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How Do I Know If I Stink? - Others May Be Lying to You

Christina Ablahad

Posted by Christina A.



How Do I Know If I Stink? - Others May Be Lying to You

You've made fun of someone who smells bad before. It's a common thing. We all do it. Here's a hard truth. You've been made fun of for smelling bad too. It's inevitable. You're a man. Sometimes, you're going to stink. If you want to avoid the social fallout that comes with a strong man scent, you need to tell when you do not smell your best. You can't just ask people. They're too polite. They won't say it to your face. Instead, you need some resources you can trust. That's what you'll be learning about today.

What Makes You Stink?

How well do you understand the causes of B.O.? Most people have a vague notion at best. We're going to dive into the topic and paint a clearer picture. When you know why you stink, it makes it easier to address the situation.

Not All Sweat Is the Same

Most people are under the impression that sweaty men are smelly men. That's only partially true. In reality, there are different kinds of sweat, and they will impact your personal aroma in different ways.

For the most part, smelly sweat comes from a specific type of sweat gland called apocrine glands. They are not all over your body. They are primarily located under your armpits and around your junk. That's why deodorant isn't worn everywhere. You only need it on the smelly glands, so you only need deodorant for your pit and balls.

Most of your sweat comes from eccrine glands. They excrete saltwater. It doesn't have a smell (as opposed to the thicker, stickier sweat in the smelly parts).

Now, there are two exceptions to this rule. Eccrine sweat can become odorous in two ways. The most common is through the actions of bacteria. Your sweat can essentially feed the bacteria on your skin. If it's left there for a long time, it will reek. The easy remedy to this is to shower after you break a heavy sweat.

The other exception is related to stress. When you sweat from stress (rather than to cool your body), the sweat is likely to carry more hormones in it. Those hormones can impact the smell and make you stink.

So, how does all of this help? You know you stink if your pits or your balls are soaked. You also know you stink if you got really sweaty and left it alone long enough to have that salty film on your body. That's pretty gross. Lastly, you know you're smelly if you are sweating when it isn't hot and you aren't physically active. Those are all key tells.

sweaty man working out

More Than Sweat Can Make You Stink

Sweat is the one we all think about, but it's not the only way to build up some powerful B.O. Your scalp is capable of producing smells your balls could only imagine. Dirty hair is quite a common source of stench. It can be related to sweat. Your hair traps the sweat, and then the bacteria do their thing. You also have natural oils in your hair. When they build-up, it can smell bad.

On top of all of that, your scalp itself can stink. When it gets dry, it will flake and take on an unpleasant odor. So, the key to all of this is to wash your hair properly.

There's another common source of stink that many guys overlook: perfumes. Sure, we call them colognes and other names, but it's all the same concept. Scented oils designed to mask your natural musk are popular. But, when you use them excessively, they become far more offensive than a little locker room aromatherapy. You want to make sure you aren't acting like a 13-year-old who just discovered body spray for the first time. That's no good.

Smelling Yourself to Find the Stink

You can't typically sniff yourself. You go nose blind. That said, some tricks can get around that problem and help you detect the stink before it starts making eyes water.

Smell Yourself

Sometimes, you're a little grungy, and you can smell a little of your funk. Don't lie. You've been there. It was probably a lazy weekend, and you put off showering an extra day. When that happens, think things through. If you can smell yourself at all, you know it's worse for anyone around you. From the perspective of an innocent bystander, you're probably giving off brown squiggly lines of stench. Any time you smell yourself, assume it's a lot stronger to everyone else.

Sniff Your Clothes

When you aren't outright filthy, it's harder to detect your stink. One trick you can do to test your B.O. is to take off your clothing (a shirt is usually easy). Get it away from you for a minute or so. Then, you can sniff it thoroughly. If you don't like the smell, you're a stinky boy.

The key to this test is that the clothing can get past your nose blindness after a little bit of separation. That means you want to sniff test clothes that sit right on your skin (undershirts are more useful than jacket layers). You also have to think carefully about how to perform this test. You can't just strip in public to see if you stink. Apparently, society isn't ok with that.

man holding nose

Check Your Scalp

You already know that your hair and scalp can stink. Testing your hair and scalp for flavor is a useful check (no, you're not putting anything in your mouth). You want to wash your hands with water and no soap (soap scents would defeat the test). Then, run them along your scalp a bit thoroughly. Sniff your fingers and see how they fare. If they smell bad, you're overdue for a shower.

Here's a bonus tip. Make sure no one can see you perform this check. It looks super weird.

How's Your Breath?

Since we're on the subject, you need to know how to smell your breath too. In many cases, it's worse than your B.O. There are a couple of tests you can perform, but they all function on the same principle. We will explain the arm test, but you can substitute a spoon or anything else as a replacement for your arm.

This is easy. Lick your arm. Wait a few seconds. Sniff the spot that you licked. If you have bad breath, you'll smell it. The stuff that makes your breath stink sticks to your tongue, and it rubs off when you lick something.

There's an even easier version of this test. If you have a weird taste in your mouth, your breath stinks. That taste means the stink residue is so thick you can feel it. It's every bit as gross as you imagine.

Phone a Friend

Getting a second opinion is invaluable. We all need friends who will be honest with us when we stink. Those are the ones we can really trust, and we want them around for anything important. The last thing you want is to go on a first date, smelling unpleasant. Get your too-honest friend on the job.

Beat the Stink

Knowing you smell bad is not the end of this story. You want to stop smelling bad, and these easy tips will do that for you.


Wow, we really cracked the secrets of the universe on that one. Shower when you smell bad?! That's so innovative!

Yes, it's obvious, but it's still the best way to stop stinking. Take a proper shower. Don't get the water too hot. Scrub yourself thoroughly (but not vigorously). Condition your hair (all of your hair). Take a good shower.

Use Hygiene Wipes

crop mop hygiene wipes

When a shower isn't available, you can get a little pick me up with some male hygiene wipes. They're easy to use, and you can carry them anywhere.

Change Clothes

If you're going to do something sweaty and can't shower, at least take a change of clothes.

Wear Deodorant

Hopefully, this is a common practice for you, but you need to remember that deodorant goes in two places: your armpits and your balls.

That should do it. You're armed against your body odor. You have no excuses to ever get caught smelling bad again. Well, at the very least, you should be able to plan around moments that make you smelly.




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