Underarm Odor Examined

Sports makes you feel great but also increase body odor.
Sports makes you feel great but also increase body odor.
Peter Dazeley /Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

In 1984, the Gillette Company came up with one of the catchiest ad campaigns in recent memory: "Never let them see you sweat." It was the tag line for the company's Dry Idea antiperspirants. Backed by a steady lineup of contemporary stars ranging from fashion designer Donna Karan to comedian Elayne Boosler, Dry Idea became a household name. The ads were bold, sexy and to the point. Of course it didn't hurt that the message the campaign was sending was one most of us can relate to.

It's hard to imagine anything more embarrassing than walking around in a shirt with two soaked armpits. The Gillette ad played on the notion that our nerves lead to profuse underarm sweat, and in order to stay cool under pressure, Dry Idea was an essential element. And while there is some truth to that (nerves do make us sweat), the ad played more on the social stigma related to sweaty armpits. But sweaty pits are just what others see. What about the smell associated with them?

The truth is sweating is a natural process the body uses to regulate our temperature. Without sweat, our bodies would overheat. But that doesn't mean underarm odor is necessary, or that all sweat is smelly. This article sheds some light on underarm odor, what causes it and what you can do to prevent it. First, we'll look at what we can do to prevent underarm odor.