Body Odour

What Causes Body Odour

Body odour is a great source of frustration and embarrassment for many of us, and it's important to understand what causes it and what we can do to help combat it. Some of us sweat more than others, and here at NIVEA we've got all the answers to help you understand and alleviate your body odour related worries.


Sweat Glands

Body odour is a universal and very natural human trait and can be due to a number of things. So what is our body doing to cause us to produce the smell that we do, and why are some of us smellier than others?

The human body has two types of sweat glands:

1. Eccrine sweat glands - these exist all over the body with the primary function of cooling you down by producing sweat mostly composed of water.

2. Apocrine sweat glands - these exist only in targeted areas of the body, such as the armpits, groin, and feet and do little to cool you down. Instead, these glands release proteins and lipids. Bacteria on the skin feed on these and disrupt them, resulting in body odour.


Emotional Sweating

When you're nervous, scared, agitated or in pain you produce more sweat from those body odour releasing sweat glands than the sweat you produce when your body is trying to cool itself down.

Tips to help deal with your emotional sweating:

  • Relaxation exercises: this will help you to eliminate the effects of stress by breathing deeply and slowing down for a few minutes each day
  • Calm music: this reduces heart rate and slows down breathing
  • Laughter: this helps to combat feelings of stress and therefore reduce emotional related sweating

Eating Certain Foods

Foods that are fat soluble are dissolved into your body's fatty tissue and produced in your sweat, making your sweat smellier. These include foods like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, cabbage, and fish. It's important to eat fat soluble foods because they contain valuable vitamins and nutrients that the body needs to be healthy.

To combat body odour caused by eating fat soluble foods, use a good antiperspirant deodorant to prevent smelly armpits, such as the NIVEA Ultimate Protect Anti-Perspirant Deodorant.


The microorganisms on our skin that react with the sweat our bodies produce to result in body odour are determined by our genes, so it is likely that if your mother or father has strong body odour, then you will too. The best way to combat this is to regularly shower, and wear breathable clothing such as cotton or linen to curtain your sweating and minimise body odour, not forgetting to apply antiperspirant deodorant.

Hormonal Changes

  • Your monthly cycle, pregnancy, menopause, and puberty can cause hormone fluctuations and, thus, can increase your core body temperature causing you to sweat more. Particularly, women may experience an increase in sweating after pregnancy as the body releases excess fluid as hormone levels return to normal.

    Tips to help deal with your hormonal sweating: 
  • Being aware of when hormone swings happen: core body temperature naturally increases around 9pm, so making sure your bedroom is kept cool and buying breathable bedding will help with your body odour
  • Take a warm bath before bed: this will lower your core body temperature and combined with a cool bedroom will help to prevent hormonal sweating
  • Plan your clothing: during the day try to layer your clothing so that you can easily remove things like long sleeves should you begin to sweat


  1. Shower regularly - shower at least once a day to remove some of the bacteria at the surface of the skin and also wash away your sweat, focusing on areas such as the groin, armpits, and feet. Try the NIVEA Urban Fresh Refresh Shower Gel
  2. Use antibacterial soap - this will remove some of the bacteria on your skin
  3. Dry thoroughly after showering - when your skin is dry it's harder for the bacteria that causes bad body odour to breed on it
  4. Use antiperspirant deodorant - this will prevent sweating and therefore reduce body odour
  5. Clean your clothes regularly - sweat and body odour can get trapped in clothing, so changing them regularly will reduce this
  6. Cut out spicy foods - these cause you to sweat more
  7. Limit your caffeine intake - these also cause you to sweat more than usual, so to avoid those smelly armpits you should not consume too much