(Time) Don’t Let Them Smell You Sweat: You’ll Seem Untrustworthy
There’s a reason why you should never let ‘em see — or smell — you sweat. You appear not just less confident, but less competent and less trustworthy as well.
It’s not exactly a revelation, but it is sobering — women are judged differently based on their sweat, according to a new study published in PLOS ONE. Experts in the field of perspiration have broken sweat down into three types: sweat from exercise, sweat in response to heat, and sweat from stress. Each is driven by a slightly different body process — exercise and heat sweat come from the body’s eccrine glands, which pump out clear, odorless water on the surface of the skin that is tinged with a bit of salt (these are the glands responsible for damp foreheads and clammy palms and feet). Stress sweat, however, comes from the more hirsute regions of the body — think scalp, armpits and groin — and is saturated with fats. Those aren’t odoriferous per se, but they serve as food for the bacteria that blanket the skin, and it’s those bugs that emit the hallmark BO signalling sweat under pressure.
And according to scientists from Monell Chemical Senses Center, that odor also affects how people perceive the sweatee. While previous work suggested that people changed their emotional reactions toward others based on their odor, the latest study found that people may also judge others on their compatibility and trustworthiness according to their scent.