If you ask yourself how to reduce foot odor and eliminate a smell coming from your shoes, you are in the right place. Foot odor, also called bromodosis, bothers many of us. According to the 2012 National Foot Health Assessment, foot odor experience about 16% of adults (21 years old and older).
Usually, it is not a serious condition because normally it is related to wearing shoes that don’t allow foot ventilation, or it occurs after physical activities or in the summer when we sweat more. But in some people, bromodosis can be a killer of confidence, and it even keeps them in social isolation.
People who are prone to foot odor use feet deodorant or buy quality footwear that keeps their feet dry longer. After we talk a bit about foot odor and why does it occur, we will introduce proven treatments of smelly feet, and you will know tips on how to prevent stinky feet.
What is Foot Odor?
Foot odor is a part of body odor, also known as a bromhidrosis. The human body is covered by the skin where groups of bacteria called skin microbiota naturally occur. When these bacteria react with the sweat produced by sudoriferous glands (sweat glands), the smelling gasses and substances are released. While in some people, body odor is coming from armpits, others experience body odor all around the body. Feet are a sensitive part of the body because they are covered by socks and shoes almost every day, which doesn’t allow sweat to evaporate fast, and…bacteria love sweat!
What Causes Foot Odor?
We already know that there are two main factors affecting foot odor. Sweat and bacteria. This means everybody who sweat more than others, or has a higher concentration of skin bacteria due to improper hygiene or other reasons, smell more. Athlete’s foot, which is a fungal infection usually affecting sports people, is another cause of foot odor. There are also other practical reasons why somebody smells more: incorrect or insufficient hygiene habits, wearing of hermetic footwear and synthetic socks. Also, some diseases and medicaments can lead to increased foot odor. In the article 7 Causes of Foot Odor And Helpful Prevention Tips. You can find more detailed information about the causes of smelly feet.
Why Men Smell More?
Well, because they sweat more. Several researches show the fact that, while the number of sweat glands is approximately the same in men and women (around 250 000 in a pair of feet), men’s sweat glands produce a higher amount of sweat per gland. And more sweat means more possibility of smell.
7 Ways How to Eliminate Foot Odor
1. Antiperspirant for feet
You probably know many antiperspirant-deodorant sprays and roll-ons from TV or drugstores. Well, but these are for armpits. And we are looking for products specially designed for sweaty feet. There are several brands offering over-the-counter antiperspirants that usually contain some percentage of aluminum chloride (usually 12-20%) or similar chemical able to constrict sweat glands. SweatBlock for feet and hands seems to be a good solution for feet sweaters. This antiperspirant promises quick-absorbing and long-lasting anti-sweat effect.
In the article Stop Feet Sweating! Try one of the 7 Best Antiperspirants For Feet; you will find other similar products designed for reducing feet sweating.
2. Iontophoresis for feet
This method based on the acting of electrical current is used as a treatment for excessive sweating since the 1940s. It is a medical device with two containers for feet or hand. During the treatment only tap water is needed. Iontophoresis seems to be the best solution for people with palmoplantar hyperhidrosis (profusely sweating hands and feet). The biggest positives are that:
- no chemicals are used during the treatment
- iontophoresis devices can be used for home treatment
- long-lasting effect
- minimal side effects
There are several brands offering iontophoresis devices. Electroantiperspirant is probably the most known iontophoresis machine with many positive reviews. It allows to treat not only hands and feet, but due to special adapters it is possible to use it for armpits, head, and chest.
3. Botox injections
Botox is usually related to the treatment of excessive underarm sweating, but it is also successfully used for sweaty feet. Injections of Botulinum toxin A are applied directly to the affected place. The effect is longer and usually takes many months. Although there are some possible side effects, it is considered as a safe option how to get rid of profuse sweating.
Due to the fact that it is a medical procedure that has to be realized by a professional, the price is bigger than iontophoresis or antiperspirant.
4. Natural treatment of foot odor
If you belong to the people who try to solve health difficulties naturally, we have some useful tips for you.
Baking soda for smelly feet
Sodium bicarbonate, more known as baking soda, is a perfect option for how to reduce foot odor due to its ability to absorb moisture and kill odor-causing bacteria. There are a few ways how to use it.
1. You can make a bath. Mix 1/3 cup of baking soda with warm water in a bucket or a plastic container big enough for your feet. Let the fluid act for about 15 minutes and repeat this process every day.
2. You can also deodorize your shoes with baking soda. Put 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda to every shoe in the evening after wearing. Shake it and let it act during the night. Baking soda will absorb the moisture and remove the smell. Before using just spill it out of the shoes.
Use lavender oil
Lavender oil also has deodorizing effect and helps with killing bacteria. Put a few drops on your feet and massage it to the skin before you go to sleep.
Herbs will also help
Sage is known as a natural astringent that helps with constricting sweat glands. Boil a handful of dried sage leaves with hot (not boiled) water and let it infuse for about 10 minutes. Put the soak to a plastic container big enough for your feet. 15 minutes daily should make your feet less sweaty. There are also other herbs beneficial for heavy sweaters. You can read about them in the article 8 Herbs For Excessive Sweating – Natural Treatment of Hyperhidrosis.
First, don’t forget a proper hygiene. Wash your feet regularly with antibacterial soap and don’t forget the places between fingers, because these are popular for bacteria. Keep your toenails short and remove hard and dead skin from your feet.
6. Foot odor products
You can try an over-the-counter antiperspirant specially designed for sweaty feet. Here you can find the most effective ones. On the market, you can also find many deodorants for feet that will reduce odor at least for a few hours. You can combine it with spray for shoes or other treatments we mentioned above.
7. Shoes and socks
Adapt your footwear to actual weather. If possible, prefer sandals or open shoes. Change several pairs of shoes for a week. Take care of what you wear. Clean your shoes regularly, many of sneakers can be washed in a washing machine. Wear antibacterial socks that absorb moisture.