ClothingFashion AccessoriesFashion IndustryFragrancesHairHygiene & GroomingMakeupSkin

Why Do People Have Unpleasant Body Odor Even After Taking a Bath?

Updated on August 21, 2014

What Causes Body Odor?

Even famous Hollywood stars have suffered legendarily bad breath and battled body odor, so you are not alone if your natural state smells a little bit more natural than your friends would prefer. Read through this Hub to understand what may be causing the smell and what you can do about it.

Facts about Body Odor

  • Body odor, or B.O. as it is colloquially abbreviated, is referred to in medicine as bromhidrosis.
  • It is not your sweat that smells but actually the bacteria in your perspiration. Sweat in reality is odorless, but the bacterial activity on your skin when you perspire causes the unpleasant odor and explains why the smell may persist even after a bath.
  • Your skin produces two different kinds of sweat from two different kinds of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine. These glands secrete sweat in response not only to heat and humidity, but also to stress, anger, nervousness, sexual excitement, or certain foods. The apocrine glands in humans are located in the armpits, ear canal, eyelids, breasts, and genitalia, and the bacteria that thrive on secretions from the apocrine glands can grow and multiply. This produces an aroma that comes from the bacteria breaking down the fluids in sweat.

If the problem is causing you social embarrassment and damaging your self confidence, you need not panic. There are a lot of remedies and cures for men and women to get rid of the problem. Normal body odor caused by sweating can be treated effectively at home. It can usually be fixed by a change in your hygiene routine. If not, it may be a symptom of a medical condition, such as a skin infection (most commonly athlete’s foot), a liver disease, or a kidney condition. For this reason, if your body odor persists, see your doctor to get a diagnosis as soon as possible.

Home Cures and Suggestions

  1. Maintain high levels of personal hygiene by taking frequent showers using a scrubber or loofah with an anti-bacterial soap.
  2. Dry yourself well after baths and use antibacterial and antifungal powder.
  3. Wear clean clothes and make sure they are washed well to get rid of the odor. Never wear unwashed clothes.
  4. Use deodorants and antiperspirants, but be careful as they may cause skin irritation.

Herbal Remedies

1. Sage (Salvia Officinalis)


Compounds found in sage can dry up perspiration, while the oils contained in sage are antiseptic and antibiotic. Use it on your skin to help lessen body odor caused by your perspiration or by infectious agents. You can use sage as a body powder, body wash, and tea.

To create a body powder, crush dried sage and apply it to your skin.

To create a body wash, brew some sage tea. Sage tea helps excessive sweating (steep 2 teaspoons of dried sage in 1/4 litre of hot water for 5 minutes). You can then use the sage tea externally as a body wash. Apply to underarms in the shower--avoid using the body wash on your face or genitals.

You can also internally drink sage tea to treat body odor. Drink small amounts as needed rather than drinking it routinely. Caution: Prolonged use can cause dizziness, hot flushes, and seizures. Do not take internally if pregnant or breastfeeding.

2. Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis)


This aromatic culinary herb contains agents that are antiseptic and antibiotic, and the piney scent is also refreshing. Similar to sage, you can grind the dried herb and use it as a body powder. You can also make a tea from rosemary to use as body wash by steeping 1/4 cup of dried rosemary in 1/2 liter (2 cups) of water. If irritation occurs, discontinue the use.

3. Fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare)


As early as the 10th century AD, the mystic Hildegard of Bingen recommended fennel seed as treatment for body odor. In some Indian restaurants fennel seeds are seen instead of after-dinner mints. This is because fennel seeds not only improve digestion, but also can reduce bad breath and body odor that originate in the intestines. Eat whole seeds after a meal, or drink one cup of tea per day.

4. Sweet-Smelling Body Powder

You can use this powder under the arms or wherever odor originates:

  • 35 grams cornflour
  • 35 grams bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground sage
  • 1 tablespoon ground rosemary

Mix ingredients together.

Diet Considerations

Foods That Reduce Body Odor:

Your diet can also affect the smells emitted from your pores. Zinc deficiency may contribute to the body odor. To treat a zinc deficiency, try adding some of these zinc-rich foods to your diet:

  • spinach
  • whole grains
  • legumes
  • rice
  • nuts

Foods high in zinc.
Foods high in zinc. | Source

Foods That Cause Body Odor:

Certain foods contribute to your body odor. For example, garlic and onions both contain volatile sulfurous substances, which causes the smell that comes out of your pores long after you eat them. Cabbage and cruciferous vegetables contain compounds that your body will later release as well. Some foods, like caffeine and spices, don't directly affect your smell, but increase the amount you sweat. As bacteria breaks down that sweat, you will smell like you just worked out.

