four months), and then I stopped perspiring!
“I have no idea if that was because the nerves were deadened, or if it was due to menopause (the only positive thing, haha).
“There are many dermatologists who provide this service.
“Hope the Botox can help this guy, too.”
Reader #5 – “I’ve used Crystal Salt Deodorant and haven’t had body odour since.”
Reader #6 – “I eliminated from my diet: Refined sugar foods and wheat, and to consume tomatoes/tomato juice in moderation (I noticed a difference in smell after consuming them).
“I switched antiperspirants until I found a good one and I try to shave my armpits often.
“I also avoid synthetic clothes as much as possible.
“I did a toxicology test at a naturopath center and am still following the treatment to eliminate the toxins (mercury) and I feel better.
“I also raised my magnesium intake.”
Reader #7 – “Zinc deficiency is a possible culprit.”
Ellie – Thanks to all who responded with shared experiences and suggestions. There’s more to come later in the week.
Regarding individuals’ food intake and smells: I recommend seeing a professional nutritionist or naturopath to examine your regular consumption regarding what may be causing your body odour.
Regarding vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies, it’s also best to see one of these professionals and have appropriate discussion and tests, rather than rely on manufacturers’ ads.
Tip of the day:
Don’t suffer miserably with a personal problem that others may’ve experienced. Reach out to all resources possible.