Everyone loves the sweet and smooth fragrance coming from babies. But this impression goes out of the window once they grow up. Parents may come across situations where their kid is sweaty, stinky after play time. How to handle this situation?
Children usually get stinky when played in the mud. There are many natural ways to reduce body odor in children. But, when the body odor is a result of abnormal biological change then it could be a major cause of concern.
This article discusses the causes of body odor in kids. It discusses the 9 home remedies and tips to get rid of body odor in kids.
What is Child Body Odor?
Usually, body odor in kids emerges once the sweat glands in the underarms and perianal region called apocrine are activated. These glands produce sweat which contains substances like fat, which are consumed and digested by the skin dwelling bacteria. Usually the sweat produced by these glands is odorless, oily and opaque. But, it may create odor on interaction with the bacteria or clothes. The apocrine glands get activated during puberty.
Other types of sweat glands are eccrine sweat glands. They are situated all over the body and release sweat when you have a fever, when the temperature is hot or when you eat spicy food.
Body odor is most likely to occur in the following places:
- Anus and belly button
The rest of the skin is less likely to be affected by sweat
Is It Normal For a Child To Have Body Odor?
It is hard to notice the body odor in the children. If your prepubescent teenagers and teenagers sweat and release bad odor like adults, then there is no need to worry as it is a sign of onset of puberty. But, if your 3-8 years old is getting stinky, it is a cause of major concern and may lead to severe skin conditions if left unnoticed.
Symptoms of Body Odor in Children:
Body odor is accompanied by the pungent smell from the particular parts of the body. Along with the bad smell you may notice the following:
- Excessive sweat
- Sweat while sleeping
- Cold hands
- Weight loss
What Can Cause Body Odor In Toddlers?
Here are the few reasons for body odor in toddlers:
1. Poor Hygiene:
It is one of the main reasons for body odor in your children. If your children refuse to take regular baths and not wash armpits, groin region then bacteria may accumulate in the clothes and may lead to bad odor on interaction with the sweat.
2. Food Habits:
Food that your kids eat may affect their body odor along with their breath. After some foods are digested, their smell is drained through the pores of the skin and generates odor.
Some of the foods that can produce bad odor both in adults and children are:
- Garlic and onions
- Read meat with amino acid derivative – carnitine, which can create a fishy body odor if present in the excess amount.
- Milk contains proteins making it take longer for digestion. Excess dairy products consumption may lead to the production of methyl mercaptan and hydrogen sulphide in the body, which may spread out the foul smell.
- Processed foods made from flour that lack fiber.
- Smelly foods like fish, eggs, and legumes.
If your child is close to the puberty stage where they attain sexual maturity, body odor is quite normal. Girls reach puberty between 9 to 14 years and boys reach it between 12 to 15 years.
4. Contact with Stinky Materials:
Kids often get in contact with stinky materials while playing outdoors. It is advised to allow your kid to have a bath with warm water after playtime.
5. Socks and Shoes:
Tight socks and shoes that your kid wear may make their feet stink. Bacteria will increase colonies by eating dead skin cells and oils from your skin. The colonies of bacteria will release waste in the form of organic acids that smell bad.
6. Night Sweat:
Some children sweat during the night times due to some medication or underlying healthy conditions thereby making them to experience body odor.
7.Lack of certain enzymes:
Children who do not have phenylalanine hydroxylase, are known to be suffering with the metabolic error known as phenylketonuria (PKU). This enzyme is required to break the essential amino acid called phenylalanine, which plays a key role for proper growth and development.
If a child with PKU are left untreated, they may develop bad odor along with other symptoms like light eyes, change in skin and hair color, abnormal muscle developments, or involuntary movements. Children may be at risk of developing intellectual disabilities.
Whenever the body reacts to stress, you may sweat irrespective of the surrounding temperature. It is mostly triggered by fear and pain. Both adults and children may experience this kind of emotional sweating.
9. Medical Conditions:
a. Fish Odor Syndrome:
It is a genetic disease, which may offer symptoms beginning from birth. It creates offensive body odor and smell of rotting fish due to the excessive amounts of trimethylaminuria (TMA) in urine, sweat and breath. Usually there are no other health conditions associated with this syndrome but it may lead to social anxiety when your child grows up.
Under a situation called hypothyroidism, where speed up body processes may cause rapid heartbeat, nervousness, anxiety results in excessive sweat. This excessive sweat most probably occurs at night while sleeping.
C. Other medical conditions:
Other medical conditions that may contribute to the body odor are diabetes, kidney, or liver problems, or inflammations.
Distinct smell offered by the underlying health conditions make the doctors easily recognize the condition and start the treatment.
