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Author Topic: How can we rid ourselves of the bacteria that causes body odour?  (Read 5121 times)

Simone Howarth

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Simone Howarth asked the Naked Scientists:

How can we rid ourselves of the bacteria that cause body odour?


What do you think?


Offline Don_1

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It would be foolish to rid our bodies of the bacteria which live on and in it. They are, for the most part, performing useful or even essential tasks to keep us healthy. We need them as much as they need us.

BO can be a problem for some unfortunate people. Trying to ‘cover it up’ with strong scented anti-perspirants, colognes and perfumes can cause the situation to worsen. The only solution for most people is plain and simple soap and clean water, in copious amounts if you suffer badly from this social problem.

You can get chlorhexidine from a pharmacist, which will kill the bacteria which cause BO if you suffer extremely. There are also clinical treatments to remove some sweat glands and I think Botox can also be used as a treatment for excessive sweating.


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That's right - soap and water. What the bacteria responsible for BO are doing is breaking down components in fresh sweat that are relatively odourless and forming butyrates that are much stronger. I remember years ago butyrates prepared in the lab smelling just like stale sweat.

Offline chris

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This thread explains the basis of body odour and also explains how antiperspirants work:

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