If you’re wondering why your kids are developing smelly armpits sooner than you expected, you’re not alone. Kids smelly armpits are normally a telltale sign that puberty — that time when your kid’s body begins to develop and change as he moves from childhood to adulthood — is starting. Smelly armpits can occur for a variety of reasons. But even though they’re unpleasant and can be embarrassing for your kid, especially if he is completely clueless, there are resolutions to this issue. Keep reading to discover what causes kids smelly armpits. Plus some remedies to get rid of it.
Why Do Kids Develop Smelly Armpits?
As mentioned above, most kids start developing smelly armpits at the start of puberty, though many kids do develop body odor prematurely, some even as young as 8 years old. My daughter was one of them. Her pediatrician told me that this is actually quite normal as puberty is beginning earlier for many kids. It’s normal for some girls to begin experiencing pubertal changes as early as 7 years old and for boys as early as 9 years old. But why do kids develop smelly armpits?
When kids start to go through puberty they begin to sweat more, especially from the apocrine sweat glands in their armpits. Typically, these glands remain undeveloped until puberty when growth hormones activate them. Once activated, the glands secrete an oily substance which bacteria on our skin break down. Sweat itself doesn’t have an odor. The smell comes from the bacteria digesting the oily substance in the sweat.
There are some possible causes of smelly armpits in kids and they’re detailed below. If your kid is less than 8 years old, finding the root cause of the odor as opposed to just masking it is my recommendation. In the meantime, there are natural and simple solutions to control your kids smelly armpits.
Early puberty, also known as precocious puberty, is the onset of signs of puberty that begin before age 8 in girls and before age 9 in boys. It’s becoming increasingly common. One of the telltale signs of puberty is body odor. There are many theories that explain why puberty is happening earlier — the hormones in our food, the pesticides sprayed on our food, the toxins in our environment. It’s difficult to know which of these is the cause.
It’s possible to slow down the onset of precocious puberty by controlling what food goes into your kid’s body. Go for whole, organic foods whenever possible and stay away from processed foods. Also choose locally grown foods as well as pasture-raised meats.
Intolerance to Certain Foods
Your child may be intolerant to certain foods they’re eating. An intolerance is unfortunately harder to detect because you don’t see any reaction such as hives. The reaction may be occurring inside the body, under the surface. Food sensitivities can go unchecked for many years and this can lead to autoimmune diseases. So it makes sense that body odor may develop as a reaction to the foods we eat.
To combat kids smelly armpits and body odor, pay close attention to when the odor develops in relation to what your child eats. If you notice a pattern, eliminate that food to see if it helps. My daughter would always develop body odor when she had chocolate. Any type of chocolate. Once we eliminated chocolate from her diet, the body odor decreased dramatically.
Food sensitivities to dairy is common. And it has been linked to premature body odor in kids. Since milk and dairy products take longer to be digested, excess consumption of these products releases gases that cause a foul smell.
Switching to organic milk products that are free of hormones helps eliminate kids smelly armpits. Give your child organic milk and cheese for a couple of weeks and see if that reduces your kids smelly armpits. Alternatively, eliminate all dairy products from your child’s diet for a couple of weeks and see if that reduces the smelly armpits and body odor.
If you’re going to make only one dietary change, my recommendation is to eliminate all dairy from your child’s diet.
8 Solutions for Kids Smelly Armpits
There are a variety of ways to treat your kids smelly armpits. All these options are natural solutions to keep your kid healthy, odor free, and happy. Choose what options work best for you and your family.
1. Proper Hygiene
Proper hygiene, regular bathing, and clean armpits and groin areas are key to getting rid of kids smelly armpits and keeping underarm odor under control. Make sure your child showers or bathes at least once a day, especially after sports or any physical activity that makes him sweat. Showering gets rid of the odor-producing bacteria. Stress the importance of washing the armpits WITH SOAP or body wash, not just water. If a daily shower isn’t possible, make sure your child washes the armpits with a washcloth between showers.
2. Clean Clothing
Your child needs to wear clean clothing every day to get rid of the odor. Remind him that clothes collect sweat so it’s important to wash any dirty clothes, especially undershirts, underwear, and socks after each use to avoid odor buildup. Bacteria accumulates in the clothes and releases odor so even though you’re clean, if your clothes aren’t, you will stink!
Also, have your child wear clothing made from natural fibers such as cotton and wool that let our skin breathe. These fibers cause less odor because they absorb sweat more readily and keep it away from the body. On the other hand, synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon trap odors, which makes body odor even worse. Exactly what you don’t want!
