Body odor. It’s an important beauty topic that, sadly, gets little attention. So Two Blonds, having a nose for adventure, consulted two doctors, visited the drugstore and sniffed out what you need to know about three key odor-producing areas of your body.
We stuck to over-the-counter products.
Such treatments as Botox and prescription meds are highly effective for people who suffer from hyperhidrosis, or excessive sweating, and bromhidrosis, an abnormal condition of unpleasant body odor caused by bacterial breakdown of sweat and cellular debris. Consult a doctor if you believe you smell super-foul – and stay away from us.
Unless you have gum disease, ditch the mouthwash, says Danh T. Kuennemann, DDS, who has been practicing dentistry for 20 years.
If you insist on using mouthwash, stick with Listerine, the only brand recommended by the American Dental Association, says Dr. Kuennemann, whose practice is in Irvine.
More than anything, proper hygiene is the key to minimizing bad breath. And one of Dr. Kuennemann’s favorite tools is …
A tongue scraper.
“That’s where most of the bacteria in your mouth live,” he said. “I scrape my tongue three times a day. You’d be amazed at how much stuff you can scrap off.”
Um, TMI, doc!
DenTek’s Comfort Clean tongue cleaner (CVS, $5.29) works fine, though Dr. Kuennemann recommends an aluminum tongue scraper, which is tougher to find. Brushes aren’t as effective.
Other tips from the good dentist:
• Use waxed floss with a satin-like finish.
• Breath mints and strips that dissolve on your tongue are just temporary fixes. Skip ’em if you want to do more than mask the problem.
• How you brush your teeth is much more important than what toothpaste you use, so learn proper brushing techniques.
Sweat itself has no odor, noted Jeff Brandt, M.D., a primary care physician with the Hoag Medical Group in Newport Beach who has particular expertise in dermatology.
There are two types of glands that produce sweat: eccrine, the major sweat glands that are all over the body and whose primary role is regulating body temperature, and apocrine, which are located in areas where there are lots of hair follicles, such as the scalp, armpit and groin. These areas are especially attractive to bacteria, the culprit in making us stinky.
Good hygiene tips from Dr. Brandt:
• Shower regularly but not excessively (three times or more a day is too much), as excessive bathing can dry the skin and disrupt the normal balance of bacteria.
• Use an anti-bacterial body wash.
• Beware of washing agents that contain oils (olive, coconut, etc.) because oils don’t wash away easily and can promote the growth of bacteria and, thus, exacerbate body odor.
Antiperspirants: Deodorants just mask body odor. Buy an antiperspirant like Degree Clinical + ($9.99, CVS) with at least 20 percent aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex glycine, the key ingredient that reduces sweating. Apply at bedtime as the chemical works best when the body is at rest, but using twice a day is fine, Dr. Brandt said. You also can use antiperspirants on your feet.
Armpit hair: “Minimize” it, said Dr. Brandt – and that applies to other hairy body areas. “You don’t need to get a full-body wax,” he said.
Sprays such as Dr. Scholl’s Odor-X ($6.99, CVS) are easier to use than powders, but a great odor-fighting powder is Gold Bond maximum-strength foot powder ($6.49, CVS), said Dr. Brandt.
Top-rated foot-odor products on Amazon.com include On Your Toes foot bacterial powder,Kiwi Fresh Force shoe-freshener aerosol and Dr. Scholl’s Odor-X Odor Fighting Insoles.
Dr. Brandt gave a toes-down to a $130 device called the SteriShoe, which uses ultraviolet light to kill bacteria in your shoes.
“If you have to spend $130 to kill bacteria in your shoes,” Dr. Brandt said, “it’s probably time to buy new shoes.”
We tried the Thompson Tee ($24.99), which boasts about its Hydro-Shield Sweatproof Technology. The surprisingly stylish and comfortable T-shirt kept our pits dry, but don’t wear the shirt alone, because people will ask what the deal is with the bulges built into the shirt. They look kind of funky.
As for shirts with unsightly underarm-sweat stains, a product called Deo-go ($11.49, to clean 15 to 20 shirt) purports to effectively remove such stains – although come press time, we still were testing the stuff, which seriously looks like urine. Guys, can’t you come up with a more appealing dye?
Tips and facts
• Spicy foods, alcohol, garlic and even penicillin can promote bad body odor.
• Home remedies for armpit B.O., like rubbing a lime or splashing on vinegar, may help reduce body odor, but the acid can irritate the skin and cause other problems. Baking soda, however, is fine to use on the armpits and feet.
• Persistent foul body odor can be a sign of an underlying serious medical condition, including diabetes and thyroid, liver or kidney disease. Be sure to consult your doctor if you notice a serious change in how you smell.
To view the original Orange County Register article, click here.