Body odor is a common condition, and most people are affected by it at one time or another. Some people have worse body odor than others. Most body odor is caused by sweating, but it is not the sweat that smells. Sweat has very little odor itself. The culprits creating the odor are millions of bacteria that live on the skin. Sweat provides a fertile breeding ground for these bacteria. They feed off of the proteins and fats in the sweat. They also reproduce in the sweat, expanding their numbers the longer the sweat remains present. As the bacteria eat and reproduce they create certain acids as byproducts. It is these bacteria-created acids that give off the odor. The two acids that cause the most smell are propionic acid and isovaleric acid.
The human body has two different types of sweat glands: eccrine glands and apocrine glands. Eccrine glands are located over the entire surface of the skin. They are primarily responsible for cooling us down when we get too hot. Sweat from eccrine glands is mostly water and salt. The salt helps to prevent the bacteria from metabolizing the small amounts of other substances in the sweat, so the sweat from the eccrine glands is relatively odorless. Apocrine glands are located in specific parts of the body: armpits, ears, genital area, breasts, and eyelids. The sweat produced by the apocrine glands has high concentrations of proteins and fats that are easily digested by bacteria. Thatís why these areas are known to have a pungent odor after sweating.
Different people smell differently because of their body chemistry. Some people smell worse than others because they excrete less salt in their sweat. This makes it easier for the bacteria to create their smelly acids. People who are obese, sweat a lot, or eat spicy foods can often have a stronger body odor than others. Medical conditions, such as diabetes, can also cause affect the chemistry of the sweat that, in turn, affects body odor. Some medicines also have side effects that can affect body odor.
Posted 5127 day ago