Why Do I Have Smelly Armpits?

Understanding the Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

Smelly armpits, also known as body odor (BO) or bromhidrosis, can be a common yet embarrassing issue. It occurs when sweat interacts with bacteria on the skin. Knowing the causes, treatments, and prevention methods can help manage this condition effectively.

Causes of Smelly Armpits

Sweat glands play a crucial role in regulating body temperature. There are two types of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine.

  • Eccrine Glands: Located all over the body, these glands release sweat directly onto the skin’s surface to cool you down. The sweat from eccrine glands is generally odorless until bacteria start breaking it down.
  • Apocrine Glands: Found in areas with many hair follicles, such as the armpits and groin, these glands release sweat into hair follicles. This sweat is initially odorless but can develop a strong smell when it comes into contact with skin bacteria. Apocrine glands become active during puberty, which is why body odor typically starts then.

Managing and Treating Smelly Armpits

The approach to managing body odor depends on its severity and underlying causes. Here are some effective methods:

Hygiene Practices

  • Daily Hygiene: Regular showers with soap can remove sweat and bacteria, especially after physical activities.
  • Effective Products: Do not use antiperspirants to reduce sweat by temporarily blocking pores. These are temporary solutions, and while many websites recommend them, the downsides are significant. Antiperspirants can sometimes cause skin irritation, and blocking sweat glands can lead to potential health concerns. Additionally, they often contain aluminum compounds, which have been a topic of debate regarding long-term health effects. Instead, use Specialized products, like pH-balanced scrubs which contain no harsh chemicals.

Specialized Products

  • Exfoliating Scrubs: Products like the MUDMASKY Saved by the Scrub for Underarms (Sold on Amazon) can help by gently exfoliating the skin, removing dead cells and reducing the buildup of bacteria that cause odor. Regular use can leave your underarms feeling fresher and cleaner.
  • Exfoliating Brushes: The MUDMASKY Armpit Exfoliating Brush is designed to complement exfoliating scrubs, ensuring a deeper clean and more effective removal of bacteria. Using this brush can enhance the effectiveness of your hygiene routine.

Medical Treatments

  • Prescription Solutions: If over-the-counter products aren’t effective, consult a doctor for prescription-strength antiperspirants or deodorants.
  • Botox Injections: For severe cases, Botox injections can reduce sweating by blocking nerve signals to sweat glands. This treatment is temporary and needs to be repeated every few months.

Preventing Smelly Armpits

Preventing body odor involves a combination of good hygiene and lifestyle choices:

  • Showering Regularly: Daily showers with soap are essential, especially after sweating.
  • Wearing Breathable Fabrics: Opt for loose, breathable materials like cotton to stay cool and reduce sweat.
  • Hair Removal: Shaving or waxing armpits can make cleaning easier and reduce odor.
  • Stress Management: Reducing stress can help manage stress-related sweating.

When to See a Doctor

If over-the-counter products don’t alleviate your body odor, it’s advisable to see a doctor. They can rule out underlying conditions and suggest stronger treatments.


Body odor is a common issue resulting from the interaction between sweat and skin bacteria. While it can be uncomfortable, various treatments and preventive measures can help manage it effectively. By maintaining good hygiene, using appropriate products, and consulting a doctor when necessary, you can keep body odor under control.

Would you like to learn more about Armpits? See 10 most asked questions about Armpits here.

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