3. Using Natural Antibacterial Body Washes & Sprays
If a daily shower doesn’t get rid of your kids smelly armpits, consider an antibacterial body wash and spray that contains African Wild Cucumber. African Wild Cucumber is an incredibly powerful plant found in tropical Africa that gets rid of body odor. It’s a natural antibacterial. It gets rid of body odor by eliminating bacteria. When applied to your child’s skin, it gets rid of kids smelly armpits by killing bacteria on the skin’s surface that cause funky odor.
Once again, make sure your child pays special attention to the armpits and groin region. And the back. Don’t forget the back! He can also use an antibacterial body spray after showering to keep bacteria away and armpits smelling fresh all day long.
Angels n’ Dudes has a wide selection of natural antibacterial body washes and sprays that contain African Wild Cucumber. You can check them out here!
4. Using Deodorant vs. Antiperspirant
What’s the difference between the two, anyway?
Deodorant gets rid of kids smelly armpits by neutralizing the smell of the sweat and by its antiseptic action against bacteria. It does not stop your child’s sweating action. An antiperspirant works by clogging and blocking the pores with powerful astringents such as aluminum salts in an attempt to keep your child from releasing sweat.
As a parent, I’m concerned about my daughter using an antiperspirant. Sweat itself doesn’t stink, and sweating is a normal response to regulate her body’s temperature. I don’t want to interfere with that. Also, the aluminum salts can accumulate in her brain and some studies have linked them to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease (note: there’s conflicting information linking aluminum to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease on the internet). So, I’d rather not take a risk with my child’s health. And I’m sure you’re the same way too!
5. Vinegar Wash
Vinegar, whether it’s apple cider vinegar or white vinegar, does a great job of killing bacteria. It’s acidic in nature and also has antibacterial properties. Vinegar gets rid of your kids smelly armpits by making the environment in the armpits less inviting for bacteria. Regular use can also prevent the accumulation of bacteria.
To use, dip a cotton ball in a bowl of vinegar and gently rub on the underarms. Since vinegar can be irritating, make sure there are no cuts or scrapes on your child’s skin. If your child complains that it stings or burns, dilute with vinegar with equal parts of water. Let the armpits air dry.
Some kids don’t like the smell of vinegar even though the scent dissipates quickly — I promise! If your child is like my daughter who cringes at the smell, adding a few drops of lavender essential oil masks the vinegar smell. Not only does lavender’s pleasant fragrance mask the smell of the vinegar, it also masks the body odor and its antibacterial properties eliminate odor-producing bacteria found on the skin.
6. Lemon Juice in Bath Water
Lemon juice is acidic in nature and has bactericidal properties. It decreases your skin’s pH thereby preventing the growth of bacteria by making the environment undesirable and less inviting.
Add a few drops of lemon juice to your child’s bath water to get rid of odor-causing bacteria and your kids smelly armpits.
7. Cornstarch or Baking Soda
Cornstarch and baking soda both have natural antibacterial properties. They kill stinky bacteria without interfering with your child’s natural sweating response. They also keep armpits dry and sweat-free by absorbing moisture. This is key as moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria – the odor-producing bacteria that makes your kid’s armpits smell bad.
Sprinkle some cornstarch or baking soda in your child’s armpits to help fight the bacteria that causes kids smelly armpits.
Note: Baking soda can cause rash, redness, and dry, cracked skin. If your child is experiencing a rash, discomfort or any other reaction to baking soda, discontinue use right away.
Some people recommend using baby powder as a drying agent, but I try to avoid it. There are some conflicting reports about talcum powder, the main ingredient in baby powder. It has been linked to cancer. There are no definitive studies but I prefer to be very cautious when it comes to my children’s health. Just like you! If you want to know more about the link between talcum powder and cancer, you can read about it here.
There are some baby powder products that contain cornstarch as the main ingredient and they’re a safer alternative.
8. Detox to Eliminate Kids Smelly Armpits
Sweat is one way your child’s body naturally detoxifies its system. If your kid’s sweat has a funky smell and he has body odor, his body may be trying to get rid of toxins.
Many kids and parents deal with this issue of kids smelly armpits — believe me, you’re not alone! Figuring out what the cause of the smelly armpits is key in stopping body odor in children. Take action to control and get rid of the embarrassing odor and stop your kids smelly armpits in their tracks.
Also, check out Angels n’ Dudes antibacterial body washes and sprays to help you in your fight against kids body odor.
Comment below with any questions or comments. I’d love to hear from you!