Man Up: How to Win the Battle Against Men’s Body Odour

Male Grooming

You’ve literally just taken a shower, you apply enough 48-hour deodorant to create a new hole in the ozone layer, get dressed and head out the door to meet your friends or go on that special date.

But wait, what’s this? You’ve only just got into the car and your pits are already wet. As you pull out of your driveway and head to your destination, your back heats up against your car seat and before you know it you’re sitting in a puddle of your own sweat.

When you arrive at your destination just thirty minutes later you start to notice that you’re already emitting a distinctive aroma… body odour! Within sixty minutes that beautiful date of yours is keeping their distance.

Dealing with Men’s Body Odour

Body odour, how it always seems like an endless battle to try and keep on top of it. But what’s causing the problem? How can we go from stinking one day to smelling fresh as linen drying outside on a warm spring day?

Let’s face the facts… we all know the way we smell personally affects our lives in more ways than one. Not only does it just smell all-out bad (to most), but it’s also unattractive (to most), and it makes us feel really uncomfortable, particularly if we are in public.

It can be really embarrassing, especially when you’re trying to make a good impression.

Have you ever been at the gym and smelt someone who’s clearly not showered in a few days before heading there? Have you done this yourself?

Or have you sat next to someone on public transport who’s also clearly not showered in days (weeks/months/years)? Obviously, it’s not nice to have to politely put up with that stench.

However, the good news is that there are many ways in which we can deal with men’s body odour. We certainly don’t have to just give up and accept that this is life.

So first we will take a look at where these smells are coming from, and then we will look at what factors can make it worse and how to fix those problems.

So, sit tight, grab some popcorn and let’s dive right into it.

Man having shower

So where is all this body odour coming from?

The first stage of body odour comes from sweating (perspiration) from the gland organs. The body has two main types of glands known as the eccrine glands and the apocrine glands. With me so far? Excellent, let’s take a look at these two gland types.

Eccrine Glands

The primary type of gland is the eccrine gland and the human body has over 2.5 million eccrine glands which release most of your body’s sweat through pores which are spread out all around the body.

This sweat is mostly made up of water but also includes small amounts of salt, ammonia, urea, and protein.

Apocrine Glands

The other offending type of gland is the apocrine gland. These glands are less numerous around the body and are more specific to the armpits, breast region, ears, and groin.

Remember the last time you sweated through your ears? Hmm me neither!

Anyway, although the perspiration from the apocrine glands is still made up of the same liquid and minerals as the eccrine glands, they are excreted with a higher concentration than the eccrine glands.

Great, so now you’re all clued up on eccrine and apocrine glands let’s move swiftly onto what factors have an effect on how much sweat is released from them.

How much sweat is released from the glands?

Exercise

The body functions best at a temperature anywhere between 97oF (36.1oC) and 99oF (37.2oC).

Whenever you move around, your body temperature increases and your body starts working hard to try and bring your temperature back within the normal range.

When this happens your eccrine glands (the more numerously spread ones) release sweat through your pores as it strives for a normal temperature. So, any form of physical activity from working out at the gym to simply walking around will certainly get your glands pumping.

Stress

Have you ever been under a lot of stress or emotion and realized you were starting to heat up? This all stems back to our natural ‘fight or flight’ response.

In this state, the body believes it is either fighting or running away from a stressful situation. But just because we now mostly simply sit on that feeling these days and ride it out doesn’t mean the body recognizes it that way.

This type of stress affects your apocrine glands.

Diet

It comes as no surprise that certain foods will also overburden your body and start putting the glands to work.

Obviously eating hot food will increase your overall body temperate, but also having allergies can increase your body temperature, as can certain foods like spices and vinegar.

Also eating highly sugary foods with a high GI count will raise your insulin levels and in turn, your body will use that sugar to create energy (heat).

Some foods that can make you sweat are;
  • fatty food
  • meat
  • spices
  • processed food
  • sodium
  • milk
  • vinegar
  • cruciferous vegetables like kale and cabbage
  • alcohol
  • coffee

That still doesn’t explain the odour…

The problem starts as soon as you start sweating. But did you know that perspiration is actually odourless?

Yes, it’s true as we now know sweat is mostly just water along with a little salt ammonia, urea, and protein.

It doesn’t matter if it comes from your eccrine or apocrine glands even though the concentration is higher from the apocrine glands.

Well if that’s true then why do my pits smell bad enough to drive away a skunk?

Bacteria

As soon as we start to sweat, those droplets rest on the skin around the body. Certain areas such as your armpits are a breeding ground for bacteria where you secrete sweat from your apocrine glands. The bacteria in those areas then start breaking down the sweat and leave behind that sulfurous, oniony smell we know as BO.

The more you work out, the more stressed you are and, the more bad foods you eat, will mean more sweat is produced thus more food for the bacteria, thus more smell.

Men’s Body Odor Vs Women’s Body Odour

Women generally have to work harder to generate the same amount of sweat as men do and men also perspire more efficiently this was proven by a study conducted by the journal Experimental Physiology in 2010.

It is thought this could have something to do with the hormone that men produce called testosterone.

Solutions

The good news is, that there are many ways in which we can tackle men’s body odour. If you try and implement some of these then you’ll be smelling tip-top in no time at all.

