Few things are more embarrassing than a strong or even unpleasant body odour caused by excessive sweating. But contrary to popular belief, sweat by itself is virtually odourless.
Sweating is an essential part of your body’s temperature control system. When body temperature rises due to physical exertion or being in hot surroundings, the evaporation of sweat from the skin produces a cooling effect. Sweat is made up of mostly water, but it also contains some salts and proteins. It is made in glands in the deeper layer of your skin. These glands are all over your body but there are more of them in your armpits, palms, forehead, and on the soles of your feet.
There are many other factors that take part in producing the bad odour of sweat that may include diest, stress and medical conditions but the more likely reason is simply poor hygiene. Sweat itself does not smell but body odour may occur when bacteria on the skin break down acids and proteins contained in the sweat produced by apocrine glands, which are located in the armpits, breasts, and genital-anal area. The process that breaks down these proteins produce waste products and it’s these waste products that cause the unpleasant smell. The reason the smell is usually stronger in your armpits, groin and feet is that those areas are usually hidden away from light, and they’re warmer and damper.
Maintaining good hygiene and a good skincare routine is crucial for body odour when sweating. Even the most diligent of people will deal with unpleasant body odour at some point in their lives, though. Nobody can escape bad body odour from sweat.
How can I stop smelly sweat?
If you suspect there could be a medical reason behind your body odour, get that checked out first and foremost.
However, if you’re in the clear, and just want to smell a bit fresher, try these tips:
- Wash more frequently: most sweat smells are simply caused by bacteria on the skin. Washing more often and using perfumed shower gels and bath products will help.
- Wear deodorant and antiperspirants: if you find your current deodorant isn’t cutting it, look for one which offers more protection against sweat.
- Wear clothes and shoes that allow air to circulate. Your clothes and shoes may also influence the smell of your sweat, because synthetic fabrics and antiperspirants prevent your body from breathing properly. You should try natural materials and fabrics.
- Drink more water: drinking more water will dilute your sweat further, making smells less noticeable.
- Diet: your diet can alter the smell of your sweat, spices, seasonings and eating lots of meat can all impact how much you sweat, and how it smells.