Treatments for Smelly Armpits

Body odor is a common issue, especially when dealing with disorders such as hyperhidrosis, hormonal changes like the ones occurring in puberty or a lack of hygiene. One of the most common places for body odor to develop is in the armpits, where bacteria interacts with proteins in your sweat to produce byproducts that provides the distinct scent of bad body odor. Many approaches can help mask or prevent foul-smelling armpits from developing.


Deodorant is one of the simplest ways to help curb body odor in your armpits. Most deodorants include a scent which can help mask the smell of body odor. Deodorants also work by making the skin more acidic, which creates an environment that is less hospitable to the bacteria that react with your sweat to cause body odor.

OTC Antiperspirant

Many over-the-counter, or OTC, antiperspirants are available to help manage problems with body odor. Antiperspirants use active ingredients like aluminum chlorohydrate or aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex GLY to block sweat glands from producing sweat, reducing the amount of material available for bacteria to consume and create odor.

Prescription Antiperspirant

When over-the-counter products are not enough, your doctor can prescribe prescription antiperspirants containing aluminum chloride. Like OTC versions of the product, prescription antiperspirants temporarily block sweat glands, reducing the amount of sweat on the surface for bacteria. University of Maryland Medical Center notes that prescription antiperspirants are usually applied at night before bed to help the product be more effective 1.


Proper hygiene can go a long way to help treat problems with smelly armpits. Showering everyday using soap in the armpits helps remove the proteins bacteria feast on in your sweat, as well as reduce the amount of bacteria on the skin. If you regularly sweat, you can periodically wash just your armpits during the day with a damp washcloth.


Certain foods in your diet can make the sweat in your armpits stink more than other foods. Avoiding these foods may help manage the body odor problem. Examples of foods that may affect body odor include onions and garlic. Still other foods and drinks may increase your sweating, including spicy foods, alcohol and hot drinks.


Wearing clothing that breathes, such as those made from cotton and natural fibers instead of synthetic materials, may also help you keep odor under control. Natural materials are more likely to allow the skin to breathe, reducing the amount of sweat produced due to overheating. To reduce problems with sweat while exercising, choose high-tech materials that wick sweat and moisture away from the body.