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Best Home Remedies For Smelly Armpits

By Dr Anuja Bodhare +2 more

Introduction:  

Sometimes, when we are in a closed and hot room and sweat a lot, we become self-conscious and think we might be smelling. Well, it happens to everyone and should not really concern you, and it might also not be entirely accurate. Unlike popular belief, sweat is not the only factor leading to body odour. You can sweat a lot and still not smell bad. Isn’t it astonishing? The converse is also true, and you might not sweat at all and still have an armpit odour. The smell is mainly due to the interaction of bacteria with sweat on your skin.1 If your smelly armpits overwhelm you and keep you wondering how to get rid of the underarm smell permanently, we have a few tips and tricks that you might find helpful.    

home remedies for smelly armpits

What Causes Smelly Armpits? 

When we sweat, the fat, salt and water present in the sweat mix with the bacteria already present on our skin, resulting in the smell of the armpits. The food we eat, hormones and medications can play a role in the armpit odour. It may happen with anyone, but some people are more susceptible to developing body odour than others. Some of the factors which might lead to smelly armpits are: 

  • Your genes may make you more prone to develop smelly armpits. 
  • If you are stressed or anxious 
  • Exercising  
  • Hot weather 
  • If your weight exceeds the normal weight recommendation 
  • Hair is a breeding ground for bacteria, and they provide an area for sweat and bacteria to interact.1 So, armpit hair might be a cause of smelly armpits 

Certain underlying medical conditions might also lead to the development of a peculiar armpit odour: 

  • Gout 
  • Infectious diseases 
  • Liver and kidney diseases. 
  • Diabetes (causing diabetic ketoacidosis) 
  • Menopause 
  • Thyroid diseases 

Certain foods which contain sulphur and other foods can also cause body odour: 

  • Sulphur-containing foods: onions, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, red meat and garlic  
  • Other foods that trigger body odour: caffeine, alcohol, hot sauce or other spicy foods, spices like curry or cumin.1  

Also Read: Home Remedies For Dark Underarms

Symptoms of Smelly Armpits: 

Embracing home remedies and practicing good hygiene can effectively address armpit odor, but for those with hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) , sweating can cause discomfort and self-consciousness in public. Many patients complaint of extreme stress and discomfort due to excessive sweating. Seek guidance from a medical professional to explore potential treatment options. Botox injections can work wonders in certain cases.

Dr. Arpit Verma, MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)

Smelly armpits, i.e. odour from armpits, can occur due to many reasons, as mentioned above. It itself is a symptom that can occur as an indicator of an underlying medical condition or can just be due to certain external conditions like hot weather. 

Home Remedies for Smelly Armpits

Smelly armpits might pose an inconvenience during your daily activities. You might find yourself thinking, “How to get rid of the underarm smell?”  To answer your question, we have a few home remedies for smelly armpits that you might want to try to get rid of the underarm smell. They are as follows: 

1. Green Tea  

Green tea might help you block the pores on your skin and reduce sweating.1 To use green tea to avoid smelly armpits, you can take a few green tea bags and soak them in warm water, like we usually do while making tea. Then, take the tea bags out, and when they reach room temperature, you can put these tea bags under your armpits for a few minutes. Consistent use of this remedy might prove to be a good smelly armpit remedy.  

Check out – Kapiva Get Slim Green Tea

2. Lemon Juice  

Lemon juice has citric acid, which kills the bacteria. As a remedy for smelly underarms, you can take a lemon and juice it, then mix this juice in water. You can put this lemon juice in a spray bottle and spray it on your underarms.1 You can also just apply a little bit of this mixture directly on your armpits if you do not have a spray bottle. 

3. Baking Soda  

The skin has natural acids in it, which the baking soda may balance out. This helps to reduce the armpit smell. This might be a pretty straightforward remedy to get rid of smelly armpits. You can take a small amount of baking soda and mix a little bit of water to form a semi-solid paste. Apply this paste to your armpits and allow it to dry. After it dries, wash it off.1 This might prove to be a good remedy for smelly armpits. 

4. Apple Cider Vinegar  

Apple cider vinegar has acid, which helps to effectively destroy bacteria. Thus, it might be used as one of the home remedies for smelly armpits. You can take a few drops of apple cider vinegar and dilute it in a bit of water. You can put this diluted water in a spray bottle and use it to spray on your underarms.1 Otherwise, you can just apply the mixture made to your underarms using a cotton swab.    

Check out – Wow Life Science Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

5. Turmeric  

Turmeric might help to effectively kill bacteria, which react with sweat and cause a bad odour).2 This can be used as one of the home remedies for smelly underarms. You can use turmeric powder to make a paste which is not too liquid. Apply this prepared mixture to the underarms and leave it for some time. You can then rinse it off. Using this regularly might prove to be a good remedy for an underarm smell. 

