Why Your Armpits Still Smell After a Shower

You’ve just had a shower, but your armpits still smell. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. This issue can arise from various factors like lingering bacteria, hormonal changes, or even your diet. Let’s explore the reasons behind this puzzling situation and what you can do about it.

What’s Going on in Your Armpits?

Your armpits are a hotbed of activity. They’re home to sweat glands, hair follicles, and a community of bacteria. When you sweat, the moisture mixes with these bacteria, producing an odor. So, even after a shower, some of these bacteria may still remain, causing that unpleasant smell.

Why Your Armpits Still Smell After a Shower

Types of Sweat Glands and Their Role

Eccrine Glands

These glands are found all over your body and primarily produce water and salt. Although they are in your armpits, they’re not the main culprits behind the smell.

Apocrine Glands

In contrast, apocrine glands, which are concentrated in areas like your armpits and groin, secrete a thicker fluid. When this fluid comes into contact with bacteria on your skin, it breaks down and creates a foul smell.

Common Causes of Post-Shower Smell

Incomplete Rinsing

Sometimes, you might rush through your shower and not rinse off all the soap or body wash. Residual soap can trap bacteria, and as a result, you’ll notice an odor even after you’re clean.

Hormonal Changes

In people with hormonal imbalances, sweat production can increase, providing more food for bacteria. For example, during menstruation or menopause, women might notice a stronger odor.


Yes, what you eat can affect how you smell. Foods like garlic, onions, and some spices can seep through your sweat glands and produce a distinct odor.

Solutions for Smelling Fresh

Use Antibacterial Soap

Switch to an antibacterial soap for your armpits. This will help kill off more of the bacteria responsible for the smell. Just make sure to rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residues.

Mind Your Diet

Examples of odor-neutralizing foods include fruits like oranges and berries and vegetables like spinach. Including these in your diet can make a difference in how you smell.

Apply an Antiperspirant

Antiperspirants don’t just mask the smell; they also reduce sweat. However, make sure to apply it to dry skin for maximum effectiveness.

Opt for Clothing that Breathes

Natural fibers like cotton and linen allow your skin to breathe, reducing the environment where bacteria can thrive. On the other hand, synthetic fibers can trap moisture and make the problem worse.

When to Seek Medical Help

If you’ve tried everything and your armpits still smell, it might be time to consult a healthcare professional. Conditions like hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) or bromhidrosis (bad body odor) could be at play, requiring medical intervention.

Now you have a clearer picture of why your armpits might still smell after a shower and what you can do about it. From choosing the right soap to adjusting your diet, small changes can make a big difference.

Further Reading: How to Smell Good Without Using Perfume

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