It is an age-old question. Why do feet smell? The answer may surprise you.No matter who you are – if you have had a hard day on your feet, everyone will know it once you take off your shoes. Feet work hard, holding us up and carrying us about, and they often develop the smell to prove it.
If you think you are alone, you are not. Thousands upon thousands of people suffer daily from odorous feet. Keep reading and find out why.
The Science of Sweat
The body sweats. It’s a fact. This is the way that the body cools itself off. The feet contain about a quarter of a million sweat glands on their surfaces alone. These glands are present all over the skin’s surface to help it get rid of dirt, bacteria and also maintain temperature.
You might be wondering why your arms or your legs don’t smell when they sweat. Would it surprise you to know that sweat has no odor at all? It is the reason that some sweat and don’t offend others, while some sweat even the slightest and waft an unpleasant odor around the room.
The skin’s surface contains bacteria. These bacteria are there to protect the body from invaders. But, bacteria have to eat something. When you sweat, they find this a scrumptious feeding ground. The by-product of bacterial digestion is the strong odor that is produced on your feet. The warm, dark, moist surroundings are perfect for this.
People who have hair on their feet are doubly blessed with odor. This gives bacteria more surface area to use for feeding.
So, Why Feet?
Feet have something unique – socks and shoes. Walking around barefoot is not an option as your feet will be unprotected from the elements and other damaging objects. So, you put on socks in the morning.
Socks can hold moisture against the surface of the foot all day or as long as you are wearing them. Cotton socks do help the moisture to wick away from the skin and absorb into the material, lowering the amount of sweat that bacteria has to feed on.
Shoes on top of socks can further increase the constriction. With nowhere for the sweat to go, it stays on the foot’s surface and produces odor through bacterial activity.
Some people sweat more than others. If you are predisposed to heavy sweating by genetics or other environmental factors like your job, odor will be more of a dilemma for you. But, you can fight back. Not everyone’s feet smell badly, so there has to be a reason that you can take advantage of as well.
Now that you know why feet smell, you can set about combating the problem.