Basic Science

Do You Know Science Behind Body Odor?

What causes body odor?

Do You Know Science Behind Body Odor?

We all think that sweat is the reason behind the body odor but is it right? No. actually, sweat is odorless. This odor is because of our skin. Our skin has two glands apocrine glands and eccrine glands. Eccrine glands mostly produce sweat which is water in all over our body whereas apocrine glands are concentrated in certain regions like armpit, ear canals. They produce thicker sweats contain protein. Bacteria is present all over our skin and when apocrine glands produce sweat bacteria breaks down the protein in that sweat which results in odor. The odor comes in this way.

First of all, understand here the meaning of odor. Smell word is generally used for odor a type of smell which is unpleasant. So it is considered as unpleasant smell or bad smell.

No, come to the main point what causes our body odor? There are many reasons behind this bad smell. You might have heard- Eww, you smell so bad, just go and take a shower now. Do not think that sweat brings odor or sweat smells bad, here odor and sweat both are two different concepts. Sweat is colourless liquid only that comes out of our skin mostly water due to exercise, increased temperature and tension due to many other reasons.

What causes body odor?

So many people think that sweat is the reason behind this awful body odor but you know what they are wrong. Actually, our sweat is odorless.

Our skin contains basically two types of sweat glands. One is called eccrine glands and the other one is called apocrine glands.

Let’s talk about first; these eccrine glands are present in all over our body. Eccrine glands produce sweat which is mostly watery and salty.

Now come to the second, apocrine glands are not like eccrine glands. They are not present everywhere like eccrine glands in our body but only are concentrated in some regions. Regions like- ear canals, hair follicles, armpits etc. sweat produced in these regions are thicker which has proteins in large quantity, especially one called sialomucin.

So if sweats are not the real reason behind this odor and are odorless then what is exactly causing bad smell?

You know millions of bacteria are found all over our skin and when apocrine glands produce thick sweat which has proteins then the bacteria on our skin breakdown or crack the proteins in that sweat by releasing a very bad smell name odor or unpleasant odor. And that is how body causes odor.

Bacteria that live on our skin simply feed those proteins coming out of apocrine gland as a source of energy or food. Bacteria then break down those proteins and causes bad smell or bad odor.

That means every person produces body odor because it’s completely natural but some people stinks very bad. Why? What are possible reasons there for this mystery?

This depends totally on them means come on sweat and odor are natural but the intensity of its smell totally depends on how a person treats his/ her body.

Some reasons and solutions for really bad body odor

  • You don’t shower enough

No one wants to smell bad and hear complaints about the same but if you are too lazy to shower enough then how will you control your body odor so shower daily.

  • Consumption of more meat or spicy food than you should

Garlic, onion, meat etc. food not only makes your breath bad but also overconsumption makes your body smell bad, worse than normal.

  • You wear too uncomfortable clothes or wet clothes

Try to wear natural fibers that allow your skin to breathe, supports evaporation. That’s why people insist on wearing cotton in summers.

Strictly wear clothes after properly drying your body with the towel + wear only clean clothes properly washed and dried. Do not wear wet clothes.

Although body odor cannot be stopped completely as it’s also an important function how you smell totally depends on you whether good, nice, bad or very bad. Some people use deodorant that stops the bad smell.

Some interesting body odor facts

  • Do you know that body odor is unique like fingerprints? Every person has its own odor type. Scientists are working to identify individual odortypes to find criminals, terrorist and missing people etc.
  • Body odor clearly shows how your healthy diet is. Sweat makes it’s easy to trace spicy food consumption like onions, garlic, spicy curry or meat etc. sometimes body odor stays longer because of over-consumption of these food items.
  • Asian people have fewer body odors. It was found that East Asian people have smaller apocrine glands where the sweats get collected in comparison to European and African people.
  • Kids never smell bad. Kids body odors become the problem only when they hit puberty otherwise it’s rarely a problem. However, they may have the problem with stinky feet.

Now you know the real reason behind what causes body odor so do not mix body odor with body sweats by saying sweats have an awful smell which actually is not true. Instead, bacteria breakdown is the real reason why sweats smell bad.

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Featured Image Credit: Jessica Lucia (Flickr)

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Swati Sarraf

Hi, this is Swati Sarraf. My hobbies are Reading novels, listening to music and innovative discussions. I love to dedicate my time to things I love and I believe you can't force things for long you don't love.I am from Varanasi, studied B.com(hons) from B.H.U.

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