by Sarah Thomas

We all want to smell good and some of us go to great lengths to make that happen. But good hygiene is really only part of the battle.

How can you get rid of body odor? Understanding what causes body odor in the first place is a good start. Basically, anything that makes your body work harder is going to signal it to cool, which will result in sweating. Bacteria, ever ready for a feast, consume sweat and other bodily fluids and produce unpleasant odors.

There are things that contribute to the particular odor cocktail of sweat and bacteria based on what you eat, how you feel, and your activity levels. Body chemistry can vary from person to person, so it makes sense that we are affected differently.

The following are some ideas that can help you fight body odor:

1. Reduce Stress

“Stress stink” is a thing! Stress and anxiety get you all fired up and signal your body to cool you down by sweating. Worrying about how much you are sweating can cause you to sweat even more! Your pits sweat 30 times more when you are stressed out than when you are relaxed.

Stress sweat can actually have a stronger odor than day to day sweating because it has a different composition. Sweat from exercise and rising temperatures are produced by the eccrine glands and is mostly water. Because adrenaline is involved in stressful situations, stress sweat is pumped out by the apocrine glands and contains protein and fat, and bacteria are all over that.

So take some deep cleansing breaths, do some yoga, cut some things from your schedule to make it more manageable, listen to music that moves you. Do whatever it takes to help you reduce stress. You’ll feel better and smell better.

2. Allow Yourself Time To Cool Down After Exercise

You finished your run two hours ago, why are you still red in the face and sweating? Exercise raises your core temperature, especially if you are outside on a hot and humid day. The more you do to intentionally cool down, the quicker you will avoid excessive sweating.

Give yourself time to bring your heart rate down slowly, drink plenty of water, and take some time to stretch. If you are still feeling overheated, stand in front of a fan, hold a cool water bottle to the back of your neck, and take a cool shower. You just asked a lot of your body. You need to give it time to change gears.

3. Remove or Reduce Body Hair

Look, this is a really personal topic. Your body is perfect exactly the way it is. But, hair does contribute to body odor because it grows in all the places where the odor-producing apocrine sweat glands reside. More hair means more surface area for bacteria to grow. Anyone who has ever sung Kumbaya at a smoky campfire can attest to the fact that hair absorbs and traps odors. If the odor is a persistent problem for you, consider a trim here or there. It’s not necessary to remove hair entirely.

4. Stop Using Antiperspirants

It sounds crazy, but it’s true. The armpit has been referred to as the “tropical forest” of the body’s ecosystem, and there’s already a lot of fertile ground packed into such a limited area. But, long term use of antiperspirants can actually increase the variety of bacteria species thriving in your armpit. More specifically, antiperspirants can increase the number of odor-causing bacteria. By contrast, Lume works by preventing bacteria from feasting on bodily fluids, so odor-causing bacteria go hungry and can’t reproduce. Ditch that antiperspirant!

5. Go Easy on The Spice

If you are what you eat, you definitely smell like what you eat. Strong smelling foods produce strong-smelling bodies and not just funky breath. Do you enjoy eating curry or salsa that makes you break out in a sweat? Foods that make you sweat more are also more likely to lead to body odor. Curries, cumin, garlic, and onions all contain sulfur compounds that release gasses as your body breaks them down. For several hours after you eat, these gasses pour out of your pores along with sweat and can cause a lingering smell.

6. Reduce The Amount of Refined Sugar In Your Diet

Most of us love indulging in sweets now and then. (Does several times a day count as now and then?) That’s something we have in common with bacteria, especially the bacteria that live in our gut. If you have improper gut flora, your digestive system might not be working properly and this can lead to some funky body odors. The solution? Eat less refined sugar, and add probiotics to your diet like kefir and Greek yogurt.

7. Eat a Balanced Diet

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause body odor, so eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables will contribute to healthier smells. Green vegetables contain chlorophyll, which has long been thought to lower body odor. You just can’t go wrong adding more veggies to your diet.

There are some vegetables that can actually cause odor - the cruciferous type. The offenders are the very same ones that leave a lingering smell in your house when cooked - like broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts. If these are a problem for you, you might consider limiting the amount in your diet. But, you may decide the health benefits (and their delicious taste) outweigh the risks.

8. Eat Less Red Meat

Do you get the meat sweats? The amino acids in red meat leave a residue that lingers in your intestines during digestion so your body has to put forth more effort to digest, which can lead to sweating. The resulting odor is stronger because the sweat is mixed with enzymes needed to break down the residue. Moderation is key, especially if your body reacts more strongly to red meat.

9. Quit smoking

When you smoke, nicotine releases a chemical called acetylcholine that raises your body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. This signals your body to rev up the cooling machine and start sweating, which in turn provides a feast for bacteria. Nicotine can also contribute to night sweats and hot flashes.

Quitting smoking can cause an increase in sweaty episodes, but only temporarily. It’s tough to curtail long-standing habits, but your body will thank you.

10. Drink less coffee

Your morning coffee gives you the boost you are looking for, but it also gives your sweat glands a little boost, for a couple of reasons. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system by triggering the release of adrenaline and puts your body in the fight or flight mode, which causes you to sweat. In addition, hot drinks raise your body temperature and signal your body to sweat in order to cool you down. Drink caffeine in moderation, and consider cold coffee drinks to reduce sweating.

11. Drink less alcohol

When you drink, alcohol in the bloodstream causes the vessels to enlarge which can increase the temperature of your skin and signal your body to start cooling by perspiring. The byproduct of that process is diacetic acid released through sweating, and it has a distinct odor when it meets up with bacteria. For most people, this only happens at the level of intoxication, so knowing your limits will help. As with nicotine and caffeine, alcohol can contribute to hot flashes and night sweats.

12. Drink More Water

Ever notice your pee smells stronger when you haven’t been drinking enough water? Drinking plenty of water flushes toxins and waste, and dilutes the less savory odors they produce.

Your body’s sophisticated cooling system works by expanding blood vessels close to the skin’s surface and releasing heat. When you are dehydrated, it takes a higher temperature to trigger blood vessels to expand, so you stay hotter. And sweatier. And being sweatier makes you more dehydrated. Crazy.

13. Sleep on Cotton Sheets and Wear Cotton PJ’s

Microfiber sheets and fleece pajamas may be all the rage and feel super soft to the touch, but fabrics made from synthetic fibers do not breathe well and will make you sweat more during the night. Fabrics made from natural fibers like cotton and linen are breathable and absorb moisture. They help regulate your core temperature for a cool and dry sleep. Even if you experience night sweats, cotton sheets and pajamas tend to dry faster and allow for a deeper rest.

Sweat is our body’s natural response to keep us from overheating, so it is a good thing. But, it sure can cause some problems.

What’s different about Lume’s approach to controlling body odor?

Lume does not attempt to mask or overpower body odor after the fact, it prevents odor from happening before it starts. Lume’s patented formula actually prevents bacteria from ingesting bodily fluids like the sweat under your arms and causing a stink.

But here’s even better news: Lume is a unique deodorant because it can be used anywhere you have an odor but wish you didn’t. Body odor is not limited to your armpits, so it’s about time you had a deodorant that isn’t limited for use in your armpits. Use Lume on your feet, privates, skin folds, belly buttons, and of course, your armpits.

At Lume, we like to say sweat happens, but odor doesn’t have to.

Did you Lume today?



*In some cases, a change in body odor might be a sign of a medical condition. Odd body odors have been described as fruity or grape-like, putrid, ammonia-like or chemical-like. If you notice a change in your body odor that seems out of the ordinary, please contact your doctor.

Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas