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17 Weirdly Interesting Facts About Sweat

Sweat is more than a smelly fluid oozing out of your pores on the skin. Not many know that there are different types of sweat with different scents, composition along with genetic factors and the food consumed that play a role in the way you sweat.

In this article, we will discuss 17 weird, but interesting facts about sweat that not many know.

17 Weirdly Interesting Facts About Sweat

17 Weirdly Interesting Facts About Sweat

  1. Sweat is the Body’s Natural Mechanism to Cool Itself Down(1, 2)

    When there is excessive heat in the body, then in order to cool down or control its temperature, our body starts to sweat. Through sweating there is loss of heat through evaporation as sweat regulates the temperature of the body. Sweating is a mechanism to naturally cool our body when it gets overheated.

  2. Pure Sweat Does Not Have Any Odor(3)

    Does anyone know the reason why sweat smells so? Especially from the armpits; hence the application of deodorants there. The reason why sweat has odor is because bacteria is produced from the apocrine glands, which break down the sweat into smelly fatty acids. The sweat from apocrine gland does not have any smell; however, when the bacteria present on our skin combines with the sweat, then it causes the typical sweat odor.

  3. Did You Know That Sweat Contains Mostly Water?(1, 4, 5)

    The composition of the sweat depends on the gland which secretes the sweat. There are various glands in the human body, but the primary ones that are recognized are:
    Eccrine glands are responsible for producing the majority of the sweat, especially the watery type. However, the taste of eccrine sweat is not like water, as it is also composed of salt, ammonia, urea and protein in it. Eccrine glands are mostly present on the armpit, forehead, palms and soles and are also present all over the body.

    Apocrine glands are bigger in size and are mostly present in the armpits, breast region and groin. Apocrine glands are commonly associated with body odor and they release concentrated secretions of sweat after attaining puberty. As the Apocrine glands are situated near the hair follicles, the sweat produced by them tends to smell very bad. This is why stress sweat tends to smells worse than other sweat types.

  4. The Two Sweat Glands Respond To Different Triggers(1, 6)

    Other than cooling down, there are other reasons for sweating. The sweat related to body temperature and exercise is controlled by the nervous system where it triggers the eccrine glands to produce sweat.

    The apocrine glands produce the emotional sweat, which is slightly different where it is not produced to regulate the body temperature, but to combat any approaching problem or terror. It is like the fight-or-flight response where you start sweating when stressed, as the body transmits a signal to activate the sweat glands.

  5. Alcohol Consumption Can Also Cause Sweating(7, 8)

    When large amounts of alcohol are consumed, then it dilates the blood vessels and increases the heart rate which the body presumes that it is working out and produces sweat in an effort to cool the body down.

  6. Spicy Foods Stimulate or Trigger the Sweat Glands(9)

    Spicy foods, especially those containing capsaicin, will deceive the brain into thinking that the temperature of the body is rising and this in turn triggers the production of sweat. Other things which can cause sweating when eating are food intolerances and allergies. Food allergies can cause sweating when eating. There are some individuals who experience “meat sweats,” upon consumption of excessive meat. When too much meat is consumed, then a lot of energy is spent on breaking it down by the body’s metabolism resulting in an increase in the body’s temperature.

  7. Red Meat Also Causes Offensive Smelling Sweat(10, 11)

    Certain vegetables do cause your sweat to smell even bad; however, a study done in 2006 revealed that the smell of the sweat of a non-vegetarian person is more unpleasant when compared to sweat from a vegetarian’s body.

  8. Body Odor Gets Worse With Certain Foods(12)

    What you eat also affects the way you sweat and how you sweat. Foods such as cabbage, onions and garlic can make the sweat even worse. The byproducts of these interact with the bacteria present on the skin resulting in production of foul-smelling sweat. The reason is the presence of increased amount of sulfur in these foods, such as onions and garlic.

  9. Body Odor Worsens As You Approach Middle Age(13)

    Body odor is more after one reaches puberty as there is fluctuation in the hormone levels; and similarly there is change in the degree of the odor of the sweat as one gets older. Studies have shown that middle aged people over 40 years of age had an unpleasant greasy and grassy smelling sweat.

