Ever wonder why your sweat smells? Scientists have pinpointed the bacteria that's to blame for your B.O.
Going beast mode in the gym feels amazing; there's something so satisfying about finishing a workout drenched in sweat. But while we love seeing the (damp) evidence of all our hard work, we don't love the smell. Thankfully now scientists have identified the culprit for making our stink, a bacteria called Staphylococcus hominis.
Contrary to popular belief, sweat itself doesn't have a smell. That post-workout stench doesn't happen until the sweat gets digested by bacteria that live on our skin, particularly in our pits. When the bacteria break down the sweat molecules they release an odor that the University of York researchers describe as sulfurous, onion-y, or even meaty. (Not yummy.) Do You Smell? 9 Sneaky Sources of Body Odor.
"They're very very pungent," Dan Bawdon, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of York in England, and lead author of the study told NPR. "We work with them at relatively low concentrations so they don't escape into the whole of the lab but ... yes, they do smell. So we're not that popular," he admits.
But the sacrifice of their social lives was worth it, say the researchers, since pinpointing the stinkiest bacteria can help develop better, more effective deodorants. They're hoping deodorant companies can take this information and use it to make products that target only the smelly bacteria and leave the good stuff alone, without clogging pores or irritating skin. Bonus: Ditching the aluminum that is the main ingredient of most products now means no more yellow pit stains on your favorite white tee! (Did you know some smells have health perks? Here are The Best Smells for Your Health.)
Less gym funk and cleaner laundry: This is definitely some science we can get behind, er, under.