So here’s the thing, no one likes to have these conversations because basic hygiene skills and etiquettes are supposed to be taught from a young age. However, with the acceleration of the use of new fibres, and materials in our clothes, or methods of hair removal, a change in diet, or even hormones, all can lead to a number of different reactions and smells that bubble up from our bodies. Since we are approaching Summer, and since we are in the month of Ramadan with the Mosques packed with sweaty bodies lined up every night. It is the perfect time to provide a little advice on etiquettes surrounding odours, that I guess can come in handy.
Firstly, I want to point out if someone you know suffers from foot or body odour first thing to take into consideration is that there is a very high chance they are more sensitive to the smells of their own body, more self-aware and thus shower/ try to stay clean as often as they can, perhaps even more than you. However, for many reasons, they just end up smelling a little more than others. They may excrete more sweat, they may be shaving wrong, hormone changes or imbalances may be causing a smell, you get the picture. So rule number one is to remove any judgement. They know, so no need to embarrass them by mentioning it to them. Perhaps Allah is testing you by putting them in your vicinity during this time. Frankly, we have all had embarrassing body moments, and we really need to move past this shame culture, let’s get enlightened!
A number of things can cause foot odour, mostly it is caused when the perspiration from the foot has nowhere to evaporate to, however it is not actually the sweat itself that is causing the odour. Bacteria that live on the person’s skin, eat the sweat producing isovaleric acid, which is what causes the odour. Athletes foot is another cause for odour. Anyone can get sweaty feet, however, pregnant women and teenagers are more prone to it due to rapid hormone changes. You are also more likely to have foot perspiration if you are on your feet all day. That includes a 9-5 worker, or stay at home mum, no one is exempt.
According to podiatrist, Lorraine Jones, feet become smelly if sweat soaks into shoes and they don’t dry before you wear them again. Bacteria on the skin break down sweat as it comes from the pores. A cheesy odour is released as the sweat decomposes.
Basically, when you sweat into your shoes, constantly all day, the shoes get damp this is where the bacteria begin to grow, and breed, more so if you have taken your shoes off and put them in a dark damp cupboard perfect conditions for bacteria to thrive, so it doesn’t matter if you have showered, scrubbed your feet and put on new socks, the same problem will continue to prop up.
Here are some quick solutions:
Smelly feet are quite harmless, sometimes it can be your bodies way of telling you, somethings up. To raise alarm, and to ensure you’re taking care of the rest of your body.