Dear Dr. Armpit, I understood that it’s better to use cotton clothes to avoid armpit smell. I wear only cotton underwear and T-shirts, however I still have smelly armpits. I shower every day, and on top of that I wash with anti-bacterial Dettol soap once or twice a day. I use a Weleda citrus deo, which seems to be quite harmless (and inefficient). I noticed that the smell changes with the clothes I wear. For example although I sleep one whole week in the same (cotton) pyjamas, they seldom smell, whether I shower before sleeping or not. Starting from there, I have two questions. Is it possible that the smell comes from the food I eat ? If I wash my cotton clothes at 95 degrees Celsius, will I get rid of the bacteria generating the smell ? Many thanks for your reply.
Dear K, thanks for your questions. To answer your first question: yes, the food that you eat can have an influence, but the influence is rather minimal. Examples of food resulting in odor are spices, sulphur containing foods (garlic, onion, cauliflower, cabbage, brocolli), fenugreek seeds or alcohol. More plausible is bacteria which enrich on your clothes (generally synthetics can cause a problem), or bacteria present in the sweat glands. The bacteria transform the sweat compounds in the apocrine glands. Upon stress, the muscles of the glands are stimulated and the whole mixture is released onto the skin, resulting in odor emission. This has an evolutionary background: in case of stress, an animal needs to able to run away fast: a greasy skin helps in this. Also, if the animal emits a bad odor, chances are lower that the animal gets eaten by the predator. To answer your second question: 95°C is a temperature which no living bacteria can survive. Only spore-forming bacteria (a dormant state) can survive. The thing is that the bacteria are usually also present on your skin. They transfer to the clothing textile, where they can again enrich and result in odor emission. Best, Chris
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