Clean beauty industry maven Mary Futher founded kaia naturals® after spending 20 years working for global beauty companies. Mary now shares her weekly column, delivering a quick fix, home remedy, or clean beauty product suggestion for a variety of human discomforts that some may find too embarrassing to discuss.

As the founder of a lifestyle brand, my employees and I often have discussions about our own bodily ailments. One thing that came up recently is that we noticed one armpit can smell worse than the other at times. People experience this on various frequencies, which is why I want to discuss some of the possible reasons for this and what you can do about it.

No Two Sides of Your Body Are Identical

Recently, I listened to an interesting Ted Talk that discussed how most human bodies are asymmetrical. While I had a hard time finding a study that proved that one armpit can smell worse than the other, I did find a study that showed that one armpit can produce more bacteria than the other. Since bacteria is the main cause of odors and asymmetry is prevalent in our bodies, it makes sense that one armpit can smell worse than the other.

We Don’t Use Both Sides of Our Bodies Equally

This dichotomy has existed since we were born, which is why we are either right handed or left handed. We are naturally going to use our dominant side more, so the increased activity may produce more sweat and bacteria. If you are right-handed like most of the world, you will use that arm more and produce sweat that leads to molecules that release Organosulfur compounds called Thioalcohols which contain pungent odor. Therefore, your right armpit will smell more than your left.


You May Not Realize You Aren’t Caring for Both Sides of Your Body

Since we’ve established that you may favour one side over the other, this can inadvertently contribute to your lack of hygiene. Of course when you shower or apply deodorant, you are doing it to both sides, but you may prioritize one over the other. This leads to more odor on one side than the other. You must shave, apply deodorant, and wash your underarms at the same time to keep odors at bay.

Okay, But How Do I Prevent This from Happening?

Watch What You Wear:

Opt for clothes made of breathable fabrics to allow for fresh air to flow into your body and to keep your body cool.

Wash Your Armpits Thoroughly:

This seems like a given, but many people don’t realize they aren’t washing that area properly. I use a method where I count to 20 seconds as I’m cleaning each armpit to ensure I remove all the bacteria. Think this may be the case? Click here to read more about why you need an armpit detox.

Apply a Good Deodorant:

You will have to experiment a bit, but do a patch test when trying a deodorant to make sure it works for your skin. You should also apply deodorant in front of the mirror so that you can ensure you’re applying enough. I use 5 strokes on each armpit. Click here to read more about choosing the right deodorant for your body chemistry.

Change Your Clothes On A Daily Basis:

You will have accumulated bacteria throughout the day, so the best thing you can do is to change your clothes.

Reduce Spicy Food Intake:

Spicy food will cause you to sweat, which increases bacteria production and causes odors. Click here to read more about other foods that can actually make you smell worse.

Refresh after Physical Activity:

While a full shower is better, wiping your underarms after exercise can go a long way as it will reduce the amount of bacteria left behind.

Shave Your Armpits:

Armpit hair is more likely to trap sweat and bacteria in the area. If you prefer some hair in the area, you should trim it and lather the soap under your underarms 20 times.

I know it sounds crazy but I really find that counting to 20 while massaging the underarm with an antibacterial bar soap prior to applying a generous amount of deodorant is the key to keeping each armpit odor free. Let us know if you have one underarm smellier than the other and what you do to keep odors at bay!

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