Body odor is a normal part of the human experience and every single person in the world has body odor. Like our genetic makeup or our fingerprint, our body odour is 100% unique to us – hence dogs and other animals can identify us with our body odor.
Problem is that when a body gives off a scent others may find unpleasant and can effect our social/business life.
In this post I will try to detail the cause of body odor, its relationship with sweating and other some little-known and mostly ignored factors that cause body odor.
First of all, body odor is related with sweating however its not that sweating causing bad odor. Normally sweat itself doesn’t have a smell. When you sweat, the bacteria on our body break down certain proteins in the sweat into acids. So, it’s not also the bacteria that stink. It’s the by-product of the bacteria breaking down the sweat.
So here is the formula for body odor: Sweating (either thermal or emotional – i will explain this in details) à Bacteria growth on skin (as a result of lots of food!) à Acids caused by bacteria à Body Odor
So unless you understand this chain, its very difficult to understand and solve the body odor problem completely. Actually, to solve the problem we need to break this chain at some point – either reducing sweating or controlling bacteria growth or eliminating/masking the acid odor.
Lets start with sweating. Sweat comes from the areas of our body with the most sweat glands such as under our arms, the palms of our hands, the bottom of our feet, and between our legs. There are three types of sweating:
- Thermal sweating:
The primary purpose of thermal sweating is to regulate our body temperature. Our eccrine sweat glands produce the sweat needed for this. Exercising, hot weather, improper clothing etc. can all cause thermal sweating.
Dealing with thermal sweating is easy. You are full aware that you are sweating and taking showers, changing clothes may eliminate the sweat from your body eliminating the uncontrolled bacteria growth risk.
- Emotional sweating:
Although little-known, emotional sweating is linked to stress and anxiety and is one of the most influential causes of body odor. Especially sweating related to stress and anxiety causes permanent body odor if you are constantly suffering from these emotional situations. So, you may notice a sudden breakout of B.O. right before your big presentation or after a particularly hair-raising event
Emotional sweat comes from your apocrine glands and is usually excessive. The reaction between your apocrine sweat and your skin bacteria results in significantly more unpleasant body odor than in the case of thermal sweating.
- Genetic & Hormonal sweating:
The way we smell is fundamentally based on our genetics. Some of us have different genetics (such as people from East Asia tend to sweat less and have less body odour than people from Africa and Europe).
Additionally, some situations such as dieting, being overweight or having certain medical conditions may cause excessive sweating than others.
As mentioned most of the body odor problems cause from sweating hence you need to understand which kind of sweating you have. After figuring out reasons for sweating you can take measures to eliminate either excessive sweating and/or taking care of your body hygiene properly to reduce bacteria growth.
Meanwhile also note that some forms of body odor are not directly related to sweating – although they are also mostly related to bacteria. Bad breath, smelly hair, genital odor problems mostly cause from bacteria and poor hygiene. Therefore do not assume there is only one cause for all types of body odor.
Never quit – B.O is something you can eliminate from your life completely. Note that eliminating all body odors problems from your life requires clear understanding of the underlying reasons, educating yourself with the correct information and changing your lifestyle including your day-to-day habits. You’re Worth It!