Having Smelly Armpits? Know The Causes, Treatment And Prevention Tips From Expert

Do you get bad odor from your armpits often? Read to know about the cause, treatment and prevention tips for smelly armpits.

Puru Bansal
Written by: Puru BansalUpdated at: Aug 20, 2021 17:12 IST
Having Smelly Armpits? Know The Causes, Treatment And Prevention Tips From Expert

Hygiene is one of the most important factors in keeping ourselves healthy and away from diseases and infections. You must have noticed a person getting sweaty and smelly armpits which creates a bad impression in others minds. A smelly armpit can make a person conscious, even though it is a common problem dealt by many. When a person sweats, the liquid gets mixed with the bacteria present on the skin and upon drying causes an unpleasant smell. This unpleasant odor is due to poor hygiene or not using the right skin products or can be due to an underlying medical cause that needs treatment. 


Several steps or remedies can be taken to prevent or minimize excessive sweating, which can help in easing the anxiety a person may have due to this condition. Using a deodorant or an over the counter (OTC) treatment or prescription medicine daily can help with smelly armpits. However over use of OTC products can sometimes lead to side effects as well. 

What Causes Smelly Armpits?

Onlymyhealth spoke to Dr. P Padmaja, Consultant Dermatologist from Yashoda Hospital, Hyderabad. Here is what she told us about this problem of smelly armpits. She said that smelly armpits are due to sweating, which is normal and a necessary function for a body that helps in maintaining the body temperature. There are mainly two types of sweat glands:

  • Eccrine
  • apocrine

An eccrine gland covers the majority of the body and opens directly on the skin’s surface while an apocrine gland is present in areas that consist of hair follicles such as groin and armpits. The sweat released by eccrine gland is to cool the body and is odorless till the bacteria starts to break it down and makes it smelly while the sweat from apocrine is released under control of hormones and it has some mild odors (main cause of body odors).


Eccrine sweat glands are active since childhood and apocrine sweat glands become more active during puberty. When a person sweats more than usual specifically from hands, feet and armpits, and sometimes from the whole body it is called hyperhidrosis. This condition is harmless but is sometimes the result due to medical problems like thyroid dysfunction. Certain foods like garlic, onion and alcohol can also change the way a person might smell.

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Prevention Tips for Smelly Armpits


The best steps that can be taken to prevent a smelly armpit is to take care of your hygiene and follow these steps regularly.

  • Take a shower daily with soap.
  • Bathing after strenuous activity like working out or playing sports to get rid of the bacteria
  • Using a deodorant or an antiperspirant along with shaving your armpits
  • Wearing loose and breathable clothing also helps in preventing excessive sweating
  • Wearing fresh clothes daily for hygiene

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Treatment to Get Rid of Smelly Armpits

The treatment for a smelly armpit depends on the severity and the underlying medical condition and by maintaining good hygiene one can attain cleanliness. People should wear clean clothes and change them every day. Botox injections are also used to treat excessive sweating but just be taken under a physician's guidance. Although a Botox injection treatment is not a permanent solution, it still is a common treatment for people with hyperhidrosis and needs to be repeated as required.


Sweating is normal bodily function and can be managed with daily hygienic practices such as showering and wearing clean n loose clothes. There can be various causes that lead to a change in armpit odor and can be due to certain foods and medications. It is always best to speak to a doctor if one finds that their quality of life is getting affected by a smelly armpit.

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