How to stay fragrant all summer long

We may not get wonderful summers year in year out here in the UK, but even our warmer weather can cause problems where personal hygiene is concerned. That’s because we sweat in response to high temperatures – it’s the body’s natural cooling mechanism.

But when bacteria on your skin break down the acids in your sweat, it causes an unpleasant smell – in other words, body odour (bromhidrosis). According to the NHS, men are more likely to have body odour because they tend to sweat more than women. And if you’re overweight, if you take certain types of medication (such as antidepressants) or if you eat a lot of spicy foods or drink alcohol, it can make body odour worse.

Thankfully there are lots of things you can do to keep body odour under control. For starters, try the following tips from the NHS:

  • Take a warm bath or shower twice a day when it’s hot if you need to, and once a day at other times – this helps kill the bacteria on your skin.
  • Wash your armpits thoroughly using an antibacterial soap.
  • Shave your armpits regularly as it allows sweat to evaporate quicker and gives bacteria less time to break it down.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes made from natural fibres such as cotton, silk or wool, as these let your skin breathe (again this means your sweat will evaporate quicker).
  • Wear clean clothes – wash them regularly.
  • Keep your feet fresh too by changing your socks or tights at least once a day, and not wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row (leave each pair for at least 24 hours to dry out).
  • Limit the amount of spicy foods you eat such as curry or garlic, as they can make your sweat smell (evidence also suggests eating a lot of red meat tends to make body odour worse).
  • Use an antiperspirant rather than a deodorant, as antiperspirants contain an ingredient called aluminium chloride that reduces the amount of sweat your body produces (if the product you’re using isn’t effective, ask your Careway pharmacist about stronger antiperspirants that contain higher levels of aluminium chloride). Your pharmacist can also recommend other products that you may also find useful, such as armpit sweat shields and deodorising insoles.

Avoid dehydration

Meanwhile if you sweat a lot during hot weather – including when you exercise – you may be at risk of becoming hydrated. To make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids. How much should you drink? That’s a good question, says the NHS, since different people sweat at different rates. Just drink more than you would normally (six to eight cups or glasses of fluid a day is the usual amount you need, according to the Eatwell Guide).

Water, lower-fat milks and lower-sugar or sugar-free drinks including tea and coffee all count, says the guide. Fruit juice and smoothies also count towards your fluid consumption, but limit them to a combined total of 150ml per day because of the sugar they contain.

Another way to keep up your water intake is to eat plenty of salads and fresh fruit. Go for foods with a high percentage of water, such as cucumber, celery, watermelon, strawberries, green peppers, lettuce, spinach, grapefruit, broccoli, tomatoes, radishes and star fruit.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.