The Secret Behind the Smell

The truth about B.O.

Blame your body odor on sweat. Really! It’s actually hard to stink if you aren’t pumping out any sweat at all. Everyone has sweat glands in their body, which do just what their name implies: secrete sweat. However, thanks to puberty and its ramped-up hormones, these glands not only become more active, but they also start to release more oil into your more abundant sweat, too.

Even though you need sweat in order to have B.O, it turns out B.O. isn’t really caused by sweating. The actual stink comes courtesy of microscopic bacteria.

We all have bacteria living on our skin (which is totally normal). When we sweat, the bacteria eat the proteins in our perspiration, and when those bacteria break down the proteins, an odor is released. Voila - B.O.! 

By the way, this is also why taking a bath or shower every day - and using soap - is the best way to get rid of that stink. Bathing (and we mean actually lathering up, not just rinsing off with water) literally washes the bacteria off your skin, getting rid of the smell.

Deodorants and anti-perspirants can also help with B.O., but what's the difference? Deodorant is usually alcohol based and kills odor causing bacteria, plus they normally have a scent to cover up potential B.O. However, you can put on deodorant and still sweat. Anti-perspirant on the other hand is code for anti-sweat. They block up the pores that sweat comes from, temporarily keeping areas like your armpits dry (which can also help with any unwanted smells). These days, many deodorants also come with anti-perspirant in them!

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