Visualise this scenario that played out in Lagos: Tade Adeboye, a bank worker, had just closed for the day and was in urgent need to get home. Usually, to save money, he takes the long blue or red buses operated by franchisees of the Lagos State government. On getting to the BRT terminal at CMS, he met a long queue of many other home-bound commuters.
He joined the queue.
That day had been particularly hot – no thanks to the fierce sun that left many people bathed with sweat. The perspiration surfaced on the forehead, cheeks and ran in rivulets down many faces. It was a day the well-dressed couldn’t conceal the massive sweat marks on their sophisticated shirts. Everyone had the look that they wished they could plunge into an ice bath to cool off. After standing on the queue for about 20 minutes and no BRT bus was in sight, suddenly he heard the bus assistant of the popular yellow commuter buses Lagos is known for, screaming in a high-pitch voice: “Ojuelegba! Ojuelgba!” Without thinking twice Tade jumped into the bus and right beside him was a beautiful girl.
But as soon as he settled in, his nostrils caught a whiff of a stenchl. He looked at the lady sitting next to him she was very pretty and so the smell couldn’t be from her, he thought to himself.
As the journey progressed the stench became stronger, Tade knew instantly it was coming from the beautiful lady sitting beside him. For minutes he struggled with the smell but soon he couldn’t take it any longer and was about puking when he screamed at the conductor that he wanted to alight.
The Danfo stopped at the next stop, Tade jumped out of the bus without getting to his destination. He took a deep breath of fresh air and quickly forgot about the loss he incurred from the aborted trip home.
Body odour occurs when an unpleasant smell produced by bacteria on the skin breaks down the acids in sweat. The medical term for this is bromhidrosis.
Tomi Alegbe, a medical practitioner, explained in a chat with Sunday Sun that usually body odour becomes pronounced when at puberty appropriate measures are not taken to combat it.
“Although sweat is odourless, generally when the salt level in the sweat is too high for the bacteria present to break down that is when the odour comes about.
It is the rapid multiplication of bacteria in the presence of sweat and their breaking down of sweat into acids that eventually causes the unpleasant smell,” Alegbe said.
She also explained that body odour is peculiar to individuals that is why some people can be easily identified with their body odour. This happens mostly with animals like dogs and goats. For human beings, body odour can be influenced by diet, gender, health status and medication
Contrary to what many believe that body odour only comes from the armpit, the foul smell can come from anywhere there are sebaceous (oil) and sweat glands, which include the scalp, genitals, feet, groin, belly button, and even nipples.
Ordinarily, body odour is not hereditary, but some family members smell alike because they are on the same diet. Below are some of the reasons, a person may have body odour.
Long practice of eating spicy foods
Spicy foods like garlic, curry or any other spices release sulfur in gases when the body metabolic process breaks down the food material. While this happens, the smelly gases are then released through the person’s pores. To avoid this kind of smell drink plenty water and take a shower after you have eaten and also use deodorant.
The body treats alcohol as toxic and so it tends to break it down and excrete it as quickly as possible. According to Readers Digest, most of the alcohol is metabolized in the liver and excreted from the body in urine. But if you drink more than the liver can process or if the liver is damaged, some will be excreted via breath and sweat and that leads to foul body odour.
To avoid smelling like alcohol, try drinking at a slower pace, or alternating a glass of water or other nonalcoholic beverage between each alcoholic drink. Also, putting on fresh clothes and having a long soapy shower after drinking helps too.
The body has different ways of reacting to stress and the smelliest of sweat happens when you are under stress.
Sweat is usually odourless but when it mixes with the bacteria that normally live on the skin, the bacteria then break down the components of the sweat and thereby produce metabolites that give off the pungent body odour.
Genetic make-up is also believed to play a role in a person having offensive body odour.
Generally, odour may be a way the body gives an advance warning of it state of health. If you notice that that your body smell has changed lately, then go check it up.
Bacterial overgrowth of the skin can also lead to body odour as there are more bacteria to attack the sweat your body produces.
Keep your skin clean by bathing regularly, wear breathable fabrics, to allow your skin stay cool and less sweaty; eat foods that promote the growth of good bacteria and rein in bad bacteria.
There are medications that affect the scent of the body. Therefore, if you have noticed a smell coming out of your body then check your medicine cabinet for the answers. You can speak to your doctor to find out if any medicine you are using has any side effects that affect your body scent.
There is a high probability that being overweight may make a person have a worse case of body odour. For an overweight person, additional exertion required for all tasks produce a resultant effect that increases the level of sweating. Also, sweat may be stuck in the skin fold.
When this happens that side of the skin won’t get enough air and this would give bacteria a chance to thrive and cause body odour.
With additional material from Readers Digest.