Why Do Your Armpits Smell after a Shower?

By Laurie Fanelli in Healthy Feeling

Sweating is a normal, healthy part of life. And while it can lead to an increase in body odor, a lingering smell even after a shower can be frustrating and embarrassing.

Why do your armpits smell after a shower? Understanding what causes body odor is the first step to tackling the problem. You can also try a few simple fixes to combat body odor, like changing your diet or adjusting your hygiene routine, so you can feel renewed and fresh after showering.

What Causes Body Odor

Biologically speaking, body odor occurs when sweat mixes with bacteria on your skin. When you exercise or get anxious, your temperature rises, and your sweat glands release fluids to cool your body down.

The amount and types of bacteria can impact your body odor, but that's not the only cause. Hormones also play a large part (which is why body odor can become more prominent during pregnancy or menopause), and so can your biological makeup. Men have larger sweat glands, for example, and age can also affect changes in body odor. Certain foods are known to cause body odor as well.

A man towels off his face in the bathroom after a shower.

Why Do Your Armpits Smell after a Shower?

While some body odor is normal, excessive or lingering odor after a shower may be a sign that there's an underlying cause. Here are some of the common causes of body odor and their potential solutions.

Ineffective Soap or Body Wash

You could be using the wrong soap. Everyone's chemistry is different and it changes as you age, so switching up your soap may solve the issue.


Have you ever eaten garlic bread and later noticed that you smell like garlic when you sweat? Strong-smelling foods are a common culprit of potent body odor. Spicy foods and caffeinated beverages can also make you sweat more, so limiting these items in your diet may help reduce odor.

Bacteria Buildup

Bacteria is more prominent if you have hair under your arms. Removing hair, either through shaving, waxing, or laser hair removal, can minimize bacteria growth.

Hot Bathroom

If you take long, hot showers, you may raise your body temperature to the point of sweating. Try taking cooler, shorter showers to avoid post-shower sweat.

Old Clothes

Sometimes body odor absorbs into your clothing. If you notice an unpleasant smell after putting on clean clothes, consider whether you're wearing a well-worn sweater or old activewear that may have absorbed the odor. Switching up your laundry detergent and opting for natural, breathable materials like cotton or linen can prevent excessive odor.


Stress and anxiety can also cause sweat and body odor. Adding daybreak meditation or afternoon yoga to your fitness routine is a good way to manage stress and anxiety.

Health Issues

If you're still experiencing lasting body odor after trying these methods, you may want to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Excessive body odor and sweating can be associated with medical conditions such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism.

Tackling Post-Shower Body Odor

A shower should leave you feeling fresh and clean. If you still have lingering underarm odor, it's important to make sure you know how to properly wash your armpits. Spend at least 30 seconds scrubbing under each arm with soap.

Taking steps to reduce body odor will leave you smelling like flowers.

While body odor can be annoying, some is completely normal. By washing thoroughly, avoiding triggers that cause more sweating, and applying a deodorant like Tom's of Maine Long Lasting Deodorant to clean, dry underarms, you can feel fresh and confident in any situation.

To learn more about reducing odor, check out when to use antiperspirant vs. deodorant.

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Why It's Good

Body odor is completely normal, but you can take steps to prevent lingering underarm odor to feel fresh, clean, and confident throughout the day. Whether it's removing certain foods from your diet or changing soaps, these easy adjustments can make a big difference in combatting body odor.