​Unexpected Causes of Body Odor (And How to Deal With Them)

We’ve all been that person. You’re sitting a room. Most likely it’s hot and crowded. Maybe you’re sweating bullets before a big presentation. Suddenly a smell wafts through the room. No one mentions it, but you know it’s there — body odor.

Body odor is everyone’s nightmare. It’s unpleasant, embarrassing and uncomfortable. It also occurs when you least expect it.

Although it’s impossible to avoid developing body odor completely, knowing what causes B.O. is the first step in preventing it. Most people assume sweat causes body odor, but that’s not quite correct.

There are a lot of other unexpected causes of B.O. you may not be aware of. Read on to learn what causes body odor and how to deal with it.

What is Body Odor?

We know that our sweat doesn’t smell. So what causes body odor?

Body odor is the smell our bodies give off when the bacteria living on our skin interacts with our sweat and breaks it down into acids. Also known as ozochrotia, osmidrosis, or bromhidrosis, body odor occurs primarily in the armpits and groin area.

Where Does Body Odor Come From?

Knowing where your body odor is emanating from is just as important as knowing what causes it. Common areas of the body to pay close attention to include:

  • Feet
  • Armpits
  • Groin
  • Genitals
  • Anus
  • Behind your ears
  • Pubic hair
  • Other areas of the skin, to a lesser extent

Unexpected Causes of Body Odor

Exercise and hot temperatures aren’t the only causes of body odor. Here are a few other unexpected causes of body odor.

Feet and Body Odor

Smelly feet are a common body odor complaint. When your feet are encapsulated in your socks and shoes, it prevents sweat from evaporating. The result is an unpleasant smell that can stay with your shoes long after you’ve switched them out.

To ease your stinky feet, make sure to wash and change your socks regularly, especially after a long day. You can also purchase foot powder to soak up extra sweat in your shoes.

Puberty and Body Odor

Age affects body odor. As teens enter puberty, they begin to sweat more. Remember those apocrine glands? They are at full power in a teen.

Luckily, a few hygiene upgrades solve puberty-related body odor issues. Check out our guide to teen sweating for more information on sweating during puberty.

Obesity and Body Odor

Body weight can also affect body odor. Extra weight creates additional folds in your skin. The skin folds decrease airflow and increase sweat, creating conditions prime for body odor.

Reducing body mass through exercise and healthy eating can help reduce sweating and body odor. Taking extra care to wash your skin thoroughly, including any skin folds and crevices, can improve body odor.

Food, Diet and Body Odor

Have an affinity for spicy foods? They may also be the source of your B.O.

Besides bad breath, you may be surprised to know that garlic, curry and other spices can produce unpleasant sulfur-containing gasses. These gases are released through our skin pores and can remain for three or four hours after a meal, producing body odor.

If you sweat a lot or have a big presentation coming up, it may be a good idea to skip the curry at lunch.

It’s not just food either. Alcohol and boozy drinks also influence body odor. If you have a few extra drinks, your liver and urine can’t process the extra alcohol. Any surplus is excreted through your sweat and breath.

Stress and Body Odor

It’s not surprising with all of the medical conditions brought on by stress that if affects your sweat and body odor as well.

Stress affects B.O. significantly. Stress sweat is actually more pungent than sweat from heat or exercise.

Dealing with stressful situations is never easy, but there are things you can do to help alleviate stress, such as meditation, exercise and deep breathing techniques.

Hygiene and Body Odor

Although hygiene might be considered an obvious solution to controlling body odor, many of us still don’t pay enough attention to it.

Because many of our apocrine glands are in our armpits, keeping armpits clean by using an anti-bacterial soap and an effective deodorant are critical.

Controlling hair in armpits has also been found to help regulate body odor. Shaving under your arms regularly promotes proper ventilation and helps with sweat evaporation.

Finally, washing regularly, not re-wearing clothes and a strong antiperspirant can keep body odor under control.

Medical Conditions and Body Odor

Certain medical conditions can also impact body odor. Liver disease, kidney disease and diabetes can affect sweating and body odor. If you sense your body smells different than usual, are beginning to sweat at night, or sweating more than usual without a logical explanation, consider seeing your doctor for a health evaluation or screening.

Read more on medical conditions that cause body odor.

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When it comes to body odor, the first line of defense is controlling your sweat. That’s where Thompson Tee comes in. The proprietary Hydro-Shield technology stops sweat from seeping through your shirt. Less sweat, less B.O.

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