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Body Odor: Can You Manage It?

Man working on a laptop with papers around him

By Charles Poladian

You have the job you want, you're looking great in a new shirt and that haircut is working out for you. With everything going your way, you still may not feel confident because of body odor. But, that shouldn't be the case because while it's natural, it can be managed.

How Body Odor Affects You

Concerns about odor could lead to alienation or self-isolation. Instead of dropping in to talk trash your fantasy football foes face-to-face, it may be less embarrassing to send an email. Even the perception you may smell can lead to lack of self-confidence, according to a study published in Advances in Chemical Engineering and Science

At some level, almost everyone cares about the opinions of others, which is why you may use tactics to smell good. "As the use of cosmetics appears to be a part of our self-presentation, people may use cosmetics in order to express themselves in a socially desirable manner," write the authors of a study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, regarding odor and the use of fragranced cosmetics.

Smell is important. Luckily there are ways to manage how you smell in a way that can make you more confident in the workplace.

What Causes Body Odor

There are several factors you have to consider when talking about sweat and smell. While sweating may be associated with odor, it's actually a specific type of sweat that smells. The human body contains two types of sweat glands. The first type is eccrine glands. Eccrine glands are found in the skin throughout the body. They help cool you down without odor.

Apocrine glands get a bad rap for being behind body odor. While it's sort of true, you can blame the interaction between sweat and the bacteria on your skin for the aroma everyone knows and hates. Stress, anxiety and being nervous are just a few triggers to kick apocrine glands into action. Considering all the deadlines and responsibilities that come with the professional world, it's easy to see how your apocrine glands would be having a field day while you're at work.

How to Manage Office Stress

Managing stress is a big factor in controlling how much you sweat. If you have a hundred urgent tasks, that's going to make you sweat from your armpits. Take a second to breathe, maybe grab some water from the break room and proceed with your day.

Office attire is another thing to consider. While you want to look sharp, your clothing should be breathable. You'll have more air reaching your skin, which will help cool you down, according to the Mayo Clinic. Applying deodorant or antiperspirant at night could also help.

This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Speed Stick products. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.