Let’s dive into what causes the pungent underarm smell with which we are all, unfortunately, all-too-familiar.
Sweat is produced by our eccrine glands, which are found over most of our bodies, and our apocrine glands, which are found in our hairy areas - namely our armpits, scalp and groin.
Contrary to what you might think, the fluids released by these sweat glands are actually odourless; the unfortunate odour associated with sweat is not caused by sweat, per se, but rather by sweat interacting with bacteria that is naturally present on our skin. The bacteria break down the sweat into odorous fatty acids which they then consume, producing the unpleasant smell that accompanies sweating.
Sweating is a natural response to hot weather and elevated body temperature: when sweat evaporates from the surface of our skin, it produces a cooling effect. Stressful situations, moisture-trapping clothes and certain medical conditions, e.g. diabetes and hyperthyroidism, can also increase the rate at which your body produces sweat.