Your groin is the perfect incubator for unpleasant smells: it’s hot, humid, and tucked beneath layers of stink-trapping clothing.
“Sweat and moisture mix with the natural bacteria on your skin to cause body odour,” explains Dr. Kelley Pagliai Redbord, a dermatologist at George Washington University. Specifically, your groin contains a number of apocrine glands that release secretions which, when mixed with sweat, can lead to some alarming scents, she adds.
Even if you’ve never caught a whiff of something nasty—or heard complaints from your companions—there are probably some unsightly smells lurking in your underwear. Along with turning them off from oral sex, one smelly encounter could earn you a bad rep with your partner and their pals.
Here’s our guide to warding off these unwanted aromas:
1. Start with a Strong Wash
You’ve already lost the war if you fail to clean out the bad-smelling gunk that accumulates in the many folds and clefts that comprise your groin area, says Dr. Tobias Köhler, a urologist at Southern Illinois University.
He says elbow grease and attention to detail are the most important parts of washing. “Don’t just wipe some soap on the area,” he warns. “Use some pressure and get into all those crevices.”
An antibacterial soap could also help if all else fails, Redbord says. And if you’re uncircumcised, be sure to clean below your foreskin, she stresses.
2. Break Out the Trimmer
Pubic hair traps dampness and odours, and also makes it difficult for the underlying skin to stay cool and dry, Redbord says.
You don’t have to shave yourself bare. But pruning your hedges with a beard trimmer can help keep gross odours at bay, she says.
3. Let It Dry Out
“Reduce moisture, and you’ll reduce body odor,” Redbord promises. To do that, she says it’s necessary to fully dry out your junk before dressing—especially during the summer when you’re hot all the time. “Consider using a blow dryer to get the area completely dry,” she suggests. (Now you’ll get to be that guy at the gym.)
Damp towels or washcloths also accumulate bacteria, so they could contribute to your problem, Redbord adds. Make sure you’re using clean, dry linens every time you step out of the shower.
4. Tag in These Finishing Touches
Cotton is breathable, and so sporting cotton briefs and clothing can help keep your package stink-free, Redbord says. In the middle of the summer when the temps and humidity skyrocket, a swipe of underarm deodorant on the underside of your scrotum can also help target the area of your worst odour, she adds.