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    What’s that smell? It’s your sweat!

    It’s a widespread belief that sweat is the bad guy behind body odour. However, the truth is, human sweat itself is nearly odourless. The real trouble is the bacteria on your skin munching away on sweat proteins and releasing odours as a result.

    Body odour can be a nuisance, affecting your confidence and social interactions. While hygiene practices play a significant role in controlling it, sometimes body odour can hint at underlying health issues.

    What’s that smell? It’s your sweat!, EntertainmentSA News South Africa
    Sweat / Image: Fox News

    The Lowdown on Body Odour

    Body odour isn’t just about sweaty pits; it bring together the natural scents being released from our bodies. Our skin, mouth, and bodily fluids all contribute to our unique aroma. Puberty, obesity, certain medical conditions like diabetes, and even our diet can influence our body odour profile.

    So, why does sweat stink?

    Sweat itself is odourless. But when bacteria get busy breaking down the proteins in our sweat, they release molecules that make us smell less than fresh. That’s why people who sweat a lot, like those with hyperhidrosis, might notice stronger body odours.

    Hot Spots for Odour

    Body odour tends to concentrate on specific areas, including the feet, armpits, groin, and other spots where sweat and bacteria mingle. Hormonal changes during puberty kickstart this smelly show, making teenagers prime targets for body odour jokes.

    But it’s not just sweat glands at play here. Apocrine glands, which come online during puberty, release a thick, protein-rich sweat that bacteria find particularly delectable.

    What’s that smell? It’s your sweat!, EntertainmentSA News South Africa
    Wet armpits / Image: iStock

    While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for body odour, a few tricks can help keep it in check:

    1. Lather Up: Regular soap-and-water showers can wash away sweat and bacteria, leaving you smelling fresh.
    2. Trim and Tidy: Shaving areas like the armpits can speed up sweat evaporation, giving odour-causing bacteria less time to feast.
    3. Roll On: Antiperspirants can dial down sweat production and keep bacterial activity in check, leaving you feeling confident.
    4. Stay Dry: Pay extra attention to areas that tend to trap sweat, like the feet, and ensure they’re thoroughly dried before wearing fresh clothes.
    5. Watch What You Eat: Spicy foods and excessive protein intake can amp up your body odour. Opting for natural fibers and maintaining a balanced diet can help keep body odour under control.

    When to call the doctor

    Sometimes, changes in body odour can signal underlying health issues. Night sweats, irregular sweating patterns, or shifts in your body odour’s scent could be red flags for conditions like thyroid disorders, diabetes, or liver and kidney problems.

    If you notice any unusual changes in your body odour or sweating patterns, it’s best to touch base with your doctor. They can help sniff out any potential issues and put you back on the path to smelling like roses—or at least, less like gym socks.

    Main image: BuzzRx

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