The Science Behind Stink: What Causes B.O. and How To Get Rid of It
In order to understand how to stop that stink, it’s important to understand why we stink
You do the ol’ underarm sniff and…..whoops. Don’t sweat it though (sorry, we had to), it happens to the best of us. Sure, B.O. is a bummer but there are good (and bad) ways to stop it. But first, in order to understand how to stop that stink, it’s important to understand why we stink.
What Causes Body Odor (and What Does Sweat Have to Do With It)?
First, we’re going to dive into a bit more about sweat, because while many people mistakenly think that sweat is what causes stink, it actually has more to do with your sweat glands than with the sweat itself.
To get a little more science-y on you, your body is made up of two different types of sweat glands: eccrine glands and apocrine glands. While they’re similar, each type of gland functions slightly differently when you sweat.
- Eccrine Glands: The primary type of sweat gland, they’re everywhere on your body and open directly onto the surface of your skin. These shallow glands are responsible for releasing sweat that is made primarily out of water and some trace amounts of minerals.
- Apocrine Glands: These glands are only found on certain parts of the body, most notably in your armpits. Unlike eccrine glands, these glands aren’t directly on the surface of the skin. They open into your hair follicles that then lead to the surface of your skin. These glands also secrete sweat, but since they’re deeper than eccrine glands, they also secrete oils and fats.
Which Sweat Glands Produce Body Odor?
Now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “When are you going to stop saying glands and tell me what makes me stink?” Well, here it is. It’s a common misconception that sweat causes B.O., but that’s not actually the case. Bacteria is the real culprit here.
After your apocrine glands expel those oils and fats, they become food for bacteria. As the bacteria breaks down these oils, fats, and other materials, it creates waste which results in that B.O. smell. So, in order to actually prevent the stink of B.O. you’ve got to attack that bacteria that forms. And, because places like your armpits that have a high concentration of apocrine glands are generally dark, warm areas, they’re naturally friendly to bacteria – meaning those are the places where that stink comes from.
So now that we understand how we sweat and what causes us to stink, we can look at some of the best ways to fight body odor.
How to Get Rid of Body Odor
Not the Solution: Not Sweating
Is the solution here to just never sweat? Not exactly – Whether we’re exercising, nervous, or in Florida anytime after April, sweating is a part of life. Put simply, sweating is a natural function that your body uses to regulate your temperature and keep you cool. When you sweat, the moisture on your skin evaporates and actively cools your body which keeps you from overheating. Sweating can also help your body get rid of unwanted and toxins too. Maybe you’re familiar with this (i.e. beer sweats) the morning after a big night out? Just us? Ok, moving on.
This means that when you use aluminum antiperspirant on your pits, you’re stopping your body from doing what it was made to do – even though your body is still producing sweat, the aluminum in antiperspirants form plugs in your sweat glands, which prevents both sweat and unwanted chemicals and toxins from escaping through your pores, keeping them inside your body instead.
Natural Deodorant for Body Odor
The great news is, there are a ton of skin-friendly, natural ingredients that can work to combat the sources of B.O. Plus, unlike those harsh chemical-packed synthetic versions, there are natural deodorant ingredients that are gentle on your skin and allow your body to function normally, while still absorbing moisture to keep you fresh.
Some key ingredients in natural deodorant that fight odor include:
Charcoal Powder: This natural deodorizer is sourced from the burnt husks of plants, like coconut husks and palm leaves. It works by drawing out the bad odors from bacteria, dirt, and oil and neutralizing them to keep you from smelling.
Arrowroot Powder: Like a cloud of tiny, powerful sponges, this plant-derived ingredient helps to absorb sweat and keep you dry and fresh. Bacteria thrive in warm, wet environments so keeping your pits dry helps to keep odor causing bacteria at bay.
Probiotics (Lactobacillus Ferment): Probiotics are a type of good (non-smelly) bacteria that essentially kick the bad (smelly) bacteria out the door and prevent odor. Probiotics also team up with your skin’s natural microorganisms to help provide balance.
Magnesium: This natural mineral effectively combats odor-causing bacteria. This is a natural and gentle alternative to baking soda, which is a common ingredient found in both synthetic deodorant and some natural deodorant formulas and is known to be irritating to the skin. Instead, magnesium is gentle and less likely to cause skin irritation while still being effective.
These are some of the natural deodorizers that can be found in our Odor-SquatchingTM System that make our natural deodorant tough on stink, but friendly to your skin. Now that we’ve shown you the ins and outs of B.O. and uncovered the real villain behind that stink, we hope you’ll be able to better embrace your sweat like the man you are! Thinking about making the switch to natural deodorant? Great call.
If you have more questions, we’ve got answers and more right here.