Body odour is a common problem. You can usually treat it yourself.

How to treat body odour yourself

  • wash your armpits, groin and feet at least twice a day with soap and dry thoroughly
  • shave your armpits regularly
  • use antiperspirants and deodrants
  • change and wash your clothes regularly
  • wear natural fabrics like cotton, wool and silk
  • wear antibacterial socks


  • do not eat too much strong smelling or spicy food
  • do not drink too much coffee or alcohol

You can ask a pharmacist about:

  • stronger antiperspirants
  • armpit or sweat shields to protect your clothing
  • foot powders for sweaty feet
  • soap substitutes that are gentler on your skin

Find a pharmacy

See a GP if you have body odour and it hasn't got better after treating it yourself and:

  • it's affecting your self-esteem
  • you notice a change in how it usually smells
  • you suddenly begin to sweat much more than usual

Treatments from your GP

If you have severe body odour and sweating, your GP may suggest:

  • stronger, prescription antiperspirants
  • injections in your armpits to reduce the amount of sweat
  • surgery to remove the sweat glands

Causes of body odour

Things that can make body odour worse include:

  • exercise
  • hot weather
  • hormonal changes
  • being overweight
  • having a condition like diabetes, kidney disease or liver disease
  • certain types of medicine, such as antidepressants

Body odour may also be linked to excessive sweating and smelly feet.

The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website nhs.uk
Last Updated: 09/03/2022 13:56:30