  10. Contrary to the Popular Belief, Men Do Not Sweat More Than Women(14, 15)

    Past studies have always resulted in the conclusion that men perspire more than women. A study from 2010 concluded that in order to produce more sweat, women have to work more than men. However, recent study done in 2017 showed that sweating has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with the size of the body.

  11. Deodorant Masks the Body Odor and Antiperspirants Prevent Sweating(16, 17, 18)

    Deodorant is used as an umbrella term for all types of body odor sprays and sticks. The primary difference between antiperspirants and deodorant that not many know is that antiperspirants actually stop the process of sweating by blocking the glands with the help of aluminum present in them; whereas, deodorants do not stop sweating and only mask the smell of the sweat.

  12. A Rare Gene Is Responsible for the Absence of Underarm Odor(19, 20)

    A rare gene which is ABCC11 is responsible for absence of any smell from underarms. A study done in 2013 revealed that about 2% British females had this gene. ABCC11 is more common in East Asian population and not found in white and black people.

  13. The Yellow Sweat Stains on Clothes Are a Result of Chemical Reaction(21, 22)

    Just as sweat does not have any smell on its own, it does not have any color too. The yellow stains present on the site of armpits seen clearly on white shirts especially, develop as a result of a chemical reaction between the actual sweat and clothes or the antiperspirant one uses. Aluminum is the common active ingredient present in antiperspirants and when this combines with the salt present in the sweat it causes yellow stains.

  14. Consuming a Low-Sodium Diet May Make Your Sweat Saltier

    Some individuals can have saltier sweat than others and one can tell that by stinging of the eyes when sweat drips into them or the burning sensation on an open wound when ones sweats on it. This may be because one consumes a lot of water or it may be linked to a certain diet. You can replenish the lost sodium after rigorous workout by consuming sports drinks, pickles or tomato juice.

  15. The Amount We Sweat Depends On Our Genes(23, 24, 25, 26)

    Our genetics determine how much we sweat. Hyperhidrosis is a medical condition where person has excessive sweating about four times more than normal than what is required to cool down the body. According to a 2016 review, around 5% of Americans suffer from hyperhidrosis and some of them are caused by their genes.

    Hypohidrosis is another medical condition where a person sweats very less. Genes are thought to be the cause of this condition; however, other causes of Hypohidrosis include dehydration and certain medications used to treat nerve damage.

    Trimethylaminuria is another genetic sweating disorder where the sweat of the person suffering from this condition smells like rotting eggs or fish.

  16. One Can Generate a Happiness Scent through Their Sweat(27)

    According to a research done in 2015, some people can produce a specific body odor which indicates happiness. This happiness scent can be detected by other people which in turn also triggers a feeling of well being and happiness in them.

  17. Men Who Are Left-Handed Will Smell More ‘Masculine’ From Their Dominant Armpit(28)

    A heteronormative study in 2009 researched if the sweat smelled the same or not from both the armpits. The theory was that with the “increased use of the dominant arm would there some changes in the smell of the sweat. According to the study, it was found that there was no difference in the sweats of the armpits of the right-handed people. However, the odor of left-handers on the other hand was considered more intense and masculine.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6773238/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507838/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4229079/
  4. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/sweat
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482278/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5508982/
  7. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324104
  8. https://mycarpe.com/blogs/sweatopedia/alcohol-and-excessive-sweating
  9. https://ro.co/health-guide/sweating-after-eating/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16891352/
  11. https://academic.oup.com/chemse/article/31/8/747/364338
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7215946/
  13. https://www.jidonline.org/article/S0022-202X(15)41198-4/fulltext
  14. https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1113/expphysiol.2010.053710
  15. https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1113/EP086112
  16. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32248967/
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3013594/
  18. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/17865-body-odor
  19. https://www.jidonline.org/article/S0022-202X(15)36325-9/fulltext
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4724538/
  21. https://www.undershirts.co.uk/blogs/journal/rid-yourself-of-yellow-stains-on-clothes-permanently
  22. https://thompsontee.com/blog/the-science-behind-your-pit-stains-and-what-to-do-about-it/
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459227/
  24. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23094789/
  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3848652/
  26. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20301282/
  27. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797614566318
  28. https://academic.oup.com/chemse/article/34/7/565/341014

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 15, 2022

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