Men Home > Five Little-Known Factors That Make Your Sweat Stink

Fatty Acids

Sweat contains a variety of fatty acids that can stink. For instance, isovaleric acid is one of the components that makes sweat, feet, and even your hair stink. Most people think that isovaleric acid stinks, but some people are much more sensitive to the smell than others, and some people can't smell it at all. These differences are genetic, and scientists have identified the genes that cause the variation in sensitivity to isovaleric acid.


Remember those apocrine sweat glands we talked about earlier? The ones that reside in the armpit and contribute to stinky sweat don't become active until puberty (which is one of the main reasons why young kids don't need to use deodorant). Interestingly, they become less active in older people, which may be one of the reasons why older people don't need to bathe as often.

Parting Thoughts

We find ourselves wondering how and why a person becomes interested in a career in body odor science. Such a career must make for interesting dinner-table conversations.
Hopefully you've learned a thing or two about sweat and what makes it stink, and why some people seem very sensitive to sweaty smells. It may or may not be useful information, but it certainly is interesting. 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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