While some people might argue that the scent of summer is sweet-smelling flowers, cotton candy, or ocean spray, I’d like to counter that the real aroma (shall we say?) that reminds me of this time of year is… body odor. In the middle of a heatwave, there isn’t an armpit among us that isn’t tinged with a funky smell. It’s certainly not a bad thing, but if you’re looking to find a body wash that can bust through even the strongest odors, look no further. These sudsy formulas are able to cut through the bacteria that often leads to B.O.
“Body odor comes from bacterial byproducts,” says Mona Gohara, MD, a board-certified dermatologist. “There is a type of gland called the apocrine gland that produces bacteria, which produces smelly byproducts that we know as B.O.” So it’s not even your sweat that can lead to a not-so-nice smell—it’s the bacteria living on your body (which sweat can feed).
Smelling sweet, sans B.O., comes down to a healthy microbiome, or the millions of bacteria that live on your skin. “Making sure your microbiome is intact so that the smelly bacteria doesn’t grow out of control is essential,” says Dr. Gohara. With your body wash, she says it’s critical to opt for something gentle. “Harsh soaps disrupt the microbiome, which allows bacteria to grow out of control and enter smellsville, U.S.A.”
As far as ingredients go, look for something with skin-friendly ingredients, such as ceramides, niacinamide, and fatty acids, which you’ll find in all the best body washes for body odor. “Stick with pH-neutral, sulfate-free, and microbiome-gentle body washes,” says Dr. Gohara. “This makes sure your barrier remains intact and the skin’s living, protective layer is working optimally.” Keep scrolling to shop one for yourself, and be on your merry way to a funk-free personal fragrance.
8 of the best body washes for body odor
1. Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash, $7
Dr. Gohara’s top recommendation? This Dove body wash, which leaves your skin soft and moisturized after ridding your skin of dirt and grime.
2. Necessaire The Body Wash, $25
This body wash has only been around for a short time, but it’s already reached cult status because it’s chic, gentle, and effective. The formula contains niacinamide to nourish your barrier and uses mild, plant-based surfactants to do its cleansing job.
Pep yourself up in your morning lather with this invigorating body wash, which is infused with citrus essential oils plus aloe vera, glycerin, and coconut oil for a soft, smooth finish.
4. Rahua Body Shower Gel, $30
Teleport yourself to the Amazon with this tropical body wash, which comes in a gel texture and is filled with antioxidants and fatty acids that feed your skin.
This moisturizing body wash has a gorgeous coconut scent that adds to the so-fresh feeling you’ll get after sudsing up with the skin barrier-friendly formula.
Moisturizing shea butter is the star ingredient in this body wash. It’s soothing for all skin types, and keeps your natural moisture intact post rinse thanks to soy milk, panthenol, and silk proteins.
The combo of sea buckthorn berries and sesame oil in this bubbly leaves your entire body silky-soft and smelling like fresh citrus.
Rinse away B.O. with this sweet vanilla body wash, which has vitamins A and E, and coconut oil for a hydrating shower sesh.