  • refined sugar
  • white flour
  • hydrogenated oils
  • processed foods
  • red meat (which releases toxins into your blood stream)
  • alcohol
  • caffeine
  • cumin
  • garlic
  • cabbage
  • very spicy foods (moderately spicy is okay)


What Medical Conditions Cause Body Odors

However, it is important to understand what really causes body odor for if the problem persists, there might be some underlying medical implications. As an old adage says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." If you are unsure why your body odor will not go away despite the steps listed above, or if the amount you sweat suddenly changes for no apparent reason, it is worth consulting a doctor.

Live a marvellous life!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      This struck me today, "Body Odor is the smell of bacteria growing in your body and not the sweat from perspiration." Gee...I think all along I thought it's the I know better! Thanks for this tips.

    • profile image

      Lenny Rinen 5 years ago

      Hi Michelle, thanks for appreciating. Really i am fired up on writing again. I hope you well and yes, don't worry i am tagging along with you pls. don't mind me just can't help following. cheers my friend

    • profile image

      Mickey 3 years ago

      Hi! Great article, you cannot find a lot of really professional stuff about this subject on the internet. Most of the forums give you the same answers: take a shower, change your deo, wash your clothes. I really think there are a lot of people who have this body odor from totally different reasons. I am also fighting with this condition for at least 5 years, it started very slowly, then the armpit smell became stronger and stronger. I went to dermatologists, neurologists, endocrinologists and could not find a solution. They say my body is working ok, I don't have problems with my thyroid, everything is just fine. I tried thousand of deodorants, antiperspirants, no help. Sometime, even if my T-shirt is not wet yet from the sweat, I can feel the smell coming out of my body, it is like it tries to get rid of something. I quit smoking, drinking alcohol, but I observed that it did not help. Once I did an elimination diet, and I saw after 3-4 days that the smell went down with 70-80%. But on other occasions (2-3 times in the last year) the smell went down almost completely for a few days and without a diet. After that it came back. I really don't know what to do, I cannot find the cause of the smell and I am sure that my body wants to tell me something, I am just too stupid to figure it out :) Do you have some ideas? Could it be an allergy to some food category? Maybe gluten or dairy? Or maybe my liver cannot clean my organism from oily or greasy foods? Sometimes I have some rash on my body, it is like my organism is rejecting something. Sorry for this long comment, I could really use some advice from you if you have. Thanks a lot! M

    • profile image

      Double-R 3 years ago

      My husband had a terrible body odor that permeated his bedding and his bathroom. When he did a gluten free diet the odor went away. to say the least I was amazed at the difference. Please give this a try to see if you can achieve the same results. It was one of the biggest changes from the gluten free diet. Our food has been so affected by GMO's and there are people that have a sensitivity to the wheat that has been crossed bred to make it grow faster and bigger. If you try this do some research on the gluten free diet and give it a try for at least two weeks and see how it does with you. Good luck and I wish you the best.

    • profile image

      teann 3 years ago

      What about bleach baths?

    • profile image

      adi0slip 3 years ago

      Go aheac try and bleach your body see what happens smart one. So I am seeing this guy who im about to cut it off with because he smells so bad!!! you leave my room smelling bad my bed smiley awful and he sweats all over his entire body. And its not a BO smell as much as the smell of ass or death or sour nastyness. It just makes me want to throw up. He showers everyday but that doesn't help. He doesn't wear cologne and need some badly! And I just started dating the guy why should I have to buy him all this stuff and spend all that money I really don't even have no way. He wears an all natural deodorant and that doesn't smell good. I am at my wits end even his clothes reak! I did mention to him how he needs to get some body spray and new deodorant. He hasn't done it. Even his leggs arms hands neck chest everything just sweats like he has an internal waterfall its sick.

    • profile image

      Jake 3 years ago

      I eliminated gluten, dairy, and eggs from my diet and had virtually no BO or foot odor. My entire family tried this and had the same results. Different people are sensitive to different foods. Depending on what the food is, (most common is usually gluten and dairy), the elimination of that food from the diet will help to get rid of body odor.

