Solutions for Underarm Odor for Women

Applying deodorant
Young woman applying deodorant (Image: DragonImages/iStock/Getty Images)

Underarm odor can also be more of a problem for some women than others. The odor comes from sweat produced by the apocrine glands that mixes with bacteria on the skin. As the bacteria ingest the sweat, their byproduct gives off the smell, causing body odor. Women prone to underarm odor have several options for relief, depending on the severity of the problem.

Use the Right Deodorant

Deodorant is one of the first lines of defense for women when it comes to body odor. Deodorants use fragrance as a way to cover up the smell left behind by bacteria when regularly applied to the armpits. Deodorant for women comes in a variety of fragrances, and many contain moisturizers to help keep the skin healthy and moist, as well as protect against damage from regular armpit shaving. If your have a sensitive underarm area, ask your doctor for recommendations for deodorant.

Antiperspirant Is Stronger

When deodorants are not enough to stop sweat, women can use antiperspirants, which are similar to deodorants and cover up the smell of body odor while also preventing sweat from accumulating in the first place. Active ingredients such as aluminium zirconium trichlorohydrex gly and aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly block or reduce the production of sweat when you apply the antiperspirant to your armpits. The less sweat on the skin, the less material bacteria have to ingest.

Prescription Drugs

When over-the-counter antiperspirants are not enough, women can turn to their primary care physicians for prescription-strength products. These types of antiperspirants use higher levels of active ingredients, such as aluminum chloride, to stop sweat. The higher strength products can cause side effects, however, such as inflammation and skin itching. Test the antiperspirant out on a small area of your skin before using it the first time.

Botox as a Last Resort

Botox is another option for women who are dealing with chronic underarm odor. Botox contains a potent neurotoxin that doctors can inject into the armpits to reduce the production of sweat. Once introduced to the armpit, the substance blocks the actions of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, says the American Academy of Dermatology. This neurotransmitter is necessary for sweat glands to function correctly. Without the neurotransmitter, sweat production is reduced, resulting in less material for bacterial ingestion.

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