Woman looking at her reflection in a mirror

Why Does Sweat Smell?

Sweat doesn’t smell. It’s a clear, odorless liquid mostly made up of water, salt proteins and oils. The smell that we call ‘body odor’ is actually caused by bacteria breaking down protein and oils releasing odor.

Our body is home to millions of harmless bacteria that help the skin’s natural defense. They survive and grow in moist, humid and nutrient-rich environments – just like our armpit areas. Bacteria feed on our sweat and metabolize it, producing byproducts that have a very distinctive smell – like vinegar, cheese or onion.

What causes body odor – or BO – are the excretions from the bacteria that feed on your sweat. This is a totally natural process that starts during puberty.

How to prevent smelly armpits?

Smelly armpits and bad body odor aren’t harmful to your health, but we all know they can sometimes cause embarrassment. Making a few changes to your daily routine can improve your body odor.

Make sure to shower at least once a day, and use an antiperspirant deodorant like Degree to stay dry and fresh. Wear clean, fully dry clothes and change them regularly to stop the build-up of dry sweat or sweat patches.