Everybody experiences body odor, but that doesn’t make it any less embarrassing. Learn what causes body odor, the different types and fresh tips to stop the stink.

Body odor. We’ve all been there.

Maybe it’s after a hard gym session or on a sweltering summer day. Maybe you were rushing out the door and forgot to put on deodorant.

Whatever the situation, body odor stinks. It can be stressful, anxiety-inducing and difficult to hide.

Luckily, we created the ultimate guide to body odor to help you keep your B.O. in check. We’ve covered it all — the good, the bad and the just plain smelly.

Plug your nose and let’s dive in.

In This Guide:

The Science Behind Body Odor

Body odor is an unpleasant smell your body gives off.

You probably associate body odor with sweat. But your sweat is actually odorless by itself. Body odor occurs when your sweat reacts with the bacteria on your skin.

Body odor can get so severe that it becomes a medical condition, known as bromhidrosis, osmidrosis or ozochrotia.

So how can you stop the pesky stench? Understanding why you sweat is the first step.

There are two types of sweat glands in your body: eccrine and apocrine glands.

endocrine glands

Eccrine glands exist all over your body, and their purpose is to regulate your body temperature when you’re hot or exercising. Eccrine glands secrete sweat that is almost entirely made up of water, with tiny amounts of other chemicals like ammonia and salt.

apocrine glands

Apocrine glands are located in specific areas – armpits, breasts, genitals, eyelids and ears. These glands become active during puberty. The sweat these glands release is a white, milky fluid containing proteins and lipids that bacteria feed on — releasing the unpleasant smell you know as body odor.

Why exactly do humans produce body odor?

evolution of sweat

Body odor could actually have an evolutionary connection. Apocrine glands become active during puberty and are largely concentrated near the sex organs, leading many scientists to believe that body odor has a role in mating.

Research also shows that humans can identify blood-related kin, siblings and parents by their body odor.

Types of Body Odor

types of body odor

You’re most likely to experience body odor in these areas:

  • Armpits
  • Feet
  • Groin
  • Genitals
  • Belly button
  • Behind the ears
  • Pubic hair and other hair

Believe it or not, your body odor also changes with different life stages. Here are a few examples.

Body Odor During Puberty

Body odor usually becomes apparent during puberty. Between the ages of 8-13 in girls and 9-15 in boys, puberty hormones stimulate the apocrine sweat glands in the armpit and genital areas.

Apocrine glands secrete proteins and lipids that mix with the bacteria on your skin and produce that distinct B.O. smell. Experiencing body odor during puberty is completely normal, and it’s something every young person goes through.

Body Odor During Menopause

Along with hot flashes and night sweats, body odor is another bothersome symptom of menopause. Many women notice a change in their body odor during menopause. A dip in estrogen can trigger night sweats and hot flashes, causing you to sweat more and increasing your chance of producing odor.

Many women also experience anxiety or stress during menopause, causing unwanted odor.

Foot Odor

While most people experience smelly feet every once in a while, some people live in constant fear of taking their shoes off.

The medical term for chronic smelly feet is bromodosis.

The most common cause of smelly feet is a combination of bacteria and moisture. When you wear socks and shoes, your feet get sweaty and your skin can’t breathe – giving odor-causing bacteria the perfect environment to thrive.

Moisture on the feet can also cause fungal infections like athlete’s foot, which can also give off unpleasant smells.

What Causes Body Odor?

Every person has a unique smell.

That’s because a combination of internal and external factors plays into how you smell. These include:

Alcohol and Caffeine


When you drink, your liver metabolizes most of the alcohol and excretes it through your urine. But if you drink too much or too fast, your liver can’t process the amount of alcohol. Your body releases the excess alcohol through your breath and pores, creating an unpleasant body odor.

Caffeine can also affect your body odor. Coffee is a diuretic that makes you feel thirsty. The resulting dry mouth can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria and unpleasant odor. Most coffee drinks are also hot, which can raise your body temperature and make you sweat more.



Antiperspirants don’t prevent body odor like deodorants do. Their primary purpose is to block your sweat ducts from producing sweat. But one study found that antiperspirants have the potential to increase the amount of odor-causing bacteria in the armpits, leading to a spike in body odor.