Medical Treatments for Body Odor in Child:
Medical treatments for the bad odor may vary according to the health condition. Doctors may recommend the following to treat the body:
- In case of fish odor syndrome, doctors may recommend antibiotics which prevent the growth of bacteria. Bringing changes in the diet like avoiding foods like eggs, milk, fish, peanuts, soya products and cabbage may help in dealing with this situation.
- For hyperhidrosis, doctors may prescribe anti-bacterial creams that help in reducing the pungent smell.
- Excessive sweating in the armpits and limbs can be treated by using medicines containing aluminium chloride hexahydrate.
- Early stage sexual maturation, adrenarche, has no medical solution. Best parenting is the only choice to help your child deal with this situation.
Home Remedies for Child Body Odor:
The following simple home remedies will help you to prevent body odor in children.
1. Lemon Juice:
It is loaded with the free radical fighting antioxidant called vitamin C. It keeps the body dry by increasing the pH levels, which helps in preventing the bacteria.
How to Use:
1. Add a few drops of lemon juice to the bathtub and wash off the excessive sweating areas well with this water to prevent the growth of bacteria.
Instead of adding it to the bathtub, you can also apply the diluted lemon juice to the affected areas with a cotton ball. Wash it off with water after leaving for 10 minutes.
2. Tomato Juice:
Tomato helps in reducing the sweat by making the open pores shrink.
How To Use:
1. Add 2 cups of tomato juice to the bathtub and let your kids soak in it. Alternatively, you can also apply the tomato juice on the affected areas with a cotton ball and wash it off after 10 minutes.
3.Tea Tree Oil:
It has a pleasant smell and kills bacteria. Antibacterial properties in the tea tree oil will help in fighting against the bacteria.
How to Use:
As it is powerful, it must be diluted with the water. Check your kid’s skin for any reactions before applying it. Dilute 2 drops of tea tree oil with 2 tablespoons of water and apply it over the affected areas and rinse it with water.
Coconut oil helps the body have a pleasant smell. It’s antimicrobial properties help in preventing the growth of bacteria.
How to Use:
1. Apply the coconut oil over the affected areas with a cotton swab and leave it for about 20 minutes.
2. Rinse it with lukewarm water.
It is a fragrant evergreen herb which is a member of the mint family. It contains menthol and chlorophyll, they act as natural deodorants to fight against odor causing bacteria.
How to Use:
1. Boil the cup of rosemary leaves in a cup of water.
2. Add this to the bathtub and allow your kid to soak in the bath tub containing this mixture for 15 minutes. You can also add a few drops of rosemary oil to the bathtub.
6.Apple cider vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar helps to kill some types of bacteria.
How to Use:
Dip the cotton balls in the apple cider vinegar and apply it over the affected areas. Leave it for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off.
7. Sage Leaves:
They are aromatic and rich in antiseptic antibacterial properties.
How to Use:
1. Boil the cup of dried sage leaves in water and add it to your child’s bath tub.
You can also prepare the natural deodorant by using a mix of sage oil, coriander oil and lavender essential oil. Allow your kids to use this natural deodorant regularly for better results.
8. Use Deodorants:
If your kid develops a bad odor at an early stage it is time to use deodorants or antiperspirant. Use kids friendly organic deodorants. Whereas antiperspirants work to kill the bacteria causing bad odor and slows down reproduction of bacteria
9. Cornstarch or baking soda:
Dusting the under arms with cornstarch or baking soda will help to get rid of bacteria by reducing the sweat.
The other way to use baking soda to reduce sweat is- mix the starch with water to create a pate. Apply this paste on hands or under the arms and wash it off with water after five minutes.
Tips That Help to Prevent Body Odor In Kids:
Here are a few tips to get rid of child body odor
1. Encourage your teenager to have good personal hygiene care.
2. Make your kid have a regular bath.
3. Make your kids wash the private areas, armpits, and feet properly.
4. Change the diet. Make your children eat leafy vegetables which are rich in chlorophyll and imparts powerful deodorizing effects to your body. Avoid foods like eggs, red meat, etc that cause bad odor.
5. Bacteria likes to stay and grow in the cozy warm underarms resulting in the underarm body odor in toddlers. Make sure that your kid’s underarms are dry, bacteria is unlikely to breed in the dry areas of the body.
6. Make your kids practise yoga, which helps to relieve stress as this is one of the triggers for excess sweating.
7. Introduce the habit of changing your kid’s undergarments daily, which helps them to stay fresh and away from the bacteria.
8. Keep your kid hydrated by making them drink lots of water.
9. Do not allow your kid to wear the same dress without washing. Rinse their clothes in warm water before washing. Use the fabric conditioner to make their clothes smell fresh and allow them to dry under the sun.
10. Make sure that their clothes and shoes are completely dry before wearing.
Take the responsibility in keeping your kids fresh and clean by following the home remedies mentioned in this article and help them to adopt hygiene habits.