(By Obianuju Okafor)

I just could not help but talk about this because I realised there has been an increase lately in the number of persons found guilty of this, although the guys are most guilty. It is mind blowing and unimaginable when persons are unable to perceive an unpleasant smell emanating from their body. Body Odour nicknamed B.O. is that “unpleasant smell” that our bodies give off especially when we perspire through the sweat glands (Apocrine glands).  Sweat helps us to maintain our body temperature, hydrates the skin and balances the body fluids, electrolytes and chemicals in the body. Sweat forms on the body as a result of high activity or perspiration and it is usually very high in protein. Bacteria are usually found on the skin and these breaks down the protein into acids, these acids emit an unpleasant smell or odor which is perceived as a body odor.

Although sweat is odorless, but a rapid multiplication of these bacteria found on the skin leads to an unpleasant smell. This unpleasant smell can be perceived in various parts of the human body too; in the armpits, feet, pubic hair, groin, hair, behind the ears, belly button, etc. It is worthy of note that not all body odors are unpleasant; sometimes an individual can have a nice and specific smell which is peculiar to him or her.  Some animals like dogs are able to identify people with their body smell. Body odour can be influenced or caused by one or more of the following aside uncleanliness; diet, medication, health or gender, illness, discharge, hormones, skin bacteria etc

How can I stop the smell?

  • Keep your body clean: Have a regular shower if you realise you perspire frequently. Use a good body cleansing agents such as soap or a shower gel. Wash every part of your body thoroughly.
  • Wear clothes/inner wears that allow your skin to breathe freely:  Natural-made fibers which includes wool, silk and cotton are the best.  This can aid evaporation of sweat faster.
  • Shave! Shave!! Shave!!!:  I cannot help but almost scream this because I think some people probably want to plait their armpit hairs. Keep your armpits clean, shaven and dry always because 80% of the time it gives out an unpleasant smell if not well taken care of. Wash them regularly with an anti-bacterial soap and use a deodorant or antiperspirant.  Guys please take note of this as you seem to be the highest culprit.
  • Eat healthy: An unhealthy eating lifestyle can affect your digestion which in turn will give out unpleasant smell. Some foods have the tendency to make sweat more unpleasant.
  • Change your sleeping sheets frequently.
  • Undergarments should be washed after each use: Clothes should also be changed and washed after each use or when they get dirty, sweaty or do not smell clean. You can smell your clothing after you take them off.
  • Keep your clothes in a well ventilated area: Ensure all clothes are well dried before you package them.
  • Be sure to treat your feet nicely, remove all patches of dead skin with a pumice stone (a light rock full of air spaces). This can be easily bought.  Also buy a foot deodorant and carry out a pedicure.
  • Always carry around a clean handkerchief if you sweat frequently, this would help you wipe away all sweat before you get an opportunity to take a shower.
  • Shoes and socks should be well aerated:  Also socks from natural made fibers are better. Trainers or shoes with plastic linings should not be worn for so long. If you have sweaty feet, do not wear the same pair of shoes in a row because the sweat accumulated from the previous day do not completely dry overnight. The feet thus absorbs so much sweat giving the bacteria room to break down into unpleasant smells which is noticed when you take off your shoes or socks.
  • Ensure you see a doctor if you have any medical issues/illness which may cause frequent perspiration or emitting of body odour.
  • Watch videos on YouTube or read up articles for easy methods/ways/things you can use to combat body odour.
  • Consult your doctor if it still persists despite all cleanliness measures taken.

It is very important for you to take care of your body once you attain puberty (14-16 years for females and 15-17years for males). Please don’t chase folks away as a result of body odour, a lot of them may not be bold enough to draw your attention to your body smell. Be conscious of the smell that hovers around you. Please guys, help save the condition of babes who are dying from the smell emanating from your…God knows were! Ladies we are not left out though, some of us are very guilty too.

Good luck!