What causes sweat to smell sour?


Quick Answer

Sweat smells sour due to bacteria that is present in the body. When a person gets hot, the sweat glands open and two substances are released, according to the Mayo Clinic. These substances mix with the bacteria naturally present on the body and may produce a sour odor.

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Full Answer

A number of things can bring relief when experiencing sour sweat, as indicated by WebMD. Sweat is odorless until it mixes with bacteria. Showering at least once a day can help to reduce the bacteria on the skin. Using anti-bacterial soap can further eliminate bacteria.

Keeping the skin dry can also help to reduce bacteria on the skin. Following a shower, it is imperative that the skin is thoroughly toweled off to reduce odor. Using extra-strength deodorant or antiperspirant twice a day is also highly recommended, states WebMD.

Food can also make people sweat more, and some foods can cause a sour odor in the sweat. Spicy food, such as peppers, can cause an offensive body odor, and the aroma of onions and garlic can also be noted in sweat. Doctors recommend paying attention to diet when experiencing sour smelling sweat and eliminating the offending food, notes WebMD. Cutting down on alcohol and caffeine can further eliminate odor in the sweat as this may reduce sweating overall.

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