Skipping Showers


This one might seem obvious. But regardless of whether you exercised or not, skipping daily showers causes bacteria to build up on the skin.

High Stress Levels

High Stress Levels

Stress sweat comes from a different type of gland than regular sweat.

When you’re stressed, your increased heart rate and surge in body temperature cause you to sweat. Your apocrine glands secrete an odorless white, milky fluid that consists of water, proteins and fats. This liquid mixes with the bacteria on your skin to produce B.O.

Medical Conditions

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions cause you to produce more sweat and body odor than normal.

  • Diabetes: Diabetes patients often experience a sudden change in smell or body odor. High levels of blood glucose and more frequent urinary tract infections can increase body odor and bad breath.
  • Hyperthyroidism: When you have an overactive thyroid, your body produces an abundance of sweat, even if you aren’t exerting yourself. Increased body odor often accompanies excessive sweat.
  • Genetic Disorders: While rare, gene mutations can also affect body odor. Trimethylaminuria is a condition where your body can’t break down the chemical compound, trimethylamine. This chemical gives fish its



People with a higher body mass tend to sweat more. Fat insulates the body and raises its core temperature, causing increased sweat production and a higher risk of body odor. Obesity can also decrease airflow in sweaty areas, giving odor-causing bacteria a perfect climate to breed.



Certain foods can intensify unpleasant body odor.


Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts contain sulfur, which your body absorbs and secretes through your sweat glands.


Spicy Foods: Spices like curry and cumin can get trapped in your pores and emit a strong, unpleasant odor.


Refined Sugar: Foods high in refined sugar can lead to yeast overgrowth. Having an abundance of intestinal yeast causes sugars to convert into alcohols that contribute to B.O.


Fish: Certain fish like salmon and tuna contain choline, a member of the B-complex vitamin family that emits a naturally fishy smell. Some people who eat a serving of fish will secrete choline in their sweat for up to a day.


Red Meat: The amino acids in red meat leave behind a residue in your intestines. Internal enzymes break down the residue, which then mixes with bacteria on your skin and intensifies your body odor when you sweat.


No-Carb or Low-Carb Diet: When you cut back on carbs, your body starts burning fat for energy. This process produces a chemical that can make your sweat smell like nail polish remover or fruity.

When Is Body Odor Considered a Medical Condition?

You might smell from time to time. But how do you know when it surpasses the realm of normal?

Bromhidrosis, also known as osmidrosis, is the medical condition for chronic foul body odor. People who have bromhidrosis produce excessive sweat and odor-causing bacteria. The odor often resembles a cheese-like or onion-like smell, common in the armpit and groin regions.

Trimethylaminuria (TMAU), also known as fish odor syndrome, is a rare metabolic disorder that causes the compound trimethylamine to be released in a person’s sweat, urine and breath, giving off a strong fishy odor.

Medical Doctor

When to See a Doctor About Your Body Odor

We all experience sweat and body odor. It’s a natural part of life. But sometimes there are situations when it’s too much.

If sweat or body odor interferes with your daily life, it could indicate an underlying medical condition. Consult your doctor if:

  • You start sweating at night.
  • You start sweating more than usual without any logical reason.
  • You experience cold sweats.
  • Sweating or odor interrupts your daily routine.
  • Your body smells different than usual. A fruity or bleach-like smell could be an early indicator of diabetes, liver or kidney disease.

How to Get Rid of Body Odor

In most cases, body odor is treatable and manageable. Follow these expert tips to get rid of body odor.

Change Your Personal Hygiene Routine

Sometimes, a few small tweaks to your personal care routine can make a world of difference when it comes to reducing body odor. Keep these hygiene hacks in mind:


Shower at least once a day, even if you don’t feel like you need it.


Shower after you exercise.


Wash your sweaty areas thoroughly, including your armpits and groin area.


Trim or shave your pits. Research shows having less armpit hair can reduce the amount of sweat and body odor you produce.


Wash your clothes regularly.


Wash your workout clothes after every exercise session.


Change out your towel, loofah and washcloth frequently to prevent bacteria and dirt from building up.


Wash your sweaty areas thoroughly with antibacterial soap. Antibacterial soap fights and prevents odor rather than just masking it with fragrance. It comes in many forms, including liquid body wash and bar soap. Just look for the word “antibacterial” on the packaging.

