Grooming 101

Saying NO to B.O.: How to keep the stink from letting you sink
By Roshni Mulchandani

Body odor is definitely a touchy subject for most men. And as much as they try to spray all that cologne to mask the often horrid stench, it doesn’t always do the job. Standing next to the guy who constantly smells like the local Indian grocery store is just as bad as dude who smells like a mixture of b.o and cheap cologne. Although you can’t express your true sentiments to the reeking individual, (i.e. “Hey dude, you smell like ass!”) you can educate yourself and find out the causes of body odor and how to prevent it. Here’s a crash course on how to avoid being a magnet for unpleasant bodily stench and what you can do to smell fresh and clean all day.

What causes body odor?
Contrary to belief, “sweat is actually odorless” as explained by It is the bacteria that build up in the sweat that causes that nasty smell. The smell is a combination of natural chemicals that your body generates and excretes. Although we hate it for obvious reasons, our bodies actually produce a sweat known as eccrine, (a mixture of salt and water) which is used to help keep our body temperature in check when it’s too hot. Think back to the many times you’ve been huffing and puffing at the gym and broken into a sudden sweat all over—that’s the eccrine sweat doing its job. This sweat normally doesn’t have an odor and is essential to releasing any unwanted toxins from the body. Aprocrine (a combo of protein and fat) is another variation of sweat which is produced in the more personal areas of your body, including armpits and genital area. In fact, this is one sweat odor that is unique to every individual which means yours won’t smell quite the same as the dude in the next cubicle. Most of the time, these sweat glands are triggered by sexual activity or stress and its function is to simply protect the skin. This too doesn’t cause a stench. So where is it coming from? The answer is simple: bacteria. Bacteria start to build up as soon as these sweat glands start excreting, and as they feed off the sweat, they cause that nasty body odor we all hate.

Staying Hygienic
We all know the “Axe effect.” That should be inspiration in and of itself to keep you from smelling like dirty socks. The reeking smell of sweat, bad body odor or food—Indian standards like curry and onions are some of the worst offenders, so wear an apron or old t-shirt when you cook or eat—is just plain disgusting. Keep your clothes clean by washing them regularly. Fabrics like cotton absorb odor faster, but it’s nothing that a laundry cycle can’t take care of. If you’re washing your clothes regularly and still notice a smell, it’s probably time to shower. Shower daily, twice if you have to (especially in humid weather) and add a strong bar of antibacterial soap to kill all the germs that accumulate during the day and night.
Whatever your preference, please use deodorant. Remember the glands that secrete sweat are actually not what create the smell, but rather the bacteria, which is why doctors will sometimes prescribe “superman” strength anti-perspirant, which is usually stronger than OTC deodorant. Not sure whether you need deodorant or anti-perspirant? Deodorant absorbs odor and anti-perspirant works by preventing sweat. Products like Your Gillette 3X will multi-task to do both—keep you dry while smelling like a man (a clean man, that is). Use an undershirt if you have to—it’s not only fashionable, but also soaks up any dirt and sweat that is secreted. For those who believe in the Desi way of life, a dust of baby powder can help absorb sweat and keep you dry all day. During the hot summers, trimming your pit hair can keep those smells at bay. Now there’s no excuse for not keeping those pits fresh and clean. Spray it, spritz it, sprinkle it, roll it and say goodbye to B.O.

Finding the right diet
Your diet is also directly correlated to the excretion of body odor. Red meat, if not digested properly, releases toxins which increase body odor. Processed foods that are made with sugar, flour and Spicy foods and hot drinks also make you sweat by causing your body temperature to increase.
To help regulate your body and create an instant fix, try adding extra fiber to your diet, which promptly and effectively carries bile and fat out of the body. Add a bowl of fruit to your daily diet which will provide your body with natural sugars and rid your system of any another unnecessary toxins in more natural ways. In addition, doctors recommend a dose of vitamin B, which is essential in reducing the amount of waste products that our bodies give off. You don’t have to pop a tablet to get more vitamin B. Instead increase your whole grain, protein, and veggie intake, which all contain vitamin B in it’s natural form—far superior to nutrition derived from a pill. The solution to your problem boils down to knowing the basics: keep your diet as natural as possible.

Sweaty Lifestyle
Stress has become the norm for the 21st century. Work pressure added with a collection of numerous to-do lists, has made our lifestyles “sweaty” in every sense of the way. This ultimately takes a toll on our bodies’ physical strength and adds strain on our brains, which in turn increases the amount of our work our bodies’ do, which lead to more sweat production. While we can’t tell you to stop working and join an ashram to decrease your sweat excretion, there are some ways to relax and take a breather so your body doesn’t have to work so hard.
The ancient Indian art of yoga is a definite stress-buster. Many men have taken to yoga as a way of unwinding; allowing their minds and body to take some much needed time off. Yoga is said to help balance stress, and create a positive flow of energy, which causes your body to stay calm in hectic situations. If you’re more of the energetic type, a trip to the gym or a boxing class can do the trick. Instead of creating stress in your life, a run on the treadmill and kick-punch at a boxing bag deliver long-term good health for life. Our last cure for this problem is easy: Stop stressing and do whatever makes you relax!

We’ve mentioned many simple techniques to help you prevent that creepy-crawly bacteria from running around you making you stink! The best way to solve b.o. is to identify exactly what is triggering it and learn what methods to use to eradicate it quickly. Preventing body odor is not only a matter of smelling good when you get out of the shower, but ensuring you remain fresh all day. Taking extra care of your diet and a fitting exercise regime can also help keep your body healthy by controlling the sweat output and flushing toxins from the body. It is important to pay attention to your body odor as it may be a signal that a more serious medical issue is present. Even so, it’s best to stay calm and think rationally before reacting. If you or your friends notice you stink, just relax…there’s no need to go around breaking a sweat about it.

Edited by Maya Champaneri

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