Why do some people smell sweat

The smell of sweat - the smell of sweat

Everyone has a personal scent: the composition of sweat plays its part. The human odor is strongly influenced by the respective bacterial flora on the skin. Different fragrance components are created, depending on which bacterial strain breaks down the fresh glandular secretion.

The smell of sweat or the olfactory fingerprint

It is precisely this combination of microorganisms that varies from person to person. With a few exceptions, e.g. during puberty or with certain illnesses, it smells fresher Sweat not or at most slightly sour, in any case not unpleasant. The strong smell only arises when the bacteria on the skin break down the sweat into its individual components. It is primarily the long-chain fatty acids found in sweat that are broken down into, among other things, the pungent-smelling ants and butyric acid, which smells strongly of rancid butter (hence the name).

Above all, the bacteria break down the fatty acids that are known as Part of sweat are included. The long-chain fatty acids are processed into shorter chains. This produces formic or butyric acid, among other things, which are essential for the typical smell of sweat are responsible.

- Display -

- Display -

Microorganisms on the skin

bacteria occur naturally on the entire surface of the skin. But they particularly like to settle in a humid and warm environment. These include the armpit area or the feet. Since a large number of sweat-producing glands can be found in these areas, odor can quickly develop under the armpits and on the feet.

On hairy parts of the body there are also a large number of them Microorganismsthat promote the breakdown of sweat components. Therefore, in axillary hyperhidrosis, it is necessary to shave the hair under the armpits. Additional factors that make up the specific sweat and body odor are the pH value of the skin, possible diseases, hormones, various luxury foods and foods.


Causes of the specific smell of sweat

The smell of sweat is influenced by:

  • the respective bacterial strain on the skin, which breaks down sweat.
  • the PH value of the skin.
  • Hormones. During puberty it happens that even very fresh sweat smells unpleasant.
  • gender differences. The fragrance note of women and men smells slightly different from the ground up.
  • Diseases. Certain diseases such as diabetes or kidney or liver diseases can change the smell of sweat.
  • Luxury foods like alcohol, caffeine and drugs. The excretion of toxins (previously broken down in the liver or kidneys) via sweat secretion can change the consumer's scent.
  • food, for example garlic, onions or other spices noticeably increase the inherent odor.

Smell of ammonia in sweat

Sometimes the sweat smells like ammonia. This unpleasant smell of sweat can be a warning sign from the body. The smell of ammonia is particularly noticeable during training or sport. Under normal circumstances they burn Muscles during sports Carbohydrates and fats. However, the body can also fall back on amino acids: If the muscles use the amino acids as fuel, the nitrogen separates from the amino acid molecules and is then transported into the bloodstream. In the blood, the nitrogen is first converted into ammonia and later into urea. So if the sweat smells strongly of ammonia, the body signals: Help, mine Carbohydrate storage is empty!

That is why many athletes eat a lot of carbohydrates before or after a competition: Pasta in particular is a popular source of carbohydrates. Sweat production is stimulated during sport or physical exertion. Sweat contains a multitude of different substances. This also includes proteins. bacteriaThe substances, which are mainly found in the armpit or other parts of the body, break down the substances. When bacteria break down proteins, they produce the unpleasant smell of sweat.

Body odor and sweat

However, it depends on many other factors how strong and what the sweat smells like. For example, various cosmetic products - such as a cream or perfume - can negatively affect sweat in connection with sweat, because the odor intensity is increased.

- Display -

- Display -

Odor of sweat during puberty

Sweat glands are already created in the newborn, but are still largely "at rest". Healthy babies and toddlers never give off unpleasant body odor. Only at the onset of sexual maturity, i.e. during puberty, do the sweat glands take up their full function. Only now do the teenagers begin to smell. In this phase it often happens that even very fresh sweat - due to hormonal processes - already smells strongly. Usually the problem resolves itself when the hormonal turbulence comes into balance.

Who smells better?

Women have the better nose: When it comes to smell, women are ahead. When it comes to sweating, in particular, the smell of sweat often persists. Researchers have now found out that women can specifically smell sweat. The men seem to have more trouble with this.

Sensitive sense of smell

Apparently women are better able to absorb an odor and are more sensitive to the smell of sweat than men. In a research study, both male and female test subjects had to smell small fragrance bottles. One after the other, 32 vials came under the nose of the respective test subjects. In addition to sweat, the bottles contained different fragrances that masked the smell of sweat.

Attempt to deceive failed

Nevertheless, the women were able to identify an average of just under 32 vials with a sweat odor. The result of the male test colleagues was far behind with around 13 hits. However, the researchers have not yet been able to clearly explain why women perceive the smell of sweat better.

Evolution and Biology in Starting a Family

Be presumed biological reasons: In the Partner choice Women prefer to "sniff" a man who smells different than they do themselves. The more different the gene pool, the better it is apparently later for the offspring.



kanyo® has set itself the task of giving the searcher on the World Wide Web the best possible answer to their medical question. Compact, understandable, scientifically sound - our editorial team prepares the relevant information professionally every day. We not only rely on journalistic craft, but also on scientific experts and regular training and further education - so that the information we provide is correct and up-to-date, both textually and professionally. Who writes everything for the specialist publisher for health and medicine? Get to know our editorial team below!