Natural Ways to Treat Body Odor

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Daily showers and deodorant use keep smelly sweat at bay, but they're far from your only options. If you're looking for a gentle way to ward off odor, give some natural remedies a try. Topical treatments, such as bacteria-fighting essential oil, don't irritate skin as much as some store-bought products do. Your diet is important, too -- healthy, nutrient-rich food keeps odor at bay.

The Cause of Odor

Body odor doesn't always indicate uncleanliness; it has many possible causes. Odor can be spurred by several health conditions, including stress, diabetes, menopause or kidney disease. If you suspect a health problem or condition, consult a doctor for help. To ease stress, try regularly listening to some favorite music, watching funny TV shows, meditating or going for brisk walks. Diet is a major cause of odor, too. Foods that can encourage bad smells include caffeinated beverages, alcohol, onions and garlic. Cut these things out of your diet for a few weeks and see if you notice any improvement. Tobacco is another culprit, so if you're using it, consider quitting.

Topical Odor Fighters

Store-bought deodorants prevent bad smells, but they're not a good option for everyone. Many contain chemical ingredients that can irritate skin or cause allergic reactions. To fight odor and wetness naturally, dust your skin with baking soda or cornstarch. Try wiping underarms with a cotton ball soaked in witch hazel, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. These liquids change the skin's pH, so odor-causing bacteria won't grow there. For an herbal solution, dab skin with tea tree, peppermint, pine or lavender essential oil. These oils kill bacteria naturally and leave skin smelling fresh. If pure essential oil is too harsh for you, dilute a few drops in some water before applying. Never apply these essential oils to the skin of a child or baby without first consulting your pediatrician.

Eat Healthy, Nix Odor

Certain foods and drinks clean your body from the inside out. Leafy green vegetables -- such as kale, spinach and chard -- are packed with odor-fighting chlorophyll. Opt for white fish over red meat; your body produces odors as it breaks down meat proteins -- a process that happens less with fish such as cod, tilapia and halibut. Lemons, oranges and other citrus fruits are powerful odor fighters, too -- they flush out toxins that might cause bad smells. Wheatgrass juice, usually available in health food stores, may also knock out odor. The strong taste bothers some people, though, so start with 2 tablespoons of wheatgrass juice mixed with 3/4 cup of water.

DIY Deodorant

If regular deodorant doesn't do the trick, try making your own. It's usually cheaper to make deodorant than it is to buy it. As a bonus, you can control the scent and strength of fragrance in your recipe. For normal skin, combine 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup cornstarch in a small bowl. For sensitive skin, use 1/8 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of cornstarch. Mix in up to 10 drops of essential oil, if desired. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and blend well. Spoon the mixture into a container with a lid. If you have an empty stick-deodorant container, you can use it for your mixture. Let your deodorant firm up for about a day before using it.