    • profile image

      Anthony kuni 2 years ago

      I am dealing with ASU a body odor it doesn't smell like b.o but I can smell ass and everyone keeps telling me that i don't stink but I can smell it and is very uncomfortable and it makes me feel like I don't even wanna live anymore I take excessive baths and use bottle in a bottle of Cologne to cover it up

      have tried everything I possibly can to get rid of this but can't I take at least 10 showers a day and nothing seems to help what can I do to get rid of this please will someone help me

    • profile image

      Erin 2 years ago

      My sweat glads for whatever reason always leak the "bad" sweat.. I've always smelled bad for as long as I can remember. One thing that helps me is using a half vinegar half water mix and lettingit air dry.. Yeah you might smell a bit like a pickle but you can hide that smell better then nothing at all.

    • profile image

      roman22 2 years ago

      I been having this odor. I haven taken the antibotics and have finished but the odor still there. My doctor told me that it was just my ph and i would go away quickly. Well the problem is still here plz tell me what to do about this embarrasing smell.

    • profile image

      Wow! 2 years ago

      Wow! Thank you so much! great help!

    • profile image

      af 2 years ago


    • profile image

      Kay 2 years ago

      My husband's boss, and his spouse, both had such strong body odor that you could smell them entering the Machine Shop with all of its oil and funky factory smells. Even outdoors, the aroma was there and powerful. The Ad Min found super strong blueberry candles at Walmart that were lit at first sign of their car in the parking lot. It helped a lot and they never questioned why candles during the day.

    • Cheuax profile image

      Will-I-Am II 2 years ago

      My worry is, how do you tell a friend that he/she has an unpleasant BO?Should I anonymously send him this article?

    • profile image

      Dawn 2 years ago

      I've finally found the 1 thing that works for my horrible, cat urine smelling armpits after trying tons of things over the years. Dial Gold Antibacterial soap! I use it under my arms in the shower every day- sometimes twice a day and it has helped so much. It comes as a hand soap, body wash, or bars of soap. I'm telling you if you're having smelly issues, you have to try this. I tried rubbing alcohol, vinegar, and tons of other things and none have worked except for the Dial Gold. After your shower, immediately apply deodorant. I also clean the armpit area on my shirts with the soap and then put them in the washer. I'm happy to say that I'm not embarrassed by my smell anymore.

    • profile image

      cbarbar 2 years ago

      I didn't realize that one's diet can affect body odor--helpful information and definitely important!

    • profile image

      Brenda Parker 2 years ago

      my husband does not have body odor during the day. But after he showers, he uses lots of soap and when he gets out and uses his towel it smells like a rotten skunk. I believe it's around his neck and head. When he goes to bed his pillows stinks so bad I can hardly stand them. What can I do about the two problems? Please help

    • Zoraya Nash profile image

      Zoryana 2 years ago from Ukraine

      Brenda Parker, I think you should change a towel more often. It usually stinks if it stays wet for a very long time.

      Dear author!

      I find your rticle really very useful and interesting. I thought why my groupmate always smelt rely very bad. For she is a girl and takes a shower everyday...

      Thank you!

    • profile image

      Danielle 22 months ago

      I never had a problem with sweat before

      .i was just recently diagnosed with gallbladder disease . High liver enzymes. And constant fevers . Can this be why i jist can not seem to not smell fresh?

    • profile image

      Victori 14 months ago

      There is a lady I take care of. Say on Saturday I could give her a shower, then comes Sunday and she still has a strong odor. Is there anything at the drug store maybe that would eliminate that? I am desperate.

    • profile image

      Help 13 months ago

      Hi, try Scent away soap. Or Scent away Max. I found it on In the hunters section, sports. I ordered mines online. I'm sure sport stores will have it too

    • profile image

      Bret 12 months ago

      I also suffer from terrible body odor. I live a normal life up into 2015 when my world turn upside down. I was going through alot stress from work every single day. All this stress slowly started to weaken my immune system. Once my immune system was weaken it cause my body to be over run by candida. All started to noticed that my deodorant wasn't working anymore. So I kept buying different antiperspirant and deodorant and nothing work. Then like a month later my hair started to smell like sour milk. So I tried all different kinds of shampoo but nothing work. Then on top of that my skin pores started to give off a odor I couldn't smell but others could. I was forced to quit my job because I couldn't deal with all the name calling and being made fun of. I was to the point that I wanted to kill myself. I am slowly starting to recover from this physically and mentally. I been talking lots of probiotics and Diflucan to kill the candida. My odor problem is not as bad as before. But I heard it take up to a full year for the immune system to recover from the candida. I am also going to start taking chlorophyll which help in fighting candida and body odor. I hope this post can help anyone who is suffering from odor problems.

