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Dubai: A man came to the clinic of Sumi Thomas, specialist dermatologist, saying that he was in danger of losing his job because of his body odour.

Apparently his colleagues complained to the company HR, which asked him to correct the situation as it was affecting everyone's work.

According to the doctor, people with body odour cannot register how bad they smell. Research has shown that such people may be able to register the smell of garlic or curry, but not the smell coming from their armpits.

Men apparently are the bigger culprits as they sweat more than women. Scientists tested volunteers in a laboratory mock-up of a sweltering car. Men lost 250g of sweat per hour, 70g more than the women, according to the New Scientist.

Body odour is mainly because of sweat in the armpits, breasts or the genital areas, said Dr Thomas. Sweat itself does not smell, but it is a base for the bacteria on the skin. These bacteria break down the sweat into acids, which produces the terrible whiff that comes off out of a commuter holding onto a strap on the Metro, for instance.

Sweat glands

A skin clinic notes that one of the sweat glands, called Apocrine glands, are found mainly in the armpits and near the anus. Each one of us have about one million of these glands. These are really scent glands. The sweat that comes from them has a particular smell in each person, and probably includes ‘pheromone' scents that send messages to other people.

The obese and those who suffer from diabetes have more body odour because their immunity is lower, the doctor said.

It is not just bad hygiene, such as not showering daily or wearing unclean clothes that causes the problem. It could also be because of your genetic make up, said Dr Thomas.

Some other tips to reduce the smell include washing frequently to removes the bacteria.

Doctors said that if one sweats more that you need to shower two or more times daily. Try various anti-perspirants and deodorants as they have different ingredients and some may work better than others. Dr Thomas suggests wearing open-toed footwear in the summer time, if possible.

"Bad body odour impairs your quality of life," she said.

Prevent BO

  • Improve your hygiene
  • Regularly shave hair from armpits (specially the inner part) and genital area
  • Change clothes frequently if sweating excessively
  • Never wear yesterday's clothes as they will retain the smell of yesterday's sweat.
  • Use a deodorant, an anti-perspirant
  • Wash with antiseptic soaps
  • Eat less spices and garlic, onions
  • Do not drink alcohol