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Body odor is natural and normal, and sweating is necessary—but if you’re like most people, you’ll gladly pass on funky feet, stinky pits, and bad breath. No sweat. These six solutions for the most pungent parts of your body will leave you smelling fresh and clean, naturally.
1. Your pits
The armpit area is rich in apocrine glands that produce a viscous fluid high in protein and lipids. Bacteria on your skin break these down, releasing that characteristic smell. Shower daily, more if you’re working out or in hot weather, and get rid of excess hair—it traps bacteria and moisture, which exacerbates odor. Use a natural antiperspirant or deodorant that’s free from parabens and aluminum compounds. Activated charcoal can minimize wetness without clogging pores, and deodorants made with essential oils fight bacteria and stop the stink.
2. Your feet
The warm, damp environment of socks and shoes becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi that feed off dead skin cells and produce pungent odors. Wash feet regularly and use a liquid soap to really get between toes—try a natural antibacterial soap with tea tree oil. Before putting on socks and shoes, spray on deodorant, or use a powder to minimize moisture. Once a week, soak and scrub feet to get rid of dead skin cells that contribute to the stink. And use a natural antifungal cream with thyme, grapefruit seed, and other botanicals to fight foot fungus.
3. Your privates
Next to the armpits, the groin houses most of the body’s apocrine glands, and their fluids collect in groin folds and pubic hair, leading to bacteria and odor. Yoga pants, tight shorts, or snug-fitting cotton underwear trap moisture and exacerbate the problem. To minimize smell, shower daily and always after working out. Use a gentle but effective soap—charcoal-based washes or black soap with antibacterial plantain extract are ideal. A talc-free powder can mop up excess moisture. And choose breathable, moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics, especially for exercising.
4. Your scalp
More subtle than stinky pits or feet, your scalp can get pretty ripe if you skip a shampoo or two—especially after working out or in hot summer months. Dandruff makes matters worse. As dead skin cells break down, they release a subtle-but-distinctive odor. Fight funky hair with shampoo made with lavender, rosemary, mint, eucalyptus, and other odor-banishing oils. A natural antidandruff shampoo can combat dead skin cells. And if you don’t have time to wash your hair, try a dry shampoo, especially after a sweaty workout.
5. Your mouth
Food trapped between teeth, around the gums, and on the surface of the tongue promote bacterial growth, leading to smelly breath—technically known as halitosis. A dry mouth also encourages bad breath, since saliva helps wash away bacteria and dead cells on the gums and tongue. And certain foods contain pungent-smelling compounds that enter the bloodstream and are
exhaled through the lungs. Brush, floss, and gargle religiously. Use natural toothpaste and mouthwash with xylitol, neem, tea tree, peppermint, sage, cinnamon, or clove to fight bacteria, and try a tongue scraper to remove food particles from the tongue.
6. Your body
Sometimes, skin just smells bad—even in areas with fewer sweat glands. Part of the reason may be your diet. Broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables are high in pungent sulfur compounds that permeate through skin. Onion, garlic, cumin, curry, alcohol, red meat, and refined carbs can also negatively impact your scent. On the other hand, research shows that carotenoids, found in carrots, sweet potatoes, mangos, and other yellow-orange foods, may have a positive impact on body odor. The chlorophyll in dark, leafy greens, wheat grass, and parsley is also thought to fight odor. And an excellent-smelling body wipe, lotion, or spray rich in essential oils will sweeten the scent of your skin.