    • profile image

      Mike 12 months ago

      Bret, Chlorophyll is a great natural odor nuetralizer. I believe youll see some great results. Try buying natural organic tee tree oil. I have found it works on a myriad of things. Apllying it on the skin can help kill any bacterial growths.

    • profile image

      Help 10 months ago

      Cheese or milk can cause a sour milk smell, from any part of your body. Sometimes, odors can be caused by zinc, iron or vitamin b6 or b12 deficiencies. Yeast or canadi overgrowth as well as parasites, lung, or kidney disease, uncontrolled diabetes. Eating lots of sweets or too much bread ( which causes yeast overgrowth). Unknown food allergies to nuts, dairy, milk and undigested redmeat. I would try taking Miralax if I spelled it right. Dail, has come out with a new odor control soap, and you can buy odor neutralizing deodorants, that hunters use. I found some on I'm sure, you can find it in-stores too. I would try something for constipation, because backed up toxins causes very bad odors. Also, I would increase my water in take and try a couple squirts of lemon juice in a glass or 2 of water a day. That will help kill internal body odors. Don't try it if your allergic to lemons of course. I would try buying mint leaves or cucumbers in my water too, if not allergic. Let them sit, in the water for a an hour or more. Also, a doctor maybe able to prescribe you something or you maybe can try, stuff from the vitamin section. Yeast away, Canadian away. Good luck, I hope it helps. Please, let us know what does, if anything. Thanks

    • SakinaNasir53 profile image

      Sakina Nasir 6 months ago from Kuwait

      Great hub! Learned a lot of things. Very informative and helpful. Thanks for sharing. God bless you! ☺

    • profile image

      Gh Akwesi 5 months ago

      I smell and I Dont know why even if i make my bath ten times a day I still smells and I have used many duodorant but but still have this problem please help me..

    • profile image

      Mary Hadley 3 months ago

      Our food supply is being changed and is not being labeled as such. The very genes have been altered and it is reaking havoc on our digestive systems causing skin problems, allergies, leaky gut etc. etc.b It is not a overnight problem. It is a cumalative effect. Want to know more

    • profile image

      Christine 12 days ago

      So it started over a year ago and then summer past and i started going to school and i noticed it was gone but then it came back a week later and it gives me axiety i dont like sitting by people and i just wanna know why it stopped then came back

    • profile image

      eli101 3 days ago

      This kind of helped me. First it's good to have a change in diet. Cutting out dairy and meat as much as possible. Next incorporating more vegetables helped some. I then tried a product from Renew Life, called Intestinew powder (and pills). I tried the powder. I didn't notice a great change when I did all these but it was a start. I tried not stressing, (which can be difficult, and I also prayed). Watching things on tv/internet that make you laugh is a positive in healing your insides I think. Then I tried several things including lemon juice, baking soda, garlic and organic apple cider vinegar (not all at once). I tried baking soda with lemon juice (1 spoonful in water each, about 15-30 min. apart) first and I didn't notice any great results. I then tried, smashing/cutting 1 good size clove of garlic with 6-8 oz. of water in the morning before eating anything (then either oatmeal or something else about 30 minutes after). At night 1-2 hours after dinner, I used 1 tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar mixed in with about 6-8 oz. of water. Did this for a while (maybe 1 or 2 months) and started noticing the "nose scratchers" didn't scratch as often. I experimented not showering for one day and even working out the next day(sweating use to be bad) and people didn't react the way they normally would. So far so good. I'm still using garlic and apple cider vinegar, just in case, and don't want to go back to my usual eating habits either. Maybe this will help you. If you can see a doctor (a good one, not one that'll dismiss you as crazy) they might prescribe something for your particular situation.

      I don't know if the intestinew was of any help. maybe it repaired some damage in the guts. Maybe not, but i'm mentioning it just in case. (some other dude said he had taken the pills in double/triple douses but I wouldn't recommend that, as people can have various reactions to taking too much.) I know garlic was on the list of problem "foods" but it seemed to help me. Good luck. (don't despair,) Peace.

    Click to Rate This Article