Odor? Oh, No

"B.O." may seem like an acronym that's been around as long as scent itself, but it was actually only invented in 1919 by an advertising company trying to sell Odo-Ro-No deodorant to women [source: Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media]. One ad began: "Remember that wonderful man you met? The way he danced? And the telephone number he asked for and never used!" It intimated that the woman's body odor was why the suitor never called back and encouraged her to take the "armhole odor test." Doing so, she would realize why "women of taste and refinement insist on a deodorant that checks perspiration and keeps the underarm dry as well as sweet."

Methods of Dealing With Body Odor

Most body odor can be banished with simple hygiene techniques.

Scientists postulate that one reason our unpleasant smells come from hair-packed areas on our bodies is because at one time, just like animals, humans used scent to broadcast the pheromones in our sweat to attract mates. When that scent got tangled in our hair, it stuck around longer.

Fortunately, we now use a host of other scents to make ourselves appealing to the opposite sex, but that doesn't mean odors still don't get trapped in our body hair. So one simple solution to persistent B.O. is to trim the hair in odor-producing regions like the underarms and groin.

Another is bathing. Because it takes bacteria about an hour to digest the proteins in our apocrine sweat, the sooner we wash it away, the less chance there will be for mini-stink factories to begin churning out their exhaust. In addition to bathing our bodies, sweaty clothes should be washed frequently as well.

Eliminating the odor-producing foods mentioned in the previous section can help, as can trying any of the following natural remedies:

  • Boric Acid -- It might sound like something you wouldn't want anywhere near your body, but it is actually a weak acid that can help eliminate underarm odor when dusted in that area.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar, Alcohol, Witch Hazel -- Some people have had success swabbing the underarms with these inexpensive and readily available solutions.
  • Baking Soda -- It works in your refrigerator to absorb odors and can do the same when dusted on problem areas on your body.
  • Rosemary Oil -- Diluting 8 to 10 drops in an ounce of water and then applying under the arms may also be effective.
  • Chlorophyll -- Many natural medicine practitioners claim that taking this plant material internally in pill form can reduce your external whiffiness.

If you're more inclined to turn to the pharmacy than the natural market for cures, then read on to find out more about deodorants and antiperspirants.