Does dry skin affect your odor?

By: Alia Hoyt
man scrubbing back with brush
Skin Problems Image Gallery The scaly look isn't really what you're going for. And is it making you smell, too? View more pictures in the skin problems gallery.
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Skin problems plague the best of us, from salesmen to supermodels. Dermatological issues run the gamut from complex conditions like psoriasis or eczema to garden variety dry or oily skin.

Many men with dry skin are also the unwilling bearers of another unpleasant condition: body odor. Guys itching to blame this unwelcome affliction on their dry skin should think again, however. Dermatologists insist that dry skin is rarely -- if ever -- a cause of body odor. Body odor sets up camp in moist, sweaty areas, like armpits or between the toes. Fortunately, the solution is often as simple as a visit to the dermatologist or drug store.


So, what gives? We're sure you prefer to be noticed for your smile, charm and devastating good looks, rather than the unpleasant body odor that precedes you. As annoying as it is, don't let odor freak you out too much, since most cases are easily treatable. Old-fashioned sweat isn't even really to blame for your predicament -- bacteria and yeast on the skin's surface are, according to Alan Menter, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

"Sweat is totally odor-free," insists Dr. Menter. "It's bacteria that live on the surface of the skin that produces the yeast that causes the odor."

More often than not, stepping up your hygiene is all that's necessary to keep the funk at bay. Showering at least once or twice a day with antibacterial soap can kill bacteria and yeast or prevent their growth on your skin's surface altogether. Just be sure to towel off thoroughly, because damp crevices are breeding grounds for bacteria.

If self-treatment and extra-extra strength deodorant haven't solved the issue, it's probably time to visit the dermatologist for something that packs a heavier punch. Prescriptions vary from powders with anti-yeast properties, high-strength deodorant or topical anti-sweat creams if the odor is concentrated in a specific area. Botox injections under the arms have also shown real results in severe cases. People with a fear of needles should be encouraged -- a topical cream containing Botox is in development, according to the experts at WebMD.

Now that you're smelling like roses (or something more manly), you might want to tackle that dry skin issue. Typically, skin that's overly dry appears reddened, itchy, flaky, bumpy, cracked or otherwise irritated. Many men need more than a tub of lotion to achieve the soft-as-a-baby's-bottom effect. For starters, ditch irritating bar soaps and scented lotions and detergents for gentler versions. Focus on hydrating problem areas that dry out easily, like shoulders, elbows, legs, knees and feet. Avoid hot showers or baths, as well as excessive exposure to sun, harsh elements, and low-humidity, climate-controlled environments. A dermatologist can diagnose and treat dry skin that's a result of more complex medical issues, such as psoriasis, hypothyroidism or eczema.


Lots More Information

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  • Jaret, Peter. "Men's Grooming: Skin Care For Your Body." WebMD. July 21, 2009. (Aug. 8, 2010).
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. "Dry Skin." Mayo Clinic. Nov. 26, 2008. (Aug. 8, 2010).
  • Menter, Alan, M.D. Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Baylor University Medical Center. Phone Interview Conducted by Alia Hoyt. Aug. 10, 2010.