It takes three to tango when it comes to body odor: bacteria, water, and food. Odor starts when the bacteria on our skin eat the food in our sweat and pass gas. Yes, that kind of gas.
Everyone has bacteria on their skin – that’s normal. When you start sweating, especially from your apocrine glands
(the ones that excrete sweat that contains food for bacteria), the bacteria get excited. It’s feeding time! As they consume the different nutrients in your sweat, they release small molecules that we can smell. The character of the odor depends on what the bacteria are eating. This could be fats or proteins for example.
Each of us has unique factors that impact the amount and type of body odor we make. People who naturally produce less body odor tend to have less active or no apocrine glands at all, so they produce less food for bacteria to turn into gas. People who naturally produce more body odor have more active apocrine glands and thus, make more food for bacteria to turn into gas. More gas from bacteria means more body odor for you!
So what can you do about it?