02/27/2014 07:02 am ET Updated Feb 27, 2014

7 Effective Ways To Stop Body Odor

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Ewwwww, Grandma, you smell bad!”

Your worst nightmare, right? Who wants to be the grandparents kids hate to visit because they have body odor? You’re not alone—in a study done by Sentient Decision Science, 46% of people asked said they’d willingly shave ten years off their life rather then be perceived as smelly. Another 76% said they’d rather gain weight than have chronic body odor.

Three glands are responsible for body odor. The secretions of the apocrine glands (located the underarms, genitals, and around the nipples) and the eccrine glands (found mainly in underarms, hands, and feet) produce an odor when they interact with skin bacteria. Oil produced by the sebaceous glands (scalp, face, and chest) has a light odor with or without bacteria.

If the smell still persists...

See a physician about underlying disease. The smell can be caused by hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) or trimethylaminuria (a.k.a. fish odor syndrome), a metabolic disorder that prevents the body from breaking down a smelly compound called trimethylamine. “Diabetes, tuberculosis, Parkinson's disease, and cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma also can cause excessive sweating,” says Dr. Jaliman.

  • Ask about a prescription antiperspirant. Talk to your dermatologist about Drysol or Xerac, which have higher aluminum concentrations.
  • Think about Botox. Botox injections shrink sweat glands on hands, feet and armpits. The effect lasts on average for about eight months.
  • Consider electromagnetic therapy. For people with hyperhidrosis, a new procedure called miraDry, uses controlled, directed electromagnetics to destroy underarm sweat glands. (This cannot be used on other parts of the body.)
  • Get underarm surgery. It you are really desperate, various types of surgeries – excision, liposuction and laser – can remove sweat glands in the surface fat.

One more thing you should know:

There is such a thing as "old person smell." (Remember how you'd visit your own grandparents and they would have a certain smell to them? Even thinking about it, you can probably recall the smell.) Researchers believe that as we age, our body chemistry ages along with us. But the great news: According to a recent study, people find "old person smell" pleasant rather than gross! Maybe you don't need that deodorant after all!

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