Sweat is a natural and important bodily function. It regulates body temperature by cooling the skin to avoid overheating.
There are two causes for sweat – environmental and emotional. We often sweat when we are physically active or when we are in a hot environment. Sweat can also occur when we are emotionally affected by professional or personally stressful situations, such as job interviews, presentations or exams. Sweat can also triggered by the hormonal changes associated with puberty and menopause.
Sweat itself is odourless – it is a solution that is primarily made up of water and salt. On average we have 1.6 to 4 million sweat glands all over our body and can produce up to 1 litre of sweat every day. Sweat often evaporates as quickly as it is produced. However, in situations where we are particularly active or in a hot environment, we can sweat up to 10 times a normal day’s production.
Body odour is caused by bacteria on the surface of the skin as it breaks down the components of the sweat.