By Jeannette Moninger
Whether it’s the nose-scrunching stench from a kick-butt workout, the whiff
of last night’s kung pao chicken lingering on your every word, or that
less-than-fresh aroma that makes you say, “Not tonight, honey,” your body gives
off myriad scents that, while totally normal, can sometimes stink. Not to worry
- these expert tips will help you battle B.O. for good.
Sweat is normal and odorless - until it comes in contact with the bacteria
on your skin. And bacteria thrive in warm, dark, moist places like your
armpits. If you find your shirt is constantly drenched, you may have
hyperhidrosis, a condition that sends sweat glands into unnecessary overdrive.
Excessive sweat accompanied by nausea, dizziness, or weight loss could indicate
low blood sugar or a thyroid problem.
What to do: Underarm products containing both a deodorant and an
antiperspirant help mask the odor while stopping wetness, but most of us apply
them at the wrong time, says David E. Bank, M.D., director of the Center for
Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, NY. “Moisture
prevents the key ingredient in antiperspirants - aluminum-based salts - from
plugging sweat ducts, so applying them after showering isn’t the most effective
way to treat the problem,” says Bank. For optimum dryness, roll on a sweat
stopper such as Secret Clinical Strength at bedtime, when your skin’s dry and
the product has more time to penetrate your pores. (You may need a stronger,
prescription antiperspirant like Drysol if you have hyperhidrosis.) Then
reapply in the morning, if you like, when you’ve sufficiently dried your
armpits after showering.
With 250,000 sweat glands each, your feet produce up to 1/2 cup of sweat
every day. And as temperatures rise, so does the moisture, creating the perfect
breeding ground for odor-producing bacteria.
What to do: Wash and dry your feet thoroughly when you shower. Wear
shoes made from natural materials - like leather or canvas - that allow feet to
breathe. If your feet still get damp, sprinkle on a foot powder like Certain
Dri Feet or stick an absorbent insole in your shoes. That same antiperspirant
you’re applying to your underarms every night will also keep your feet dry,
That not-so-fresh feeling
Every woman has a distinctive, natural vaginal scent that can become
stronger or milder throughout her monthly cycle. But a really foul smell may
indicate a change in the vagina’s delicate bacterial balance - a top reason
women visit their gynecologist. Odor accompanied by discharge that’s yellowish,
green, grayish, or thick like cottage cheese may indicate a yeast infection,
bacterial vaginosis (BV), or trichomoniasis.
What to do: Wash around your vagina with a mild soap like Dove when
you shower. And try to keep excess moisture away from your genitals: Change out
of wet swimsuits and sweaty workout clothes immediately and wear cotton-lined
panties that wick moisture away and allow air to circulate. Avoid scented
hygiene products that, if you’re sensitive, can up your risk for vaginal
irritations. If you do have an infection, antibiotics (for BV and
trichomoniasis) or antifungals (for yeast) will generally clear it right