Why do feet smell?

Have you ever noticed that even the cleanest, most hygienic person can suffer from smelly feet? Or that no matter how many times you air out those old trainers, you can still smell them a mile off? Ever wondered why? 

Smelly shoes or stinky feet can be very embarrassing, and for people who suffer from it, it can seem like a hopeless situation. After all, there are only so many times in a day that you can wash! But once you know what causes foot odour you are one step closer to reducing it, or even removing it for good.

Why do my feet smell?

The cause of foot odour is simple: not just sweat, but rather the bacteria that eat sweat.

Our feet sweat a lot. With 250,000 sweat glands, they produce more perspiration per square inch than any other part of our bodies – about one cup every day. People who suffer from the excessive sweating caused by hyperhidrosis will produce even more than this.

Luckily the sweat that our feet produce is not inherently smelly. The sweat glands on your feet - like those on most of your body - are called eccrine glands, and the sweat that they produce is comprised mostly of just salt and water. The other sweat glands that you have are apocrine glands – they are located near hair follicles and appear in abundance on your scalp, underarms and groin area. These produce a thick, oily sweat in times of stress. By contrast, the sweat secreted from apocrine glands is a cooling mechanism, released to reduce your body heat when it gets too high.

While the sweat that your body produces is odourless, it starts to smell when it comes into contact with the bacteria that live on your skin. Different bacteria create gases that produce different smells – some of which really stink! The most common complaints that people suffer are feet that smell like vinegar or cheese, which makes sense as some of the bacteria on your feet are actually the same as those used in the production of the smelliest cheeses.

What about my shoes?

Shoes and socks are the ideal home for bacteria, especially if they are made from synthetic materials and don’t allow for the circulation of air necessary for your feet to breathe. Shoes that you wear often, for long periods of time or while exercising can absorb sweat from your skin and become loaded with bacteria – the worst combination for smelly shoes!

So what can I do about it?

Many treatments for body odour try to tackle or cover up the smell. However, this has variable results and will only ever treat the symptoms - not the cause. Combating the bacteria that cause the smell is a more effective, long lasting and direct method of treating body odour. And that is exactly what Trust does and what makes it so effective and at the same time healthy.

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