Got Smelly Sweat? Here’s Why You Have It and How to Deal with It
smelly sweat causes

Got Smelly Sweat? Here’s Why You Have It and How to Deal with It

Sweating itself does not always equate to body odor. But perspiring heavily means you’re more prone to having smelly sweat.

Normal body sweat should be odorless.

But if you find that your sweat smells foul, one of these seven factors may be the culprit:

smelly sweat

You have poor personal hygiene.

As with any other condition, your everyday habits play a role why you develop body odor.

If you often skip showering or washing your body, you’re inviting bacteria to grow on various parts of your body. This eventually leads to sour-smelling sweat.
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Quick Fix:

The only way to fix this is by adjusting your hygiene routine. If you’re prone to excessive sweating, it’s best to take a bath every day using an antibacterial soap. You should also wear clean clothes and socks as bacteria can build up on dirty fabrics.

You’re using the wrong deodorant.

Got smelly and sweaty armpits? You may want to look at your deodorant.

You should adjust your deodorant according to the intensity of your activity. Your day-to-day deodorant may not be enough if you plan on going to the gym or engaging in physical sports.
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Quick Fix:

Even with a label claiming it has “all-day protection,” not all deodorants live up to this promise. If you sweat a lot, it’s best to tote around a travel-sized deodorant so you can re-apply it. Also, look at the list of ingredients. Find a deodorant or antiperspirant with aluminum chloride as it help keeps sweat at bay.

Your smelly sweat comes from stress.

The effects of stress do not stop with migraine. When you’re tired and on edge, there’s a possibility that it may also mess with your body’s smell. Anxiety may also cause sweaty palms.
The thing with stress sweat is that it smells worse than normal body odor. Unlike the endocrine glands that release sweat after a brisk walk, stress activates your apocrine glands instead. These produce a white, odorless fluid that mixes with the bacteria on your skin. (please hover image for Quick Fix)

Quick Fix:

This one may be trickier to treat as it also involves your mental and emotional well-being. If stress is the cause behind your smelly sweat, try to pause for a while and find a way to relax. Examples of relaxation techniques include deep breathing, meditation, and listening to music.

You’re wearing moisture-trapping fabric.

Synthetic fabrics like rayon, polyester and nylon trap moisture, making them the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
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Quick Fix:

Opt for breathable fabrics instead. Clothes made from natural fibers such as wool, cotton, and linen absorb sweat better and help it evaporate.

You’re eating foods that lead to smelly sweat.

Spicy food is the main culprit behind smelly sweat. It gives you a garlic-smelling sweat because of its high concentration of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Alcohol is also another substance that may cause body odor. The liver metabolizes most of it turns it into acetic acid. But some of it is released through sweat and your respiratory system.
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Quick Fix:

Avoid foods that are rich in sulfur. Soluble fiber supplements can also help you. They bind to VOCs in the stomach, reducing the odor-causing potential of these foods. Keeping an eye on what you eat also has a positive effect on your diet and overall health in the long run.

You have an underlying medical condition.

Some illnesses have body odor as one of their symptoms. Hyperthyroidism, diabetes, and kidney and liver dysfunction are some conditions that may give you smelly sweat.

Your medicines can also be a factor. Tylenol, allergy medications, birth control pills, and some prescription drugs may all contribute to body odor.
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Quick Fix:

You need to treat the root cause of excessive sweating, so consult your doctor for advice. You should also ask if there’s an alternative to your current medication if it’s the one causing your body odor.

You’re constipated.

Surprisingly, extreme cases of constipation can also cause body odor.

If your digestion is severely impaired, the pungent chemicals produced in the gut will not only cause stinky bowel movements but may also seep out into your sweat.
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Quick Fix:

If you’ve pinpointed that this as the reason behind your smelly sweat, you must treat constipation first. Eat fiber with every meal and avoid excessive protein as it is harder to digest. Drink lots of water to help you move your bowels regularly.

sweating is natural

Sweating is natural as it is the body’s way of regulating body heat.
On the other hand, body odor is quite alarming and embarrassing.

Fortunately, there are ways to treat this condition. From over-the-counter deodorants to practicing good hygiene, it’s all a matter of doing a few lifestyle tweaks.

But if your sweat remains uncontrollable, you should look at excessive sweating treatments. An example is Dermira’s topical drug QBREXZA. It blocks nerves that induce sweating.

Another option is miraDry, which is a non-invasive treatment that targets sweat, odor, and hair glands in the armpits. Using microwave energy, miraDry destroys these glands, thus minimizing sweat, hair, and body odor.

If you’re thinking of getting these treatments for your smelly sweat, schedule a Free Consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeon here in Face+Body Cosmetic Surgery.

Dr Nick N Masri MD FACS

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