Sorry to burst your bubble, but we all smell. Every single one of us. Even though there's not much we can do about our natural scents (thanks, genetics!), there are some simple ways to freshen up even the smelliest parts of your body.
The Best Solutions for Common Stenches
Underarms: Responsible for the majority of a person's body odor.
Rx: Use a hardworking deodorant. Shaving/waxing helps too, since hair catches sweat and increases warmth, encouraging bacterial growth.
Belly Button: ...and any area where skin touches skin (a.k.a. skin folds) increases the potential for bacterial growth and odor.
Rx: Wiggle a soapy washcloth in there while you shower, or clean with H2O + a cotton swab. As for other skin fold areas, wash and dry every nook and cranny (under breasts, in belly rolls).
Groin: The triggers: lots of sweat glands, plus normal vaginal odor, usually caused by healthy lactobacillus bacteria inside the vagina.
Rx: There's no need to "fix" normal vaginal odor (we're not supposed to smell like daisies down there), but for sweat-related funkiness, sprinkle with talc-free powder to keep the area drier, says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, an ob-gyn and professor at Yale School of Medicine. And use only unscented soap to avoid irritation that can lead to infection (and odor).
Feet: A naturally sweaty area that breeds bacteria.
Rx: Wear socks made of cotton or a wicking fiber, says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD. Treat any calluses; they host bacteria that cause that cheesy odor. Also, try a soak: Add 1 Tbsp bleach to a bucket of lukewarm water. Bacteria, gone!
Meet Your New Favorite Deodorant
Our staff tested dozens. These not only work — they smell so unexpectedly delicious, you can swap them in for perfume.
Jason Pure Natural Deodorant Stick in Apricot: This all-natural pick has a distinct apricot aroma without being overpoweringly sweet. ($8, drugstores)
Secret Outlast Clear Gel in Clean Lavender: More "clean" than "lavender," this gel antiperspirant has a crisp, slightly sporty scent our testers loved. ($7, drugstores)
Ban Invisible Solid Antiperspirant Deodorant in Simply Clean: It has a surprisingly rich, sweet smell reminiscent of shea butter and coconut. ($3, drugstores)
Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant in Original Clean: Our tester loved the baby-powdery aroma. ($5.50, drugstores)
Kiss My Face Active Life Deodorant in Cucumber Green Tea: Refreshing scent, like a spa on a stick. ($6, amazon.com)
We Tried D.I.Y. Deodorant
Baking Soda: It has antimicrobial qualities, so some people use it to try to keep B.O.-generating bacteria at bay. (But don't put it on sensitive skin, because baking soda is a bit abrasive.)
Our tester says: "I used a makeup brush to dab the powder on. A little messy, but it controlled B.O. I went for a run and didn't feel more stinky than usual."
Lemon Juice: This acidic juice has proven antibacterial effects. (Note: To prevent stinging, avoid using on freshly shaved armpits.)
Our tester says: "Easy to use: I cut a lemon in half and rubbed it under my arms. Now I'm a total convert! I have zero odor — despite 70 minutes of walking a day."
Rubbing Alcohol: A potent killer of B.O.-causing bacteria.
Our tester says: "To use it, I filled a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and spritzed my underarms. My pits are still recovering. It worked for the smell, but it dried out my skin so much I itched all the time." For another tester, "It was a letdown. I was stinky 30 minutes into a Spinning class."
Coconut Oil: Coconut oil has some mild bacteria-fighting properties and a nice scent, so people often use it as a base for other, more effective DIY deodorizers.
Our tester says: "I mixed ¼ cup baking soda with ¼ cup cornstarch and 5 Tbsp solid coconut oil, put it in a jar, and applied it like a paste. Success! I did not smell at all, even during an intense workout. Plus, it left my skin soft."
This story originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.
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