Showering

Our first goal for targeting body odour should be in our daily showering regime. Try to use an antibacterial soap or shower gel that will target any sweat that you have accrued over the last day (or days). If you’re feeling super grimy you can also apply the soap twice to areas such as the armpits, ground, inner thighs, etc.

Sprays

So now we are all clean we need to look at prevention methods to stop smell buildup. The most common way for men to deal with body odour is by using a deodorant aerosol spray.

There are many different types on the market including products designed for men with sensitive skin. Other options are 24-48 hours of protection and of course, there’s a huge range of different scents.

The trick is to target those apocrine gland areas.

  • The best time to spray is as soon as you are dry from having your shower or bath.
  • This will stop the bacteria from getting a chance to feast on your sweat droplets at the first chance it gets.

Roll-ons

Another popular method is using a roll-on. It does pretty much the same thing as above, though they can be more cost-effective as they last longer. As before, apply it as soon as you’ve dried yourself after a shower.

Another added benefit to using a roll-on is that they aren’t as bad for the environment as aerosol sprays.

Natural products

One of the disadvantages of using sprays and traditional roll-ons is that they are full of many chemicals which can harmful to men’s health.

For that reason, there are many more natural products available for men that don’t use as many harmful ingredients.

When choosing your natural product be sure to avoid any that contain aluminium in them. Aluminum is easily absorbed by the body and can increase your risk for breast cancer.

A good recommendation for a more natural product would have to be the Arm & Hammers Deodrant. This product is

  • free from aluminium,
  • parabens, and
  • phthalates.

It uses baking soda and natural plant extracts that work well together to combat men’s body odours.

Shaving

Because bacteria also like to live near and on the hairs around your body, reducing places for the bacteria to live can also help to reduce your body odour.

You don’t necessarily need to take a razor to your body hair and shave off your entire bush either. Even just using your favourite hair trimmers to reduce the length of the hair around your body will make a big difference.

The added benefit is that you might find you prefer the look too. So, if you haven’t tried giving manscaping a try maybe today’s the day to start.

Stress

It’s important to reduce your stress levels as stress-related sweat can really give off a real pong. This is because stress releases sweat through your apocrine pores.

  • One great way of reducing your stress levels is in ensuring you are getting an average of eight hours of quality shuteye every night.
  • The best way to do this is to go to bed and wake up at the same time each night.
  • It might help to also reduce your screen time in the last few hours before bed or at least switch to your Dark theme and turn the brightness down on your phone.

Another great way to reduce your stress levels is by taking up a daily meditation routine.

You don’t have to sit for hours each day to reap the many scientifically proven benefits of mindfully sitting.

Just five to ten minutes of counting your breaths in and out from one through to ten and repeating will have instant effects on how you feel.

Although meditation is generally a foolproof way of reducing your stress levels, it also has the added benefit of helping you sleep better each night when practised daily.

Diet

If your diet mainly consists of junk then you’re definitely going to smell it sooner or later. The foods we eat can play a huge role in how we smell.

Some foods that can make you sweat are

  • fatty food,
  • processed food,
  • sodium,
  • milk and cruciferous vegetables like kale and cabbage.

Drinks that can make you sweat more are alcohol and coffee.

Of course, you don’t have to eliminate these foods completely from your diet (although that would certainly help).

Even just being mindful about how much of each of these foods you consume each day will have a positive impact not only on reducing sweat production but stress.

So what foods should we be eating then?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

  • Lots of varied fruit and vegetables should find their way into your diet, along with cereals which are high in fibre.

I know it’s the same record on repeat, but just a few small changes in the way you currently eat now will all help with that odour.

FAQs

What causes body odour in men?

Body odour is caused by bacteria breaking down sweat on the skin. Factors such as genetics, diet, and hygiene can affect the intensity of body odour.

Is body odour a sign of poor hygiene?

Not necessarily, as even people who practice good hygiene can experience body odour. However, poor hygiene can exacerbate body odour.

What are some effective ways to reduce body odour?

Regular showers, using antiperspirant or deodorant, and washing clothes frequently can help reduce body odour.

Can certain foods or drinks affect body odour?

Yes, certain foods and drinks such as spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine can cause sweat and contribute to body odour.

Are there any medical conditions that can cause excessive body odour?

Yes, certain medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, and liver or kidney disease can cause excessive body odour.

What are some natural remedies for body odour?

Some natural remedies for body odour include using lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and tea tree oil as a deodorant.

Conclusion

Whether you like it or not – we all need to sweat. It’s the body’s natural response to maintaining the temperature within our bodies that will ensure we protect our organs and bodily functions.

I know for us it can be an annoyance, but that’s just something we have to deal with.

We now know that sweat is released through the glands from things like exercise, stress, and diet.

If you really want to focus on ridding yourself of smelling like Satan’s ass, ensure you apply some antiperspirant immediately after you have showered before those pesky bacteria get any chance to take hold.

Also, ensure you’re getting eight hours of top-quality sleep every night and reduce your stress levels.

Finally clean up your diet by including more fresh fruits, vegetables, and cereals on your plates while reducing unhealthy foods, spices, fatty foods, meats, and milk, etc.

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