Do you smell that? I wonder if it could be… is it me? Do you ever get the stinking suspicion that you might smell after a game of hockey or a dance practice? Why do we all smell so much? And what in the world is causing all that stench?
Don’t sweat the small stuff, especially sweat! It happens to all of us, no matter our age. The human body likes to stay at a nice and warm temperature of 37º C. This is the temperature your body is most comfortable at, as decided by a part of your brain called the hypothalamus (basically the control centre for temperature in your brain).
But sometimes, your body works incredibly hard when you’re exercising! This can cause things to get a little heated on the inside. Since your body would rather stay at the same consistent temperature, it fights this extra heat by sweating to cool itself down.
You can sweat a lot when you do physical activity like playing hockey. (Lucky Business/Shutterstock)
There are two types of sweat. Most body sweat is made by your eccrine (say "ek-reen") sweat glands which can be found all over your body — anywhere there is skin, that is! So you can't sweat on your fingernails or eyeballs! This sweat is made up of mostly water and salt and has very little odour. The sweat leaves your glands and comes through the pores that are on your skin. When it makes contact with the air, it turns to vapour, and it’s that vapour that works to cool your body back down to its favourite temperature.
Armpit sweat is made by your apocrine (say "ap-oh-kreen") sweat glands. This sweat is made up of water and salt too but it also has body oils in it. The sweat from these glands exits out of hair follicles instead of skin pores and is a bit thicker and more oily than the sweat on the rest of your body. A lot of your body odour comes from bacteria feeding off the oils in the sweat in our armpits.
Make sure you drink lots of water even if you're not very active so you can stay hydrated. Shutterstock
If you’re sweating buckets and buckets, don’t forget to stay hydrated! Since sweat is mostly water, you could become dehydrated from sweating too much, so keep that water flowing and drink up!
Did you know that sweat doesn’t actually smell? Crazy, right? It’s actually the sweat mixing with the bacteria that is all over your body that causes that odiferous stench! And when you reach puberty, the hormones in your body can have an effect on your sweat glands causing even more of a smell! Since our armpits are moist, warm and usually dark, they are the perfect place for bacteria to hang out and mix together with all that sweat. This is why they stink so much!
Sweating is perfectly natural and nothing to be worried about. We all have body odour, but there are ways to cut down just how much sweat smell you produce.
So remember, don’t sweat the small stuff; especially sweat!