“Puberty hits you hard!” an acquaintance once told me this after seeing each other ten years later. It was all good at first, I even awkwardly thanked her for that, but the realization of what puberty is as a whole later that day left me regretful ’til today. Who told anyone I was excited to grow up? I’m a hundred percent willing to raise my arms ’til my pits stink due to excessive perspiration (I’m not even exaggerating) because puberty really did hit me hard… in a way that I’ve never imagined!
Body odor is part of growing up. It is due to staphylococcus, a bacteria mixed with human sweat that produces thioalcohols. We develop body odor once we start puberty. Taking a bath regularly, using deodorant and antiperspirant, shaving, avoiding spicy food, using antibacterial soap, washing your clothes, and drying your armpit thoroughly after washing are one of the helpful ways on how we can prevent body odor from occurring.
What is a body odor?
Body odor is a consequence of puberty. The smell is kinda similar with a nachos dippings sold for cheaper prices at stalls.(they are good, tho!) And no, We smell not because we sweat. As a matter of fact, sweating cools down our body especially when we are under the scorching heat of sun. Yet, due to some bacteria underarms that our sweat often interacts with, we then produce unwanted armpit smell. I do not intend to discriminate, but individuals with obesity and diabetes are the common targets of body odor, same goes with those people who are in medication and who have other health conditions.
We have two glands responsible for our sweating, and they are:
1. Apocrine Glands – This is associated with our hair follicle on our armpits. It produces protein-rich sweat that is actually odorless.
2. Eccrine Glands – This is responsible for our body temperature. This is not strongly affiliated with body odor.
Who is the culprit behind our body odor?
Who is the real culprit behind our body odor? It’s staphylococcus hominis!
A group of researchers isolated 150 thioalcohols. Thioalcohols are produced when sweat interacts with armpit bacteria. They gathered bacteria that are usually found underarms and added an odorless molecules that are found in human sweat. In conclusion, they’ve figured out that the likes of staphylococcus are the real culprit behind our smelly armpits.
What age do we develop body odor?
Girls might develop body odor between the ages of 9 to 13. Boys, on the other hand, might develop theirs between the ages of 10 to 15. We develop body odor once we start hitting our puberty.
What age do we have to encourage our children to use deodorant?
There’s no specific age when it comes to deodorant. Your kid can already start using one if she’s already showing signs of body odor. However, it’s best to consult a doctor first to make sure your kid is not sensitive against the active ingredients of any deodorant. There are also deodorant for kids that you can actually choose from.
How can we prevent body odor?
There are numerous ways on how we can possibly prevent body odor from occurring, and these include:
1. Taking a bath regularly.
Taking a bath regularly is a strong defense against unwanted body odor, especially underarms. This is the first thing that you must do to keep yourself clean, fragrant, and body-odor free. Yet, of course, we should be considerate enough to understand that there are people who can’t take a bath regularly due to either personal, social, or economic issue. For example, scarcity.
This is probably the first thing that comes in our minds whenever we think of armpit odor. In order to prevent unwanted armpit odor from occurring, especially if you are outside with friends or strangers, you must regularly apply deodorant underarms. Deodorant is a product used to mask unwanted armpit smell. It does not stop perspiration nor cure body odor, it simply masks body odor.
Like what I’ve mentioned, my grandmother introduced me to this product when I was only around nine years old. I tried using this for days, but I stopped because I had shallow knowledge about armpit odor and deodorant at that time. I’m not sure if it was really safe for me to use or if I’m using the right product for my armpit skin.
There’s no shame with people who want to grow their armpit hair long. Yet, if you’re suffering from unwanted armpit odor, it’s best to shave or wax your hair underarms to reduce the chances of armpit smell. Armpit hair stores sweat and bacteria that could later on lead to unwanted body odor. Other than that, armpit hair also produces additional oils. Shaving helps!
For shaving tips, you can try using razors, depilatories, or even waxing.
Sweating is odorless, but if you’re experiencing excessive sweating due to any health condition like hyperhidrosis, it’s best to use antiperspirant. Antiperspirant is a product meant to temporarily block sweat glands underarms to reduce perspiration. Sweating may be odorless, but it’s also a cause of unwanted odor if mixed with your bacteria underarms.
5. Avoid eating spicy food, onions, and garlics.
Spicy food causes you to sweat more. Onions and garlics, on the other hand, also produce unwanted smell upon consuming. It’s best to avoid these food if you have body odor problems to reduce the probabilities of unwanted body odor.
6. Use antibacterial soap
Use antibacterial soap underarms to kill bacteria like staphylococcus that causes body odor.
7. Dry your armpit thoroughly after washing
It’s important to dry your armpit first after washing and before applying deodorant and antiperspirant.
8. Wash your clothes
Be reminded that there are also existing bacteria from unwashed clothes, so make sure to wash your clothes first before using them again.
Our bodies have the capability to produce odorants or substances that smell. As a girl, I’ve noticed changes in my body at a very young age. I was around nine years old when I first discovered that. Compare to the boys at my age, I’ve started to be more mindful of my actions. That’s maybe due to the physical changes I’m witnessing at that time. Not to mention all the warnings that we, girls, often receive from elders while growing up. However, I also know at that point that something’s changing with my sweat, it smells awful than usual! I remembered addressing that issue with my grandmother. Later that day, she introduced me to a deodorant.
I was that shy little girl back then. I couldn’t tell it to other people, not even with my closest friends. I was a young kid who do not really understand body odor, other than the fact that the awful smell underarms will surely put me in humiliation, and I do not want that. No one told me it’s part of growing part. And I think that’s one of the main reason why I wrote this blog. I want to teach people the importance of knowing what body odor is, why do we we have body odor, when are we going to develop body odor, when should we start using deodorant or was it safe for kids to use, and how can we possibly prevent it from occurring, so that our children today will no longer find body odor a taboo topic, but a normal consequence of puberty that they can casually talk about.