Sunday, November 29, 2009

A nosy look at body odor

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http://www.independent.ie/multimedia/archive/00379/sneezing_getty_379249s.jpg

The culprits are sweat and bacteria. Sweat doesn't smell when it first comes out of the skin. The odor comes only when bacteria on the skin's surface break down the fat and ferment the sugar in sweat to form chemicals that smell.

Notice the odors most foul usually emanate from armpits and groin- the apocrine glands in this areas produce the necessary ingredients for bacteria to works on. Sweat from other areas on the body is mainly salt, water, nourishment the microscopic finds don't really relish.

Feet are an exception. Many hours of warm, moist and airless conditions suit bacteria and fungi just fine. This explains smelly feet. Now if you gorge on garlic-loaded pizza or spicy delicacies, don't be surprised if you reek of pungency.

The most effective treatment is still good ol' hygiene. Wash thoroughly with soap and water at least once a day. After washing, use a good deodorant with anti-perspirant to prevent sweat from reaching the surface of the skin. Change clothes and underwear regularly. And watch what you eat.

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