Monday, August 10, 2009

Body odor

An unpleasant smell typically associated with poor hygiene and sometimes with certain health conditions. Body odor develops as an interaction between perspiration, a normal body function, and bacteria that are on the skin. The bacteria break down the perspiration, and one result is odor. The norm in Western cultures is to mask body odor through the use of deodorants and antiperspirants applied to the underarms. Body odor also develops with lack of cleanliness, again as a consequence of the interaction between bacteria normally present on the skin and perspiration or other bodily substances.

Improved personal hygiene (daily showering or bathing and washing with soap and water) eliminates most unpleasant body odor. Certain health conditions such as diabetes, some kinds of cancer, zinc deficiency, kidney disease, and some kinds of liver disease have characteristic odors as well. Others often perceive these odors as unpleasant, but they have nothing to do with hygiene, and washing does not eliminate them.

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