You lather on deodorant each morning but can't seem to mask that subtle (yet deadly) B.O. smell. So why do armpits smell despite your valiant efforts — and what can you do about it?

Because Science

More than 1,000 bacteria species live on your skin. B.O. happens when these bacteria break down proteins in your sweat. The byproduct? Acids that give off that onion-like odor.

But why do armpits smell worse than other body parts?

It’s simple — armpit sweat is high in protein thanks to special sweat glands in the area. With more protein for bacteria to feed off, your pits produce more acid.

And the more acid produced, the smellier the pit.

Enough Science...Why Do Armpits Really Smell?

Protein-eating bacteria causes smelly pits, but daily habits also contribute to the problem. Here are real-world reasons why your armpits smell and what to do about it.

You Need to Change Your Hygiene Habits

When it comes to personal hygiene, everyone has a different philosophy. A couple swipes of natural deodorant might help one person and leave another reeking of B.O. within minutes. If your hygiene habits need an upgrade, try this:

Up Your Shower Game

Infrequent showering causes bacteria to build up on your skin. Showering once a day might not be enough. Wash in the morning and before you go to bed with antibacterial or deodorant soap.

Dial and Tom’s both have great options you can try.

Wash Your Pits With Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide, a common ingredient in acne washes, doubles as a B.O. killer.

Check if your morning face wash contains this antibacterial component, and splash some under your pits. Just be careful not to shave first, or it'll sting.

Pick up this benzoyl peroxide wash from Neutrogena for $6.

Go Natural

If your armpits smell no matter how many soaps, deodorants and chemicals you apply, switch to a natural routine.

Antibacterial soaps kill both odor-causing and odor-fighting bacteria.

Without enough good bacteria, bad bacteria multiply and cause your armpits to smell. Switching to a natural routine can help alleviate this problem.

For more information, check out our blog: What to Expect When Switching to Natural Deodorant.

You Have a Poor Diet, Gut Health Issues or Digestion Problems

Poor diet, gut health and digestion issues contribute to 7 percent of body odor issues.

If your armpits produce a special kind of stink, your diet might be to blame. When you sweat after eating spicy and sulfurous foods, they emit a nasty odor through your pores.

Bad B.O. could also signal an enzyme deficiency. Without enzymes, your body can't break down food properly. The bi-products released through your skin can be smelly.

Your Deodorant Fails Midday or You Forget It Altogether

We've all been there. Right as you confidently stride into work, the realization that you forgot deodorant washes over you like a dark cloud.

Luckily, forgetting to wear deodorant doesn't have to spell doomsday for your pits — and reputation. Try these tips to avert a crisis.

Apply Hand Sanitizer

You know what they say, hand sanitizer kills 99.9% of germs. In a pinch, rub some under your pits to reduce B.O. This hack isn’t for the fainthearted — it will sting.

Break Out the Alcohol

When all else fails, crack open a bottle of booze, and knock it back. Just kidding.

Alcohol contains antibacterial properties. So when you need to kill your B.O. fast, splash some under your pits.

Plain vodka is the best type to use. Stay away from anything with sugar — unless you're looking for sticky pits.

Have you discovered other causes behind armpit stink? Want to share solutions that work for you? Sound off in the comments section below! For more tips to reduce B.O., check out our blog post: How to Get Rid of Body Odor: 5 Quick Natural Solutions.