9 Habits Keeping Underarms From Smelling Great

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I’m admittedly a little bit wary when it comes to the topic of preventing body odor. While I do like the idea of my body smelling great all day, I’m also really into the natural health scene, and these two things don’t always go hand in hand. (See my very contradictory resume title: Maria Cassano, Daily-Showerer and Self-Proclaimed Hippie.)

Recently, I've seen an uptick in people's search concerns regarding body odor remedies and stopping underarm sweat left and right, but what most people fail to remember is that sweating is a completely natural function. Not only does it help to regulate body temperature, cleanse pores, and kill certain viruses that are temperature-sensitive, but research also shows that sweat is an essential detoxification function. It helps to remove harmful toxins and metals from the body, and chemical-laden antiperspirants and deodorants aren’t just stopping those natural functions — they may be making underarm sweat smell worse.

However, there is a difference between sweat and body odor. Contrary to popular belief, sweat doesn’t necessarily have to smell, and certain habits have a tendency to make your sweat smell really bad, while other habits create a healthy underarm environment where your body can detox freely without much odor at all. Check out these top habits that make sweat smell way worse.

1. Stop Skipping The Light Exfoliation — Dead Sea Salt & Cooling Cucumber Detoxify Area

Organic Dead Sea Salt Exfoliating Body Scrub, $23, Amazon

On areas like your feet and your underarms, excess dead skin can build up and feed the bacteria in your sweat. A light exfoliant, like this organic Dead Sea salt exfoliating body scrub, could just make all the difference. It’s made with mineral-rich Dead Sea salts and healthy oils that moisturize and soothe while they buff away old skin.

2. If You’re Missing Key Nutrients Like Magnesium, Try A Topical Application

Swanson Dr. Barbara Hendel's Magnesium Oil, $9, Amazon

Body odor is a telltale sign that you’re low in certain minerals, specifically magnesium. More than 80 percent of American adults are deficient, and while foods like vegetables, nuts, and fish are great sources, an easier option might be a high-quality magnesium oil, like Swanson Dr. Barbara Hendel's magnesium oil. It’s made from all natural sea brine, sprays on easily, promotes great skin, and your body absorbs exactly as much as it needs.

3. If You’re Too Harsh On Your Skin Flora, Restore It With A Probiotic Wash

iClean Every Inch Probiotic Body Wash, $18, Amazon

The surface of your skin is populated with tons of little microbes. Some are good, and some are bad, but when you wipe them all out with harsh antibacterial soaps, the good ones stay gone, and the bad (odor-causing) ones grow back stronger than ever. If you replenish the good microbes with something like iClean Every Inch probiotic body wash, your skin will stay fresh entirely on its own. This one’s made with all natural ingredients and tons of great bacterial strands that promote skin health, fight odor, and keep you feeling cleaner for much longer.

4. If You Frequently Wear Synthetic Fibers, Swap Them For Natural Ones

tasc Performance Women's V-Neck Tee (XS-XL), $20-$34, Amazon

Synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon trap the bacteria from sweat, making smells worse, while natural fabrics promote evaporation. If you’re starting your day off with errands or a workout, reach for something naturally based, like this Tasc performance V-neck tee. It’s made primarily with bamboo and cotton — a body-friendly combination of materials that’s super lightweight, moisture-wicking, and soft.

5. Instead Of Using Antiperspirant, Try Natural Deodorant

Organic Fields Of Heather Natural Deodorant, $4, Amazon

While your first instinct might be to reach for the antiperspirant, they’ve been shown to alter the beneficial bacteria on your underarms, as well as block your body’s natural detoxification methods using aluminum, ultimately making your sweat smell worse. My go-to deodorant is Organic Fields Of Heather natural deodorant, because it’s got all natural and safe ingredients that help me to detox without any unwanted smells. It goes on without residue, smells great, and keeps me fresh all day.

6. If You're Not Helping Your Body Detox, Work A Salt Soak Into Your Routine

San Francisco Salt Company Detox Soak Bath Salts, $12, Amazon

The more you help your body to remove excess toxins, the less those toxins will come out in your sweat. Sleep, exercise, antioxidant-rich foods, and sunbathing are all great ways to detox, but my favorite method is a super relaxing mineral salt bath. San Francisco Salt Company's detox soak bath salts are an awesome option because they contain only healthy and natural ingredients that pull toxins right out of your body — and replace your essential minerals — while you lower your stress levels in the bathtub.

7. If You're Under Too Much Stress, Give Yourself A Break

If your stress levels are particularly high lately, it might have a direct effect on the way your body smells. When you’re worrying and fretting, the apocrine glands under your arms are way more active, leading to sweat that smells significantly worse. Meditation, extra sleep, and a cup of tea are my go-to de-stressing activities, but I’ve also heard great things about binge-watching puppy GIFs.

8. Instead Of Relying Solely On A Diet High In Processed Foods, Work In Some Fresh Meals

Eating Clean, $15, Amazon

Body odor can be a huge indication that your diet might not be working for you. Sweat is meant to remove toxins from your body, and when your body is filled with toxic foods (specifically sugar and highly processed things), sweat may have a particularly strong smell. This Eating Clean book features hundreds of recipes that use all natural, fresh, and healthy ingredients that help you to detox your body and improve your health. One reviewer says, “If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would. The Eating Clean Program transformed my life.”

9. Don't Let Yourself Be Constantly Dehydrated — Drink More Water

If you’re not getting enough water every day, odds are your skin is dry and your filtering organs aren’t working as efficiently as they should. That means that bacteria can flourish in the underarm area, and toxins can’t move out of the body as easily as if you were well-hydrated. I carry a water bottle around with me everywhere I go, so it’s always within reach, and I end up subconsciously drinking way more water throughout the day.

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