Banish body odour


Banish body odour

Tips for smelling better

Warrick Lattibeaudiere

Sunday, January 10, 2021

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Not only is it unpleasant to interact with people who have strong body odour, it is considered offensive to point it out to strangers and can be awkward for one friend to tell another.

Left unchecked, each of us, since our bodies all naturally have odours, is susceptible to having them become unpleasant, which may end up interfering with our day and that of others. So, how can we keep our body odours in check?

Changing clothes regularly

People sometimes wear the same clothes more than once, even many times. Sweat tends to accumulate in such items of clothing, especially underwear. And when they are reworn, not only is there sweat build-up but bacteria action has started, which largely accounts for some of the obnoxious smells. So the first suggestion is to wear fresh, clean clothes every day.

Overall personal cleanliness

One commonly held view is that if more attention were paid to personal cleanliness and hygiene, our body odour would be better kept under control. But it is very easy for us to neglect those two areas. Try to bathe properly at least once per day if you are at home and not doing much physical work. Bathe at least twice per day if you leave home for work. Water and soap combine to remove sweat and bacteria from the body. Skin specialists will advise that bathing too many times can irritate the skin and may remove needed oils secreted by glands under the skin. In such cases, mild soaps or bathing oils may be used.

Bathing: important – but not enough

Bathing alone will not solve the issue of unpleasant body odours, so many people have added deodorants and antiperspirants to the mix. Note, however, that the body was made to sweat, so be careful how you use products (antiperspirants) that can cut perspiration by half or more. Some roll-ons that reduce sweat may run the risk of clogging pores, causing huge, painful swellings in the arm pit. I have found that applying lotion (I use shea butter), then some scented medicated powder and occasionally some cologne —after a good bath —does the trick. Never forget to always bathe first before applying these products, since you run the risk of irritating the skin.

Going the natural route

Natural products are generally well recommended. The book, Our Poisoned Earth and Sky, by I Rodale speaks of products with “fuller's earth, a fine clay used in the textile industry to… cleanse cloth”. As the author notes, “It neither prevents perspiration nor masks it.” Instead, it “attract[s] and holds] moisture”. Another thing to note is that the nature of what comes out of the body can be linked to what we take in. Citrus fruits such as lemon may have positive effects on our body odour over time. So, too, are strongly scented herbs ingested in tea form over time, like rosemary, thyme, cinnamon and mint.

No one thing seems to solve unpleasant body smells. Be sure, though, to focus on your hygiene, with bathing being an integral part of any routine. Seek out topical products with natural ingredients and increase your intake of natural tropical produce such as herbs and citrus fruit. Remember, it's always better when you smell better.

Warrick Lattibeaudiere, PhD, a minister of religion for the past 23 years, lectures full-time in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Jamaica, where he is also director of the Language, Teaching and Research Centre. E-mail him at

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