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Natural Beauty

How to Banish Body Odor from Head to Toe

From your scalp to your feet, body odor may be natural, but it definitely isn't pleasant. Here are six simple ways to defeat the funk.

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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.

Product picks:

Nubian Heritage Lemongrass & Tea Tree Bar Soap

Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Shaving Soap

Schmidt’s Natural Charcoal + Magnesium Deodorant

Lafe’s Deodorant Roll On Active (Citrus + Bergamot)

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.

Product picks:

Crystal Mineral Deodorant Spray

WiseWays Herbals Tea-Tree Talc-Free Foot Powder

Home Health Antifungal Lotion

Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Tea Tree Soap

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.

Product picks:

Nubian Heritage African Black Soap Bar Soap

Every Man Jack Activated Charcoal Wash

Emerita Feminine Cleansing and Moisturizing Wash

NutriBiotic Body & Foot Powder

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.

Product picks:

EO French Lavender Shampoo

Avalon Organics Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

Mineral Fusion Dry Shampoo

Acure Dry Shampoo Rosemary & Peppermint

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.

Product picks:

Desert Essence Tea Tree and Neem Toothpaste

The Natural Dentist Peppermint Sage Mouthwash


Hello Antiplaque + Whitening Fluoride Free Toothpaste

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.

Product picks:

Wyndmere Naturals Neroli Spray

Nature’s Way Chlorofresh Chlorophyll Softgels

Amazing Grass Organic Greens Blend