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Q. Can stress cause body odor?

A. Indirectly, stress can contribute to BO. But don’t blame it all on your boss, your bills or even your overactive sweat glands.

The body uses different sweat glands for stress than for physical exertion. Anxiety stimulates the glands in the armpits, in the groin and on the scalp, palms and feet. Unlike the salty sweat that covers our chest and back when we need to cool down, stress sweat is fatty—which makes it an especially fine meal for bacteria.

Perspiration is itself odorless. But when bacteria on skin and clothes begins breaking down fatty sweat, that stinks.

The solution? Minimize the bacteria on your body by showering regularly and wearing clean clothes. Use deodorant, which not only masks odor but makes the skin acidic and therefore less inhabitable to bacteria.

It’s not complicated. Perhaps your co-workers will even chip in for soap.