Why do armpits smell bad?

Body Odor, or BO, is considered to an unpleasant characteristic of our body. It is present in most of the animals including humans. It is influenced by various factors like genes and lifestyle. Everyone has a distinct body smell which forms a part of his or her character. However, due to various processes taking place in our body, the intensity of body odor can rise up, giving off a bad smell. This problem is a common one around the globe. The body odor is considered a bad trait among people, and can reduce one’s confidence drastically.
Most of the people are concerned about the bad smell that comes from the armpits. Armpit and other hairy regions tend to smell far stronger that the rest of our body parts. There are a number of reasons for it. The human body odor is determined by two factors primarily; the excretion of skin glands and the activities of bacteria inhabiting the body.
There are two major types of sweat glands in our body; Eccrine Glands and Apocrine glands. The Eccrine glands are found in almost all parts of the body and they produce sweat that primarily contains sodium chloride. This is why the sweat does have a salty taste. These glands help to regulate the body temperature. The Apocrine glands are located in the hairy places on the body, like armpits and between the legs. These glands work mostly when the person is under great emotional strain and produce sweat that includes various substances such as fatty acids, carbohydrates and cholesterol. Body odor is influenced by these substances and the activity of bacteria on them.
There are millions of bacteria inhabiting our body. Their concentration is most in the hairy and moist places like underarms. These areas lack oxygen, and helps the bacteria thrive in what is called anaerobic conditions. It is estimated that the density of bacteria in armpits is near a million per square centimeter. These bacteria produce enzyme which break down the substances produced by the apocrine glands. The smaller molecules formed are what cause the foul body odor. Isovaleric acid, Propionic acid and Butyric acid are among the major substances that cause the body odor.
In addition to sweat, the apocrine glands also produce pheromones, the chemical agents that trigger behavioral responses. These pheromones are produced from the adolescent periods. These pheromones also add to the body odor.


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