Why Hormones Stink: Puberty and Body Odor Skip to content
Why Hormones Stink: Puberty and Body Odor | Prep U

Why Hormones Stink: Puberty and Body Odor

No, it's not your imagination. His room really is smellier...and his gym bag, car, the locker room. You name it and chances are if a teenage boy has been near it, it stinks of body odor. That’s not cruelty or nose-bias. That’s hard truth based on the biological changes occurring in his body during puberty. The singular odor-causing change? Hormones.

Thanks to the influx of hormones released during puberty, teenage boys are particularly prone to body odor. Those changing hormones lead to increased sweat production and a special kind of smell that we all know oh-so-well. In addition to stinky pits, those same hormones can also result in oily skin, acne, and an increased appetite — leading to the dreaded “Freshman 15.” But don’t despair! All of these developments are entirely normal and can be managed with proper hygiene habits. After all, it’s not like we want him smelling like a locker room his whole life, do we? ;)


How do hormones cause BO, you ask?

It’s simple. More hormones = more sweat. But wait, you already know that sweat alone doesn’t cause odor. True, it’s not the excess sweat that’s causing his BO. It’s a series of events that literally reeks havoc.

It begins with the arrival of these new and plentiful hormones which awaken the apocrine gland—a gland activated specifically during puberty. Seeking revenge for being disturbed, the apocrine gland produces more moisture in specific areas like armpits and groins. Then, in a particularly spiteful gesture, this gland also starts producing oil to mix with all the newfound sweat. So, the hormones lead to sweat which leads to oil which leads to BO, right? Wrong. Let’s just say, what began as a civil dispute turns into a full-blown community uprising.

The hormones that added all the extra sweat to begin with also contain new, teen-specific chemicals. And these chemicals release odor when broken down. But wait, there’s more.

The excess sweat mixes with the gland-producing oil and the release of the new, odor-releasing chemicals which ultimately merge with the bacteria we find on our skin and clothes to create. And what we’re left with is, you guessed it, body odor.

So, while it might seem like hormones are to blame for your teen’s BO, they’re only responsible for the first few steps of a long and smelly journey. But don’t worry—there is hope! Good hygiene habits can go a long way in keeping teenage body odor at bay.


Hormones are, in fact, very much to blame for this whole stinky, sweaty biological mess.

Now that we got THAT out of the way, coping with it is the easy part.

It all starts with proper hygiene. Preparing him to start taking care of all the curveballs his body is throwing him during puberty is critical if he’s going to combat body odor. Part of that preparation is choosing the right deodorant. Lucky for you, you came to the right place for info on all things deodorant and detox.

From the truth about natural deodorants to deciding if charcoal deodorant is actually his best bet (did you know charcoal products can actually draw out odor-causing bacteria?), we can help steer him in the right direction.

So, don't be too hard on him when his bedroom starts to resemble a skunk's living quarters. It might not be his fault after all. Hormones stink, but so does teenage body odor and we can help fix that!

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that while hormones play a big role in body odor, there are steps you can take to help him out. With the right hygiene routine and deodorant products, he'll be able to tackle those unpleasant scents once and for all!


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