How Can You Make Your Sweat Smell Better?

Hey Heather,

This is gross, but I need help. Whenever I sweat, it smells really bad. I use deodorant and it still smells. I can smell my own BO so I know that’s a problem. My friends don’t seem to smell that bad when they sweat. I don’t know why my sweat smells the worst and I don’t know what to do! Can I make sweat smell better? Please help.

sweaty gif

All of the deodorant in the world can’t keep sweat away forever, so if you can’t beat it completely, maybe you can at least make it a little bit… right? Uh, maybe. Sweat is smelly, and it’s a fact that we’ve learned to live and deal with. Unfortunately, it’s worse for some than others, and it can sometimes seem like all of the deodorant in the world can’t stop the body odor. So, is it possible to make your sweat smell better? I wasn’t sure, so I reached out to my friend Dr. Sherry Ross – for advice. She’s from the site HelloFlo (a monthly period package you need in your life ASAP), and she has some ideas that might help you, and anyone else in this situation, out.

Dr. Ross said, “The common phrase, ‘You are what you eat’ works for just about everything body related. It’s a clear connection in the case of eating asparagus smellier urine – within 15 minutes, your urine will have a distinct odor. When you take vitamins it’s a similar event, your urine turns bright green or yellow. After eating a beet salad, the next morning your urine and stool is dark red. If you smoke, the nicotine can be detected in every bodily fluid. Sweat and body odor works the same way.

She continued, “Body odor (BO) is first noticed during puberty between the ages of 11 to 16 years. Certain foods and spices, being overweight, and some medical conditions such as diabetes make you more prone to BO. Sweat generally doesn’t have an odor unless certain bacteria take over and create an unpleasant smell. The sweat glands in your armpit and feet are usually the culprit of nasty BO.” So, how can you make things better? Dr. Ross points out that “underarm deodorants block the sweat gland from producing sweat – less sweat usually means you’re less likely to have an odor.” Deodorant is obviously a great place to start, but there are some other things you can keep in mind as well:

According to Dr. Ross, here are some “steps you can take to control body odor:” 
1. Shower daily using warm water and soap to remove bad smelling bacteria on your skin. Wear clean shirts, socks and shoes.
2. Avoid certain foods that are known BO offenders. These include garlic, curry, onions, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and diets high in red meat.
3. Eat the right foods. Smell good foods include fresh fruits (especially pineapple!), fruit juices, vegetables, whole grains, Greek yogurt and drink plenty of water.
5. Avoid deodorants that use aluminum chloride.

Got it? Try these tips, and your sweat should get a little bit better. I also personally recommend maybe trying a new deodorant. You might need something stronger, maybe even prescription. But honestly, at the end of the day, remember these two things: one, everyone has smelled grossly sweaty at some point in their lives, and two, it’s almost the end of the summer – sweat won’t be as big of a problem soon!

What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at You can also reach our buddies at HelloFlo with questions about your body or health. Just ask Dr. Flo at HelloFlo!


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