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Body Odor; What Causes It and How to Manage It.

People tweak
Photo credit: Free Great Picture

You may be the most articulate executive, a rock star at work or the most seasoned entrepreneur, your personal brand is being reshaped every day, with every interaction.  People note what you say, how you think and what you do to put you into a certain quality group. How do you want to be positioned?
“He’s the type you can trust.” “She’s passionate about her business and you can trust her commits.” “They are a class act and are certain winners in the market.” You are also judged through your NVC, or non- verbal communication. Your body language will say a lot about you, in other words. Some communication experts claim that body language has a 70% influence factor on how people judge you.
Body language. How you animate your message through gestures. How you pique interest of others in you through your expressions. How you ease into others’ space to assume control. This is mastery at work! Like a much adored concert pianist captivating a spellbound audience. It’s like watching the master of Chinese brushing painting dominating the rice paper to force life into the once white space. Or near white, if you are a perfectionist.
You are being watched, both consciously and subconsciously. Those in your presence are desperately trying to put you in a slot. Charming! Sharp! Professional! They, or at least their brain is trying to make some sense out of being with you.
The moment you are mingling with folks; you are on stage. You are giving a performance. You are playing the best you. Those in your company are watching you, intently at least at the subconscious level. They are trying to figure you out. They are feeling you over with their sense of empathy. Their mirror neurons are trying to extract a sense of how you are feeling. Many parts of their brain are lighted up with information hurtling with F1 speed through the neural pathway. A major decision is being made. They are deciding as you rattle on. They will conclude soon.
Mind you, they may be having a positive visual experience but there is an overriding feedback which is critical to their judgement. How you smell.
It is not just your stance, gestures and volume that is NVC, how you smell is body language too. Think about it. All your hype, all your spins and all your practiced presentations will go to, as the British say, ‘naught’ if you smell unfriendly. Funny. A little bit off. Like a smoked duck, or whatever.
Body odor is a statement. It is a brand promise.
I don’t take care of myself well, let me take care of …
Unless You Were Thoroughly Sterilized
You smell since day One. Mind you, everybody has body odor or more correctly, scent. You were born with a distinctive scent that only, probably, your mother and a sniffer dog can differentiate. Your scent is your invisible finger print. Some say that it adds to your sexiness. You may arouse some people with your sexy scent. When you overstep the legal boundary of what you can do with your sexiness, your scent will also help trained police dogs track you. It is a blessing, but your scent can also be a problem and the solution.
The caveat is; do not let your unique scent be smothered by an offensive smell. The one that drives people to give you more space when you engage. The one that gives people second thoughts about calling you for a karaoke session or, the one that takes the mate out of ‘intimate.’ Unchecked, you may find that your social life starts to shrink and shrivel.
You know it when people take deep breaths as they are approaching you or as they are walking from you. Conversations are shortened as if the message is churned through People look uncomfortable talking with you and they will, because they are starving their brain of oxygen. The most obvious is when the one approaching you has a dildo-like white thing that smells menthol stuffed in one of his nostril.
Bromhidrosis or BO is a setback. Professionally, BO can put a bump along your track to success. Stealthily, people are not willing to work with you. With many HR blogs teaching “How to address Body Odor in the workplace,’ it is clear that:
1.   It’s a recognized HR problem
2.   People must have complained
3.   Corrective actions will be taken
Better do it to yourself before others do it to you. Stop being bullied by BO. Bring the crowd back. Learn how to take body odor out of your personal brand.
Did You Do Yourself a Flavor?
How does a person get to become such an unpopular flavor? Be careful who you are asking. Avoid the experts. There are tons of text to bore you. If you must ask, ask the one who researched enough for a blog post.
The simple answer; because we take our body for granted. (I am going to go ‘we’ so as not to offend you.) We do not try to understand how to maintain our body. We read maintenance manuals for gadgets and machines that we buy, we must be diligent to know enough of the most complex and beautiful machine ever created. Through the force feed process of our education system, we probably know a bit. For the most part, we plead ignorance when there is a major breakdown. We take whatever we are given for granted. Maybe because we are not the makers. You know I am talking about our body. It is truly a created marvel.
Our body is made with self-monitoring and self-healing systems for many conditions. However, we have to complement where the built-in systems are lacking. Such as the external conditions. One of the reasons we smell is because dead micro things are decaying on the surface of our bodies. We need to do housekeeping for that waste. Let’s look at the buildup events.
Photo credit: Free Great Picture

