Body odour is a common part of growing up age and one of the earliest signs of puberty. Due to several hormone changes, teens begin to sweat excessively as their sweat glands pump out more moisture.

Perspiration or sweat comes from sweat glands in your body. You have always had these glands in your body. Due to puberty, these glands not just become more active than before but start to secrete different chemicals in the sweat that gets a more pungent odour. You might notice this odour in your underarms due to underarm hair growth during puberty.

Factors that can affect body odour are:

How to get rid of body odour?

Although body odour is normal, it is also important to maintain a basic level of hygiene so that it does not make you unnecessarily anxious.

The best way to get rid of body odour is to bathe and shower daily using mild soap (hypoallergenic and pH-neutral preferred) and warm water. This will wash away the bacteria that may be contributing to the smells. Wear clean clothes, socks and underwear to help you feel clean. If you sweat a lot, try to wear airy clothes made from cotton or other natural materials to help absorb sweat more effectively. Change clothes if sweaty and take showers twice a day if needed. Shower especially after any game you play or exercise you do.

There may be a certain odour from the vagina as well when your hormones change during puberty, sometimes this odour is during part of your menstruation cycle. This too is normal. However, if the odour is foul smelling, accompanied by any discharge you must bring this to the attention of your parent/ adult and plan to visit a doctor. Do not use perfume or perfumed products in your private parts. If you are concerned about how your underarms smell, you can use a deodorant. Deodorants get rid of the sweat odour by covering it up. They come as sticks, roll-ons, gels and sprays. If you choose to use a deodorant, be sure to read the directions for use. Also, be mindful if it can lead to some skin sensitivity or allergies.

Some people also recommend removing underarm hair to reduce the pungent smell. You can opt to use a traditional razor with shaving cream or even use an electric razor, wax, laser etc. Any kind that works for you is fine. Take the help of an adult or an older sibling to help you in your choice.

You can also try limiting pungent foods like garlic, onion, and fish. These foods can increase body odour in some people.

When to talk to a doctor

Sometimes body odour can be caused by a medical condition. You can visit a general physician if you have excessive body odour that does not tone down, no matter what you do. They might help you determine the body odour causes and write down a medicated product.