Body Odor: Causes and Solutions
Hygiene is a huge part of everyday life for pretty much everyone. Men and women alike have to put in work to keep their bodies clean, healthy, and fresh, especially when they’re living active lifestyles.
One of the most frustrating things to deal with regarding hygiene can be body odor. Of all the hygiene issues we can face, body odor might be the most noticeable — and one of the most unpleasant.
Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most common. Today, Tasc Performance is here to confront this unpleasant phenomenon, and we’ve got solutions for you!
Let’s not keep your nose waiting any longer. Here’s our Tasc Performance guide to body odor.
What Are the 5 Main Causes of Body Odor?
The key to finding a solution is understanding the problem. Let’s talk about what causes body odor before we try to go about fixing it.
In the simplest terms, body odor is caused by bacteria and sweat on your skin. There are several types of sweat glands, including the eccrine sweat glands and apocrine sweat glands.
The apocrine glands are responsible for body odor. Apocrine sweat lingers on the skin’s surface and hangs out in your hair follicles. The sweat breaks down into acids, causing a funky smell.
However, that doesn’t really clue us into any actionable causes that we can address. The factors that cause sweat build-up are what we want to uncover if we’re going to reduce body odor in the long run.
1. Clothes That Aren’t Breathable
Sweat is more or less inevitable — and it can definitely cause body odor. Even if you don’t have hyperhidrosis (a medical condition that causes excessive sweating), you probably wish you could sweat less, especially from your underarms.
Reducing unnecessary sweat is one way to approach body odour solutions, but directly combating sweat when it happens is even better!
One reason you may not be able to do so effectively is that your clothes may not be breathable.
Breathability is a fabric quality that allows air to flow through the material you wear. Breathable fabric has micro gaps between each fiber so that air can come in, help keep you cool, and dry off your sweat.
Conversely, clothes that aren’t breathable don’t allow for airflow, which increases the chances you may overheat and makes it harder for your sweat to evaporate.
The result is that unpleasant smell that you’re already familiar with.
2. Clothes Made From the Wrong Materials
Since breathability is a fabric quality, it stands to reason that material has a lot to do with things in the body odor department. Wearing the wrong materials is a recipe for disaster.
While some believers claim that traditional cotton is breathable, it’s actually one of the more stuffy everyday fabrics people wear. This is especially true compared to a superior breathability fabric such as bamboo (which we’ll be talking about today).
Believe it or not, the bacteria that builds up on your skin when you sweat can stay in your clothes even after they’ve been washed. Over time, your clothes start to stink, which adds to your body odor, making the problem even worse.
Cotton and synthetic fabrics like polyester are big offenders in this area since it absorbs sweat but doesn’t release it efficiently.
3. Clothes That Are Too Tight
Tight clothes tend to increase the human body’s sweat output. If your tight clothes aren’t breathable, capable of efficient moisture-wicking, and odor-resistant, the problem will compound even more than it would in loose-fitting clothes!
It may be best to give your sweat glands a break and wear clothes that have a balanced fit.
4. Stressing Out
The image of the nervous intern or student sweating before a big presentation is an all too real one. Stress-induced sweating is a more common phenomenon than you might think, which means sweat and body odor aren’t just present after exercise or in the heat.
Even small amounts of sweat during a stressful day could lead to odor build-up in your clothes over time that causes them to stink even when you aren’t sweaty.
While managing stress is certainly important and a viable way to approach stress-sweating, it's equally important to ensure that the clothes you wear when stress is most likely to occur are up to the task of dealing with any sweat that comes your way.
If your clothes have any of the problems above — non-breathable, poor material, or tight — you can expect your stress-sweating issues to be even worse.
Although it may come as a surprise, you still sweat when you’re dehydrated.
In fact, your sweat tends to smell even worse, with an ammonia-like scent, while you are dehydrated. Taking care of your body’s smell can be as much about what you put in your body as what you put on it, so ensure you’re getting plenty of water and improving your anti-sweat wardrobe.
B.O. and Your Health
In addition to the causes we’ve just outlined, body odor is sometimes affected by certain health conditions. Certain diseases, such as liver disease, kidney disease, and other underlying conditions, can cause hormonal changes that make your sweat smell different.
In addition, some people have a condition called trimethylaminuria, a metabolic disorder that creates fishy secretions after eating fish. This means you’ll end up with fishy-smelling body odor.
If you notice that your body odor smells abnormal, it might be time to get medical advice from a health care professional. Fruity or bleach-smelling body odor, along with bad breath that smells similar, can signify that something’s up with your health.
5 Solutions for Body Odor
Antiperspirants and deodorant sprays may protect your armpits, but sweat still comes from the rest of your body. Smelly feet and a funky genital area are also incredibly common — even if you scrub with a washcloth daily.
One of the most efficient ways to approach body-odor reduction is by equipping your wardrobe with sweat-ready styles!
Here are the easiest ways to do just that.
Bamboo Viscose and Organic Cotton Clothing
Material matters when it comes to body odor. Low-quality materials result in the problems we’ve already discussed, but the right materials can make all the difference.
Perhaps the best fabric for fighting body odor is bamboo. As the fastest growing tree in the world, built for moist environments, bamboo is already made to handle lots and lots of moisture. In fabric form, bamboo has exceptional moisture-wicking properties, superior breathability, and odor resistance.
As an all-natural, chemical-free fabric, bamboo is also a much better alternative to synthetic fabrics that try to claim similar anti-sweat properties.
At Tasc Performance, we blend bamboo with organic cotton (another eco-friendly powerhouse), resulting in a luxuriously soft, sweat-ready material for everyday styles.
Clothes Made From Moisture-Wicking Materials
An essential quality for sweat-ready clothes is moisture wicking. A moisture-wicking material draws sweat (and other moisture) from your body and through the fabric to its surface, where the moisture evaporates.
Unlike traditional cotton, which absorbs moisture but holds it like a sponge, moisture-wicking materials absorb moisture and release it quickly. This keeps you and your clothes dry, which prevents bacteria buildup and body odor.
Bamboo is one of the best moisture-wicking fabrics anywhere, which is why we’re so excited about incorporating it into many of our favorite styles here at Tasc!
Along with moisture-wicking, breathability helps maintain your body’s ability to thermoregulate, or in simpler terms, to maintain the right internal body temperature.
Sweat is actually part of thermoregulation, the most powerful part in fact, but if you’re sweating a lot, that may mean your environment is working against you. With breathable clothes, you can reduce the need for your body to sweat, meaning you’ll feel more comfortable and produce less body odor.
Clothes With Anti-Odor Properties
It may seem obvious that odor-resistant clothes are a great way to fight body odor, but they may not work in the ways you think.
Anti-odor clothes won’t magically smell like roses and cinnamon in the middle of your workout, but they will prevent odor buildup over time so that the smells of your last 100 workouts don’t compound to make this one even worse.
Odor resistance is also important for achieving a long life cycle in your clothes, and that sense even contributes to greater sustainability!
Clothes That Fit Just Right
While innovative technologies and impressive materials do a lot of heavy lifting, we can’t forget our clothes' most basic, core aspects. Getting the right fit helps maximize airflow, prevent excessive sweating, and keep you comfortable enough to minimize stress and sweat.
Look and Smell Your Best With tasc Performance
At Tasc, we’re big fans of an active lifestyle, which means we know the struggles of sweat and body odor all too well. That’s why we’ve worked to implement all the most important anti-sweat solutions into our versatile, performance-minded styles.
If you’re interested in all the best solutions, all in one place, try some of our bamboo-organic cotton styles today!