6. Antibacterial Soaps  

Taking care of your hygiene by taking a bath regularly may prove beneficial in reducing body odour. You can use antibacterial soaps, which help reduce the number of bacteria on your skin, thus decreasing the chances of developing body odour. While taking a bath, make sure that you focus on your armpits and give them a good scrub to reduce the bacterial load.1 This might be one of the simplest home remedies for smelly armpits for you to try. 

7. Clothing  

Wearing clothes that are loose-fitting and made of cotton might help reduce body odour. Wearing clothes that absorb moisture from the body, known as moisture-wicking fabric, can be helpful. Wearing bras and underwear made of this fabric might help. Washing clothes regularly and wearing clean clothes may be a good way to reduce the underarm smell.1  

8. Lifestyle Modifications  

Lifestyle modifications like decreasing the intake or avoiding foods that cause body odour like caffeine, alcohol, onions, garlic, etc., may help to manage body odour and smelly underarms. Removing underarm hair could also be helpful as hair act as a breeding ground for bacteria.1 You can remove underarm hair by either shaving or waxing it. These little changes might help reduce the underarm smell.  

Though there are studies that show the benefits of the given herbs and home remedies in dealing with smelly armpits, these are insufficient. There is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of these herbs and home remedies on human health. Thus, these should be taken with caution and never as a substitute for medical treatment.  

Also Read: Natural Home Remedies For Dark Neck

Did You Know?

  • Approximately 3% of the population has a genetic condition called primary axillary hyperhidrosis, which causes excessive sweating in the armpits. source: aad.org
  • Antiperspirants work by blocking sweat glands, reducing armpit odor. source: nhs.uk
  • Armpit odor can be worsened by certain foods, such as garlic and onions. source: health.harvard.edu
  • The use of antibacterial soaps or washes can help reduce armpit odor. source: aad.org
  • Stress and anxiety can increase armpit odor due to the release of stress hormones. source: nhs.uk

When to Seek Medical Help? 

Increased sweating can mean something more in the following situations, and therefore you should visit a doctor: 

  • If you are sweating while sleeping 
  • If your skin is constantly damp with sweat 
  • Body odour which is a little fruity can be an indicator of diabetes. 
  • If you experience a sudden change in body odour or notice increased sweating 
  • When the body odour is bleach-like, it can indicate liver or kidney disease. 
  • If you are sweating even when you are not in a warm setting or physically active 
  • If you experience infections in the body areas more prone to sweating 
  • If you are sweating so much that it affects your daily activities like using a computer, holding a pen, or turning a doorknob.1 

You must not rely on home remedies alone for the management of smelly armpits. You should consult a doctor for advice on smelly armpits if the symptoms don’t improve.  

Also Read: How to Get Rid of Armpit Fat: Strategies and Exercises

Conclusion: 

Smelly underarms can be inconvenient and might leave you looking for home remedies to deal with it. This can be caused to various reasons like medicines, food, hormones, and excessive sweating. Sometimes, it can also indicate an underlying medical condition. When sweat comes in contact with the bacteria on the skin, it causes a bad underarm odour. You can try a few home remedies like apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or baking soda to get rid of smelly armpits. However, if you encounter frequent infections or are experiencing unexplained sweating, you should visit a doctor.    

Also Read: Natural Home Remedies for Tooth Decay

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)  

How to get rid of the underarm smell?  

You can try out a few home remedies like baking soda, lemon juice, green tea, etc., to get rid of the underarm smell.1 

Is the underarm smell always because of sweating?  

An underarm smell can occur due to sweating when the fat, salt and water present in sweat come in contact with the bacteria present on the skin. However, it is not the sole reason for the underarm smell; certain foods or underlying conditions like diabetes, hormonal changes, etc., can also cause it. You can sweat a lot and still not have smelly armpits.1

Can we get rid of the underarm smell by bathing?  

Yes, you might be able to get rid of the underarm smell by bathing regularly. Using antibacterial soaps to scrub the underarms might help with the underarm smell by reducing the number of bacteria on the skin.

Can I get rid of underarm odour naturally using green tea?

Yes, you may use green tea bags as a home remedy for smelly underarms by soaking the tea bags in warm water and then keeping them under your armpits. This might help you get rid of smelly underarms.1 

Is alcohol good for getting rid of the underarm smell?  

No. There is no report of alcohol being helpful in getting rid of the underarm smell. On the contrary, intake of alcohol can lead to the development of body odour and smelly armpits.1 

 

Also Read: Best Home Remedies For Hangover

References:  

1. Body Odor [Internet]. Cleaveland Clinic. 2020 [cited 2022 Jun 7]. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/17865-body-odor 

2. Adamczak A, Ożarowski M, KarpiÅ„ski TM. Curcumin, a Natural Antimicrobial Agent with.pdf. Pharmaceuticals [Internet]. 2020;13(153):1–12. Available from: www.mdpi.com/journal/pharmaceuticals 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.
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