Sweat Smells like Vinegar

Pure sweat has no smell. However, after secretion, as it comes to the skin surface, the liquid interacts with various bacteria that break down components within it, which results in different odors that also vary in intensity. If your sweat smells like vinegar, it is because it has traces of substances that when broken down results into chemical substances similar to the one that makes up vinegar.


The skin

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A healthy skin has a community of bacteria that perform different functions that keep it working at its best, while the organisms also benefit from the food generated in from the substances present on skin. Most of these bacteria occupy the outer skin, while some live around sweat and sebaceous glands. Propionic bacteria, which resides chiefly around the glands, is the one responsible for bringing bout vinegar smell in sweat as it breaks down waste components, turning them into acetic acid.

The armpit and face region have the highest concentration of secretory vessels and therefore are more likely to be the sources of the strongest smell. It is also apparent that people who are affected by acne tend to produce more vinegar smell, and this is attributed to their highly active glands.

Everybody has some level of vinegar-like smell in his or her sweat. However, many factors will determine the intensity of the smell of your sweat. These may include your genes, the food you eat, your stress levels, underlying diseases, as well as personal hygiene. Below is a look at the major factors that are likely to make your sweat to smell like vinegar:


Excess sweat

The more sweat you produce, the higher the component deposits on your skin. Genes determine some differences in sweat levels of individuals. However, a person can also influence their sweat production depending on how much water they drink, activities they engage in, their level of salt intake, and other factors in the environment such as temperature and humidity.

The benefit of drinking enough water however is more than the impact it brings on your sweat production, and to an extent, on its smell. This is because it dilutes other chemicals and therefore regulates the concentrations that are released onto the skin, making little the impact of bacteria.



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If you consume vinegar itself or foods that contain it, you are likely to produce sweat that smells like it. Almost all major foods have components that, when the body breaks down, produce acetic acid as a byproduct. This explains why everyone produces at least some level of vinegar smell in their sweat.

However, there are certain foods that are richer in these components and so tend to produce more effect. These include coconut, dates, sorghum, rice, millet, apples, and dates among others.

Consumption of high protein foods like cheese will also raises the concentration of the chemical in your sweat. But because bodies are different, different people will produce varying amounts of the acid for the same food.



After breakdown, any form of alcohol produces high level ofpropanoic acid components. If you find your smell too high, ask yourself if you might be consuming too much alcohol and see if you can reduce intake.

If you consider your alcohol intake to be normal, then probably it is another thing causing the vinegar smell. Keep in mind however that the same amount of drinking that is normal for one person may be too much for another.



Ketosis is a condition whereby the body feeds on its own protein reserve. When this happens, a lot of by-products from the process contribute to vinegar smell in sweat.

Ketosis may occur in people who are starving either deliberately or because they lack food. Deliberate starvation happens with extreme dieting practices, especially common in people who are too concerned about their weight.

Diabetic ketosis,on the other hand, happens regardless of the feeding habit of a diabetes patient. Though rare, the condition is dangerous as it may lead to death within 24 hours if medical attention is not sought on time.

n early sign of diabetic ketosis is the presence of a fruity smell in both urine and sweat; at some stage, the patient’s sweat may also smell like vinegar. These may be accompanied by vomiting, deep breathing, dazing and profuse sweat. If you notice these signs, it is wise to go for immediate tests to confirm if it is normal.


Personal hygiene

You are going to become smelly if you do not clean your body frequently. Because some people sweat more than others, the frequency of birth needed to keep a person fresh may vary between one and three times a day.

Simple measures like cleaning yourself regularly, changing into new clothes after a long day, and reducing intake of alcohol and certain foods can help to lower body odor.

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