Men's Life Today: Expert Q+A
How come the sweat on my hands doesn't smell?
There are two types of sweat glands in the human body: merocrine and apocrine. The perspiration produced by merocrine sweat glands, the kind found in the palms of your hands, doesn’t smell. Apocrine sweat glands are found in the armpit, breast and groin areas. Unlike merocrine sweat glands, they don’t help regulate temperature control, so we don’t know exactly what their functional use is. We do know that when the sweat from the armpits or groin reacts to bacteria on the body -- and bacteria are a normal component of the skin -- it creates an odor. A second factor contributing to this odor is genetics: Apocrine sweat glands release chemicals called pheromones, and some people’s pheromones are stronger-smelling than others. The simple solution to curb these odors, of course, is deodorant and antiperspirant.