So if your armpits have been smelling bad recently, this could be why.
Dr Annika Smith is a renowned dermatologist. She says, “A common misconception is that sweat is smelly. It’s bacteria on the skin interacting with sweat and sebum that creates odour at this site, not sweat itself.”
So what causes bacteria to build up in your armpits?
“Underarm skin is packed with hair follicles, sebaceous (oil) glands and sweat glands compared to other body parts. It’s also an occlusive environment, accumulating sweat, sebum (oily secretions) and bacteria throughout the day, owing to it being a skin fold.”
How to get rid of body odour
So regularly cleaning your armpits to remove bacteria and eliminate body odour is a no-brainer.
But if your armpits still smell after washing, you might need something a little stronger, like an antibacterial wash.
“There are many factors that may contribute to armpit odour in some individuals, including genetics, environmental, lifestyle factors and underlying medical disorders,” says Dr Annika.
“But good hygiene practices, potentially incorporating an antibacterial wash into the underarm skincare regime, and wearing breathable fabrics, may assist with odour.
“However, it is important to seek medical advice if there are concerns.”
Deodorant vs antiperspirant
While blaming your deodorant is tempting, Dr Annika says it helps to understand what they do.
“A deodorant protects against odour from the armpits (mostly due to bacteria interacting with sweat and sebum), essentially helping mask unwanted body odour.
“An antiperspirant protects against sweat, (which in combination with bacteria produce odour.”
She adds the biggest misconception is that antiperspirants and deodorants are the same.
“The terms are often used interchangeably but are intrinsically different. Deodorants help control body odour while antiperspirants reduce sweating by temporarily blocking sweat ducts.”
So which is best: deodorant or antiperspirant?
“Ideally, we are looking for a skin-friendly formulation that delivers effective antiperspirant deodorant action and simultaneously cares for the underarm skin.
“This may include ingredients that help soothe, hydrate and support the skin’s natural barrier at this sensitive site.”