Under stress, and with heat built up, our body discharges water to cool us down. This is what we call sweating. Marvelous! We do not have to press a button, the auto sensor works! The sweat is discharged through two sets of sweat glands. The ecrrine and the apocrine sweat glands. The ecrrine sweat glands have been acquitted by researchers of any wrong doing as far as body odor is concerned. They merely release clear, odorless water to cool you down. They do what they are programmed to do.
Researchers have charged the apocrine glands as the instigators and the flora or bacteria which naturally multiply on our body as the culprits. This is the modus operandi of the criminals. The instigators, the apocrine glands which reside at your hair follicles will discharge sweat, like the ecrrine glands, but also nutrients for the bacteria. Together with cooling water, the apocrine glands also discharge fatty acids and proteins. The carbohydrates which bind the protein contain sugars.  Bacteria will break down the sugar for energy. The by- product of the breaking down process is the offensive body odor.
We are also part of the problem, if we do not bathe regularly enough. Depending on the climate, we should bathe at least twice a day. During warmer days, we probably need to wash up at least three times a day. We have to make that decision based on situations. May be on that day we have to climb the roof twice under the hot sun. There may be an air flow problem in the office and the humidity had gone mad.  Bacteria like the dark and damp. They will, shamelessly, engage in the multiplication madness in dark sweaty places like under your armpits, especially with the dark and robust overhanging bush, our underarm hair. They also like the joints and creases at your groin area and the flourishing bush at our pubic area. The message is, wash and wash well to get rid of the nutritious sweat for the bacteria and also to dislodge the bacteria.
Get Rid of the Dead
Washing well also rid our body of dead skin cells, which like leaves in the autumn, pile up on our body.  Bacteria will also go about breaking down these dead cells and again the process results in the release of unpleasant odor. As we go about our business in the day, pollutants and other residues might also cling to our body. These will have their own odors. Researchers of malodors also identify spicy and pungent foods such as the spices used in curry and to an extent, garlic as potential catalysts for body odor. Significant consumption of alcohol, caffeine and tobacco has also been listed as a generator of body odor. We are advised to choose the juicy over the spicy. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Drink 6 -8 large glasses of clean water every day. Again, bacteria thrive in the dark as well as damp. Dry your body, pay attention to the dark recesses. If you need help to stay dry, you can use a bit of talcum powder. Corn starch has also been suggested.
Don’t get Uptight with Undies
It is unlikely that we will not sweat bit in the course of the day. However, the trick is not to let our body stay damp. Wearing body hugging inner and under gears will restrict ventilation as will the wearing of clothing made with synthetic material such as polyester. With no ventilation, your body will stay wet. The trapped heat will extract more sweat. Wear clothing of natural materials such as cotton and wool. However, our clothing must be changed every day. Keeping to the advice of wearing natural fiber clothes, but not keeping them clean will expedite the breeding of bacteria, and the decomposition of the dead cells and other residues that are stuck to the clothing. Wash our soiled clothes daily and thoroughly to remove all bacteria and other unwanted pollutants.
Do it Right, Do it at Night
Contrary to conventional wisdom, researchers recommend that it is more effective to apply antiperspirants just before you sleep at night instead of in the day time. Aluminum chloride, an ingredient in most antiperspirants will work while you sleep to reduce sweating the next day. If required, you may use deodorants to mask a slight sweat odor in the day. If you have persistent odor despite washing with soap, you can try using baking soda solution to address the stubborn areas.
 Get from Smell to Swell
1.   Bathe regularly and clean your body well. Remove the sweat, fatty acids, bacteria, dead skin cells and other residues and pollutants. Use anti-bacterial soap and anti-bacterial shampoo. Pay special attention to the areas which are conducive for bacteria multiplication such as the armpits and groin areas. Trim your bushes, whether it is the armpit hair or the pubic hair. Don’t let your pubic hair grow to the extent you need a hair stylist.
2.   Keep your body dry. Bacteria cannot thrive on a dry body. Use talcum powder if needed but keep your body dry. Remember bacteria thrive in the dark and damp.
People Tweak
Photo credit: Free Great Picture

3.   Ensure you have adequate ventilation from your clothing. Body hugging inner and underwear are no-noes, as well as clothing made of synthetic material such as polyester.
4.   Wear only clean clothing. Change every day and wash your clothes regularly with a strong anti-bacterial detergent.
5.   Choose the juicy over the spicy. Limit your consumption of spicy and pungent foods such as curry. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. You cannot go wrong with this advice.
6.   Limit your consumption of alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. Drink plenty of clean water daily.
7.   If you need to, apply antiperspirant before you sleep. Aluminum chloride will reduce sweating the next day. If you need to, you can use deodorants to mask some body odor.
Reclaim Your Sexy
This is not an exhaustive dissertation to treating body odor. However, the advice is sufficient for avoidable BO. There are people who suffer excessive sweating and of TMAU (Trimethylaminuria), a condition where their body odor has the fishy and some even said, fecal odor.  These people need a health professional’s attention as do those who suffer from BO due to infections, sicknesses and stress. Hormonal changes can also cause body odor. If there are hormonal disorders, consulting a health care professional would be the wiser option.  There is a reason why it is a rare case where kids suffer from body odor. Apocrine glands develop with puberty.
You cannot get rid of body odor because of active apocrine glands and bacteria. However, you can manage the situation.
You are smart and have worked hard to get where you are. Don’t let BO bury your potential nor mess with your fun life. Reclaim your natural unique and sexy scent. Bring back the crowd and admirers.

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