7 Things on What Causes Body Odor Even After Bathing

Ever since I can remember, my parents have been alternately reminding me to bathe every day if I do not want to have body odor and make the people evade me. As a young lass, I thought that that was not a real thing, just like the boogeyman and the goblins that they used to mention when I would refuse to sleep. My hypothesis, however, got shattered the moment a fellow student sat in front of me in the lecture hall during my college days.


The pungent smell of onion mixed with something else I still cannot figure out what hit my senses at that time. What surprised me even more was that the lady did not seem like she had not seen soap and water for days. The clothes were clean, and her hair was neat. That incident mystified me, so I pulled various sources to know what causes body odor even after bathing.

Before we get to that part, though, allow me to clear other questions you may have about it.

What is body odor?

what is body odor

Body odor, or bromhidrosis in science lingo, is the result of apocrine sweat reacting with bacteria that breaks apart its acidic components.

If you wonder why the perspiration smells worse when produced by your armpits, feet, groin, and hands compared to the fluids that your other parts excrete, it is because of the apocrine sweat glands that develop in those areas. Its difference to the eccrine glands – the type found in the rest of the body which expels odorless moisture – is that the former generates secretions not only due to the hot weather but also because of changes in your mood.

Now, once the sweat comes out of the apocrine, the microorganisms on the skin live off of the proteins and acids that compose this fluid. Hence, it results in the production of body odor.

Who experiences it?

who gets body odor

Based on the threads I have read in diverse forums, the problem can show as early as three years old, although it is quite rare. It commonly appears during puberty when this particular sweat gland opens.

The question as to who gets body odor, on the other hand, does not depend on gender or ethnicity. The student from my story is a girl, so it means the unpleasant smell is not restricted to the male population. What appears to be the case, however, is that this condition usually takes place in men. The reasoning behind it still needs to be proven, yet there is a possibility that this is caused by high testosterone levels which somehow have an effect on the apocrine sweat.

What causes body odor even after bathing?

1. Bad Hygiene

bad hygiene cause of body odor

No matter how many times you lather up every nook and cranny of your skin, the pungent smell will never evaporate if the bacteria have settled on your clothes. It happens when you wear an apparel multiple times without washing it first, assuming that the clothing is still clean.

Another unsanitary example is not shaving the hair on those covered regions. It is as if you are providing shelter to the germs by keeping things au naturel, so they are able to propagate easily.

When you get a razor or detergent anytime soon, your problem may evaporate.

2. Diabetes

diabetes cause of body odor

The inability of your system to create an adequate supply of insulin can result to diabetic ketoacidosis. Other than the fact that it may make you end up in a comatose state, this kind of illness should be given attention as it can cause body odor.

From what you may already know at this instance after reading the text above, the byproducts of bacteria are acids. If the body cannot receive the amount of sugar it requires to burn as energy, the dormant fats get used as such and form ketones.

Ketones are blood acids that can alter the smell you give off. Eventually, it can become poisonous if left untreated.

3. Binge Drinking

binge drinking cause of body odor

If you refuse to let the day pass without having a bottle – or five – of your favorite alcoholic beverage, it should not come as a shock that you reek of pungent odor.

The liquor enters the bloodstream and delivers it to the liver where its nutrients get digested. When you chug too much of it, however, your organs may not have enough time and space to accommodate the new liquid addition. It is the reason why the blood vessels have no choice but to redirect its flow towards the pores. In this case, you will literally sweat off the alcohol which cannot smell any better, especially once it infuses with apocrine perspiration.

4. Hyperhidrosis

Hyperhidrosis simply translates to excessive sweating. This video may explain better how it occurs:

Yet the idea is that it is your body’s natural fighting mechanism against heat.

The condition influences the production of fluids on the feet, hands, and armpits. It turns out to be extreme, though, if you are still heavily perspiring even though you have not left the couch for hours. And of course, the risk of having body odor due to it is much higher since the bacteria have a lot more sweat to feast on.

The typical diseases connected to it include hyperthyroidism, hypoglycemia, and menopause. Regular deodorants are ineffective at this point; that’s why physicians may recommend getting Botox in the affected region(s) or going under a medical operation to cut off the apocrine glands.

5. Diet

diet cause of body odor

Food affects your smell – it does not have a lot of difference from alcohol. What you may already be aware of is that savory ingredients such as cumin, fenugreek, and curry make the sweat pungent when most of your meals have these spices. That is absolutely true, but what can cause body odor if you cannot tolerate spicy dishes?

Perhaps it is your love for red meat. Whether you prefer your steak medium-rare or well-done, it cannot change the reality that too much protein can tamper with your natural aroma.

Or is it the absence of green vegetables in your life? The chlorophyll, the substance that provides the plants this specific color, can cleanse the body from the inside. A deprivation of these and an excess of the others may alter the way you smell.

6. Obesity

obesity cause of body odor

Being obese puts you in danger for various things. Its main target is your health since the excess layers of fat can induce diabetes and cardiovascular diseases which are difficult to recover from. Then there is also the problem with bullying as you can find at least a single ill-natured person anywhere you go.

The underlying effect of obesity that does not always hit the news, however, is body odor. Despite the truth that folded skin can be seen on people of varying masses, the overweight individuals have more of it. The said folds lack proper air circulation; that’s why the perspiration stay stuck in those areas and become sustenance for the bacteria.

7. Zinc Deficiency

zinc deficiency cause of body odor

Zinc is one of the minerals that the system needs to operate 24/7. Sadly, this is also one of the minerals that you shed off whenever you perspire or cry, and regaining it may take longer than body odor to influence your life.

What causes the deficiency in zinc is the simple truth that even the so-called ‘organic’ crops and meat sources do not obtain enough of this element. The only way to counter it is by taking supplements after checking with the doctor that it will not disturb the effect the other medication you may be taking.

In Conclusion

7 things on what causes body odor even after bathing

There are different aspects to think about when determining what causes body odor even after bathing. The three main categories you should focus on are:

  • Health
  • Hygiene
  • Habits

In case there is another cause that you have not found in the selection above, feel free to share it in the comments section.

Ella Jones

Hi . My name is Ella Jones . I’m a blogger, shopaholic, and beauty-obsessed blogger from NYC, armed with a Professional MBA from Fordham and a License in Cosmetology from Empire Beauty School in my hometown of Brooklyn. I’m the proud owner of a successful salon and beauty parlor in the city, and I’ve started this blog to share my beauty secrets with you.

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