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Here is Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Why You Smell Bad

Tom Cruise's sweaty pits
Koichi Kamoshida, Getty Images

Whatever you resolved to do more of in the new year, it’ll probably make you sweat. More exercise, more spicy food, more special time having sex in stadiums… the usual. However, if you resolved to take more showers or keep your core temperature to a minimum, you probably already know this stuff. If not, some facts about sweat.

The deal is, you have to sweat so your body doesn’t overheat. Your sweat is your own personal thermoregulator. If you didn’t sweat during physical exertion, while eating certain foods and in a time of mental or emotional stress, your body’s core temperature would get too high and then organs would get damaged and systems would shut down. Which, really, is way worse than a bit of a stench.

So, despite the resulting odor, sweat is a good thing. Speaking of the smell, it isn’t the sweat that stinks. Sweat is 99 percent water and one percent salt and fat. It doesn’t have an odor. The stench comes from bacteria on your skin which start to break down the sweat and then release (ahem) fragrant gases in the process.

Of course, your body temperature rises when you’re physically active, but scientists also believe food is a factor in sweat. Spicy peppers contain capsaicin, which research has found to trigger a thermoregulatory response in sensors in your mouth, causing you to sweat around your face, scalp and neck. Also, researchers found that women preferred the scent of men who didn’t eat red meat.

The good news (besides the wide availability of antiperspirant) is that sweating can have a pheromone-like effect. Studies have shown that women are more sensitive to sweat produced during sexual arousal and the smell is processed in a different part of the brain than other types of sweat. So feel free to get your sweat on.

Now let’s do something about those yellow pit stains on all your shirts.

[Via Gizmodo]

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