Recently, I was at Bangkok airport waiting to board a flight back to Phnom Penh. My colleague and I passed by a couple of people, and the smell of their body odor made us feel nauseated.
I was praying that I didn’t have to sit next to them on the plane, and luckily for me I didn’t. But another passenger wasn’t so lucky.
Suffering from excessive body odor can be a problem. Most of those who suffer from body odor are not aware of the problem and are not aware they are offending people.
Sweating is a natural process and people experience the problems of sweaty under-arms in a warm and humid climate like Cambodia.
Cortisol, the stress hormone, makes you sweat. We lose fluids through our sweat glands which settle on the skin and cools us as the air reaches it. The fluid lost does not have a strong odor, but when it is left, the bacteria can breed which increases the strength of smell.
The popular notion that body odor is the smell of sweat is not true.
There are certain areas on our body that contain many more sweat glands than others. Under-arms, groins and feet excrete higher amounts of oils through a larger number of glands. If you are overweight, there is a higher chance of having excess folds of skin and flesh in which bacteria can live quite freely.
Body odor is a personal issue and should be addressed delicately, especially in the workplace.
The presence of body odor can impact everyone’s morale and performance at the office. It decreases productivity if a colleague has an offensive body odor. When personal matters affect the workplace, it becomes a job performance issue.
Here are some tips that can be taken to control body odor.
- Soap and water. Bath or shower on a regular basis with soap.
- Parsley. Eat one teaspoon of fresh parsley with each meal. As an alternative to the fresh parsley, take one 500mg capsule of parsley each day.
- Anti-perspirant or deodorant. Antiperspirants use chemicals to close pores, which prevents the release of perspiration. Deodorants allow perspiration to occur, but counteract the odor.
- Keep clothes clean. Change your clothes often when you sweat heavily.
- Drink plenty of water. Drink a glass of water in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Eat more food with magnesium. Food like dark chocolate, bran, sesame seeds and raw nuts like almonds and cashews help eliminates excess body odor.
People put on perfume to eliminate the smell, but it will only make it worst as the bacteria has already generated. Perfume cannot cover the smell of body odor.
The Cambodia Iron & Steel Mining Industry Group and the China Railway have asked authorities to build more public toilets. Why not include a public shower with the public toilet?
Building more public showers and baths would help those who are unable to afford the necessities of hygienic products. One of the simplest body odor remedies is to bath or shower regularly.
To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our minds strong and clear, said the Buddha.
The Social Agenda with Soma Norodom
The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.