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HealthInfo Canterbury

Personal hygiene

body odourIn our armpits and groins we have glands that make the scent that attracts people to us (our pheromones). These glands also make sweat. When we hit puberty, the increase in hormones makes the glands work more.

You might be surprised to know that sweat itself doesn't smell. The smell comes when bacteria (germs) on our skin break down the sweat.

Washing your skin every day with soap will help to wash away the smell. Normal soap is fine, you don't need to use a special antibacterial soap. Using a deodorant also helps, as this disguises any smell that develops during the day. It's common to need to use a deodorant, as well as washing every day.

The sweat (and smell) also stays on your clothes, so remember to wash them regularly too.

There is a difference between a deodorant and an antiperspirant. An antiperspirant works by stopping you from sweating so much, while a deodorant uses perfume to disguise the smell.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created March 2016.

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Page reference: 154821

Review key: HIPHY-154821