How To Stop Underarm Odor
If you find that your armpits start to smell all too readily, you may want to consider how to stop underarm odor. It is often caused by excessive perspiration under the arms. It is not well known that underarm odor, or axillary hyperhidrosis, which is excessive underarm sweating, is relatively common and treatable. It may be worthwhile to treat this condition as it is socially embarrassing and perhaps unnecessarily so.
The medical condition of axillary hyperhidrosis is diagnosed by excessive sweating which occurs in one or both armpits for a period longer than six months. This condition may be accompanied by others, including excessive sweating of the face, the scalp and the palms, also the soles of the feet. Often it runs in families and has a complex genetic element.
Specific causes for excessive sweating are not known, but it can be treated in a number of ways, including managing your behavior and common sense management, natural remedies, antiperspirants and deodorants, medical intervention including antibiotics and even various surgeries.
There are plenty of effective ways to manage either the excessive sweating caused or how to mitigate social embarrassment. It is best to keep cool and to try and stay relaxed. As the production of underarm sweat is linked to the sympathetic nervous system, triggered by ‘flight or fight’ or suppressed as an emotional stress reaction, it can help to remain calm and not stress out. If it is possible to find somewhere cool to be, it can regulate your temperature there.
Regarding clothing, you can carry a fresh shirt with you. Wearing darker clothing will render the problem area to be almost invisible. Loose fitting clothing allows for air circulation and for perspiration to evaporate more effectively. Choosing the right fabrics in contact with your underarms also helps – some fabrics are less likely to cause sweating, such as linen and cooler clothing. Avoiding artificial fabric helps – such as nylon or viscose shirts. If there is excessive hair, you can shave or wax it off, and reduce the buildup of heat under your arms.
Natural remedies are another effective way in considering how to stop underarm odor. Lime juice is a simple remedy which is easy to apply and yields great results. It works because it contains a high concentration of citric acid and it neutralizes odor by inhibiting bacteria on the skin. All you need to do is to use a lime cut in half, rubbed on your armpits, allowing this lime juice to be absorbed by your pores. This is best done after drying off from a shower. It is advised that you do not get lime juice n your clothing as it can bleach.
Alum, or aluminum chloride can be thought of as a crystal form of deodorant. It is available at your local drugstore, over the counter. All you need to do is to rub it on your pits, being careful about any jagged or sharp edges. Some say that using alum is just as effective as the more expensive deodorants you can buy.
Vinegar, especially apple cider vinegar, can be used at night to neutralize odor causing bacteria due to its pH. Vinegar also reduces sweating overall.
Deodorants and antiperspirants can help. Deodorants mask body odor and make the smell more bearable. Deodorants do not interfere with the natural sweating process. By stopping perspiration altogether, antiperspirants can reduce the secretions of the skin’s apocrine glands, limiting food and malodorous by-products by skin dwelling bacteria. Antiperspirants tend to work by using aluminum salts which close, block or clog pores. Experiment with different deodorants, as some are better at masking your particular body odor than others. It is best to ask someone else to check, as your brain does get used to your own smell and stops processing it after a while.
Medical treatment is entirely possible and there are many options. Aluminum chloride hexahydrate is useful and available in concentrations from 10% to 25%, both as a solution and a gel. It is applied at night and washed off in the morning, used frequently at first and then only once or twice a week. Irritation is possible using aluminum chloride hexahydrate, and this can be managed by using hydrocortisone cream at a low strength, about 1%.
Antibiotics can also remove bacteria, though pores tend to get sore and deodorants are not recommended during periods of antibiotic intake until a few days after treatment finishes.
Other medications which may be useful include anticholinergics, which reduce sweating altogether, however with the side-effects of dry eyes and mouth as well as other nuisances. Botulinum toxin injected intradermally can provide effective relief for 7-16 months.
As a last resort, surgery is also possible, and this can provide permanent cures. For example laser ablation is a walk-in, walk-out operation introduced in 2009 by Mark Whiteley. Other surgical options include cutting away the nerve endings in the axillae, or armpits, retrodermal curettage, VASER and even axillary liposuction.
Clearly, there are many options to look at when you are considering how to stop underarm odor. Once an effective treatment program is initiated, you can enjoy feeling and smelling fresh once again.