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Reduce Body Odor by Reducing Stress

Reduce Body Odor by Reducing Stress

by Madeleine Dow

Learn how living a more “zen” life can drastically improve the way you smell!

There is nothing quite like the primal stench of stress odor.

Have you ever had a tough day where you haven’t done anything physically exerting, yet you smell absolutely horrifying?

It’s most likely stress.

Like a skunk spraying a cocktail of odors in fear, your body releases a buffet of bacteria-attracting stress sweat when feeling overwhelmed.

Does stress odor actually smell worse than regular odor? Yes! Stress body odor is real and it hits hard.

Science may not explain why stress sweat exists yet, but we do at least know what it is. This will help us understand how to deal with it.

Today, We’re Going to Answer Some Questions:

What is stress sweat?How can I reduce stress?How can I prevent stress odor?

What is Stress Sweat?

Stress sweat is an automatic, involuntary and natural reaction to stressful situations and experiences. External stimuli cause stress, and your body naturally responds.

There are two types of sweat glands on your body: eccrine and apocrine.

Eccrine sweat glands cover most of your body and open directly onto the skin’s surface. They produce watery sweat that is clear and odorless. Sweat from eccrine glands cools your body in hot weather and during exercise and preserves your skin’s acid mantle.

Apocrine sweat glands are located mostly in your underarm area, gential area, and feet. They open mostly into hair follicles. Apocrine glands produce thicker sweat than eccrine sweat, because it is full of proteins and lipids.

Sweat itself smells like nothing at all. But, the bacteria that live on our skin LOVE apocrine sweat. Bacteria can’t get enough! It’s a party for them every time you freak out, and this combination of bacteria and sweat produces some nasty smells. That’s why sweating and body odor go hand in hand.

When you are stressed, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol. This puts you into “fight-or-flight” mode, elevates your heart rate, increases your body temperature, and sends your apocrine glands into overdrive. Then, bacteria on your skin ingest, digest, and egest (poo!) that apocrine sweat all over you until you smell like a caveman.

That’s right. Stressing about your smell makes you smell worse. It’s a vicious cycle, especially for those with short-fused, overactive nervous systems!

Certain medical conditions can cause excessive sweating. One such condition is called hyperhidrosis. Dr. David Pariser, founding member of the International Hyperhidrosis Society, says, "Hyperhidrosis primarily affects the eccrine sweat glands rather than the apocrine, which is why body odor is less of an issue for hyperhidrosis sufferers than you might expect."

So, interestingly enough, just because you may sweat a lot doesn’t necessarily mean you will have any more body odor than the average person. Body odor has more to do with the type of sweat gland that is producing your sweat at that moment.

How Can I Reduce Stress?

Chew Gum

Chewing has been found by several studies to reduce stress. One 2009 study found that chewing gum reduced anxiety and lowered cortisol (stress hormone) levels in a controlled setting.

Breathe Deeply

Try 4-7-8 breathing. Breathe in for 4 seconds. Hold it for 7 seconds. Then exhale for 8 seconds. While not much scientific research has been done on deep breathing, anecdotally, this method is very effective in reducing anxiety.

Chat with Someone

Social health is arguably as important as physical health. Many people feel that talking to a friend or loved one can lower stress levels. One small study found that school children who had a best friend present experienced less change in cortisol levels and self-worth after negative experiences.

Spend Time in Nature

Even just a walk outside during the work day can ground you. Let your mind wander.


Find something you enjoy. Any exercise will help reduce stress, but for an extra meditative experience, practice yoga or tai chi. Exercise releases endorphins, which act as natural painkillers and improve your quality of sleep.


According to a meta-analysis published in JAMA Internal Medicine, mindful meditation can improve anxiety, depression, and pain.

Use Your Five Senses

Stop for a moment and be mindful of your surroundings. Think about what you can feel: the chair you're sitting on, the sweater you’re wearing, the shoes on your feet. Think about what you can see, hear, smell, and taste.

Don’t Multi-task

When stressed, multi-tasking can make things worse. Don’t try to do too much at once. Give your attention to what is in front of you. As Korean Zen master Seung Sahn said, “When reading, only read. When eating, only eat. When thinking, only think.”

How Can I Prevent Stress Odor?

No matter how vigilant you are in preventing it, stress happens. Some people are naturally more prone to frequent stress and anxiety. So what can we do to minimize the inevitable stress odor?

Bathe Daily

Wash off your sweat and odor for a fresh start every day. Use a high quality, natural soap that gently cleanses and leaves your skin feeling deeply moisturized.

Wear Natural Fabrics

Natural fabrics like cotton and linen are much more breathable and don’t trap odors. Synthetic fabrics hold onto old odors, wash after wash.

Avoid Strong Smelling Foods

“You are what you eat” is especially true for foods like garlic and onion, which are high in sulfur-containing compounds and can secrete into the apocrine glands. Read more about which foods tend to cause more body odor in this blog.

Keep Body Hair Trimmed

Apocrine sweat glands open into hair follicles, which is why body odor is generally strongest in hairy regions like the pubic and underarm areas. More body hair means more surface area for bacteria to grow. Keeping body hair trimmed can reduce body odor.

Use a Deodorant that Prevents Body Odor

Lume Deodorant for Underarms & Private Parts is unique because it prevents bacteria from creating odor. Lume is even clinically-proven to control odor for up 72 hours!

Antiperspirants contain aluminum, which clogs sweat glands to reduce sweating. Less sweat can potentially mean less odor, but no antiperspirants completely block all sweat. Plus, aluminum even increases the count of odor-causing bacteria on your body and can stain your clothes. Lume is a skin-safe, natural deodorant that prevents body odor from forming in the first place, leaving you smelling like nothing at all– even on super sweaty days! Lume is water-based, so it won’t stain your clothes. With that in mind, Lume is a real game-changer in the hygiene industry!

The best part? You can use Lume ANYWHERE on your external body. Lume is great for underarms, private parts, foot odor, between the cheeks, underboobs, and anywhere else you can think of.

Try Lume Deodorant Wipes along with Lume Deodorant for the added peace of mind that comes with on-the-go odor protection. Carrying Lume Wipes with you just in case you ever need a sudden refresher is like carrying a little shower in your pocket.

With Lume, you can navigate this stressful life with a little more serenity.

Disclaimer: If anxiety and stress make day-to-day tasks feel insurmountable on a frequent basis, consider talking to your doctor about treatments, medication, and/or therapy.

Madeleine Dow

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