Use Natural Home Remedies to Fight Body Odor

You can find lots of odor-fighting ingredients in your kitchen or bathroom cabinet.

Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is a natural astringent. It contracts your skin’s tissues and reduces the amount of sweat you produce. Most witch hazel extracts also contain rubbing alcohol, which helps fight odor-causing bacteria.

Douse a cotton ball with witch hazel and apply it on your underarms after showering.

Apple Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is antimicrobial and naturally acidic. It destroys smelly bacteria by balancing out the pH level of your skin.

Douse a cotton ball with witch hazel and apply it on your underarms after showering.

Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is another acidic ingredient that neutralizes your underarm area and fights smelly bacteria.

Rub half a lemon directly on your armpits once daily. If your skin is extra sensitive, you can mix equal parts lemon juice and water to dilute the solution.


Be careful when applying strong acidic ingredients like the ones mentioned above. Only apply them to clean, dry skin to avoid burning or irritation. Avoid using these remedies if you have any cuts or razor burns.

Wear Deodorant

Deodorants work by killing the odor-causing bacteria on your skin. But not all deodorants are created equal. Here are some of our favorite tried-and-tested deodorants for fighting body odor.

Apply a Strong Antiperspirant

Wear Deodorant

Heavy sweaters often experience stronger body odor than normal. When you sweat excessively, the odor-causing bacteria on your skin have more moisture to feed on.

Try a prescription-strength antiperspirant with a high concentration of aluminum chloride, a chemical that plugs your sweat ducts and blocks them from producing sweat.

Learn more about antiperspirant here.

Choose Odor-Resistant Clothing

Choose Odor-Resistant Clothing

The material of your clothes can affect how much sweat and odor your body produces.

Natural fibers like cotton, wool and silk let your skin breathe and sweat evaporate faster, reducing body odor.

Wearing a sweat proof undershirt like the Thompson Tee is a great way to keep body odor at bay. Every Thompson Tee is equipped with a patented sweat proof barrier in the underarms, which completely absorbs sweat and prevents odor from reaching your outer layer.

The Thompson Tee is also anti-microbial and hypoallergenic, offering a gentle, natural solution to fight sweat and B.O.

Change Your Diet

Change Your Diet

Foods to Eat:

  • Fruits and non-sulfurous vegetables
  • Yogurt
  • Kombucha
  • Pickles
  • Kefir
  • Fresh sauerkraut
  • Herbs

Foods to Avoid:

  • Spicy foods like curry
  • Garlic and onion
  • Too much red meat
  • Sulfurous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower
  • Processed foods

Say Goodbye to Body Odor With the Thompson Tee

If you sweat a lot, preventing body odor can seem nearly impossible.

That’s why Thompson Tee co-founders Billy and Randy spent over 10 years developing the best sweat proof undershirt for excessive sweat and body odor.

Every Thompson Tee comes equipped with a patented sweat proof barrier in the underarms. The Hydro-Shield technology completely absorbs moisture and prevents smelly sweat from reaching your outer layer. That means no more wet marks, yellow stains or unfortunate B.O. incidents.

What are other people saying about The Thompson Tee?

Thompson Tee Withstands 150 Degree Weather

TV reporter Jason Pederson put the Thompson Tee to the test by exercising in 150 degree weather to definitively answer just that.

Check out his results after running 500 yards and hundreds of steps in a dress shirt and Thompson Tee.

Thompson Tee Customer Shares His Story

Working in corporate sales operations, Joe Dopirak was desperate for a solution to his embarrassing underarm sweating, but nothing seemed to work. Then he found the Thompson Tee.

Watch this video to learn how the Thompson Tee helped Joe subdue the effects of hyperhidrosis, avoid invasive treatments and medications and regain his confidence.

"Results may vary based on individual user and are not guaranteed."

Try a Thompson Tee For Yourself RISK FREE FOR 30 DAYS

We gladly accept returns or exchanges on all opened or used Thompson Tee shirts up to 30 days from purchase date so feel free to wear it, wash it and try it.


Men's Sweat Proof Shirts


Crewneck / V-Neck / Deep V-Neck

Crewneck / V-Neck

Women's Sweat Proof Shirts


Scoop Neck

Scoop Neck / V-Neck