The Anatomy of Body Odor

Ever get a whiff off someone and wonder what in the world might cause such a pong? Find out!


The Science of Stank

● Body odor is a combination of sweat and bacteria. Sweat is actually odorless; it’s the bacteria that live on body sweat that create the putrid scent.

There are Two Types of Sweat

● ...eccrine and apocrine. Eccrine lowers body temperature and is produced all over the body. It doesn’t smell. Apocrine is made up of fats and proteins, and is produced only in places such as the armpits, groin and feet. On its own, it doesn’t smell. But when bacteria get a hold of it, the stank party is soon in full effect.

Reasons We Reek

● Poor hygiene. The primary reason for smelling like sh*# is because we don’t bathe enough. It’s as simple as that.

● Spicy food. Eat this and it’s not just your breath that’ll stink. Spicy foods such as cumin, curry, garlic and onion produce bad-smelling, sulfur-containing gases that can cause body odor up to 24 hours later.

● Sweating. Some people just sweat a lot, and in many cases they suffer the wrath of reek.

● Excess stress. When under significant stress, the body’s natural fight-or-flight response takes over and increases sweating to prevent the body from overheating.

● Failure to dry. You don’t have to be a fat bastard for moisture to get trapped in the folds of your skin after a shower. Any crevice that’s not thoroughly dried can become a breeding area for fungi and bacteria, especially in places with no access to air.

● Family funk. One of the biggest causes of body odor is genetics. Unfortunately, mom or dad may have passed on a disease that causes overactive sweat glands. Others inherit a natural body odor that smells like a cow pasture.

● Just like fingerprints or DNA, individual odor types are genetically determined odors of each person, containing volatile organic compounds that make your scent unique.

● According to a 2006 anthropological study performed in the Czech Republic, meat-eaters outrank their vegetarian counterparts.

Gender Fetor: Onion vs. Cheese

● Studies reveal that women’s body odor contains high levels of sulphur compound, which when combined with bacteria feeding on sweat produces the smell of onion. Men’s sweat, on the other hand, was found to contain high levels of fatty acid that when mixed with bacteria smells like cheese.

Celebrity Stench

● According to reports, Elvis wasn’t a fan of regular bathing. To maintain that minimum-bathing lifestyle, he took Nullo deodorant tablets daily. Apparently, they didn’t work...

● Celebrity Matthew McConaughey revealed in 2008 that he never uses deodorant. The following day, he received a year’s supply of Axe deodorant body spray from Unilever, along with a message suggesting why he might want to start.

For access to exclusive fitness advice, interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!