The Truth behind Body Odors and your Sweat

Body Odor is the signature of a person and sniff dogs use these odors to find someone. Humans have also devoted a lot of money and time to get rid of body odor or to have a good body fragrance. People use different perfumes and deodorants to smell good but it is hard to get rid of body odor. Some good fragrance may override it for few hours but eventually body odor will come back. What is the reason behind behind body odor ? Is it due to sweat or something else ? You will get answers to such question further in this article.

Why do we have Body Odors?
Body odor is created by certain chemical reactions made by microorganisms living on our skin and the sweat that we produce. More body odor is produced in certain regions such as armpits because the sweat produced there is different from other body parts. There are different micro organisms residing on different parts of skin and different type of sweat is produced on different regions which make our body smell different. The more we sweat, the more we smell.

The science behind Body Odor

We have got two type of sweat glands: eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine glands are present all over the body and their sweat is mostly made up of water, as it works to cool down the body and regulate the temperature. Apocrine glands are only at some targeted locations, such as armpits, and their sweat is mostly proteins and lipids. Bacterias residing on these locations feed on that protein. When the outer layer of protein is broken by these bacteria, certain amount of smell is produced.
  • There are around 50 thousand sweat glands on our body.
  • We produce up to one liter of sweat a day and also release harmful toxins through it.
  • Feet, groin and armpit regions produce more body odor due to presence of apocrine glands. 
  • Lesser ventilation in these areas make it an ideal place for bacteria to grow.
  • Body odor of another person helps us in accepting or rejecting him/her. It is just like we accept or reject a food item on the basis of its smell. Body odor of a person is an important factor behind attraction.
Why Body Odor is different in every person ?
There are various factors that decide the body odor of a person. Some of them are listed below.
  • Apocrine glands of different people secrete different composition of proteins and lipids. Apart from that the microbes residing on their skin can also be different. This overall difference can easily change their body odor to a great extent. 
  • Genetics play an important role in body odor. People in blood relation may have slightly similar body odor but a sniff dog can easily distinguish them.
  • The proteins that are released with sweat depends on food that you eat. So your diet is also a factor that decides your body odor.
  • Hygiene factor such as bathing also decides your body odor. If a person don't take a bath on daily basis then bacteria count on his/her skin will be high and so does odor.
  • Health conditions can also affect the proteins released in our sweat which changes the body odor.
  • If a person is nervous, anxious or under stress then he/she produces more smelly sweat due to change in protein secretion in sweat.
  • Overweight people have folds in their skin which makes it a better place for bacteria to grow and produce more body odor.
  • A woman smells more when she is going through the most fertile state of menstrual cycle.
  • Medication that you are taking can also affect your body odor.
  • Climatic condition also affect the body odor.
Is body odor a fragrance or a bad smell ?
However now we take body odor as a bad smell but the biological truth of animal kingdom is that male and female of are attracted to each other through body odor which helps in the process of reproduction. Genes of only those are forwarded in next generation who smell better than others. But humans evolved their own science of fragrance and developed perfumes to override body odor to attract others.
  • Deodorants mask the smell with a fragrance
  • Perfumes were just to put on clothes to override your body odor.
  • Probiotic deodorant promote certain bacterial colonies which can make you smell better.
  • Antiperspirants reduce the amount of sweat.
Now you must have known that body odor is caused by interaction between your own body proteins and some good bacteria on your skin. Body odor is produced only because you are feeding some good bacteria on your skin. It is good to take a bath daily to keep your skin bacteria count to a limited level which also keeps your body odor under control. You may feel sometimes that you are smelling bad because your nose is at the shortest distance from you armpit, but a person standing even in front of you might not find it as bad (someone might like it, especially opposite gender).
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