New research proves that stress sweat really is different from exercise sweat, and people who smell it on you might think you’re less trustworthy, competent and confident, according to the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.
When you’re stressed, others can smell it on you, according to a new study.
The type of perspiration glands secrete when someone is agonizing over a blind date or under pressure at work is different from gym sweat, research from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia shows.
“It’s different because it’s released from a different gland,” lead study author Dr. Pamela Dalton told the Daily News. “We have sweat glands all over our bodies that produce exercise sweat — that watery, profuse sweat we get when we work out — but stress sweat comes from the glands in the underarms and groin only.”
Not only can people smell the difference, but it affects how people are perceived, Dalton said.
In the study, funded by P&G beauty and published by the journal PLOS ONE, participants watched videos of women doing ordinary things that could potentially be stressful — primping in front of a mirror, taking care of a child, working in an office, for example. When viewers were exposed to the unique scent of stress sweat, they subconsciously viewed the women in the videos as less competent, confident and trustworthy.
When participants smelled stress sweat that had been treated with antiperspirant (Secret Clinical Strength was used in the study), they viewed the women more positively.
“The exercise sweat was kind of in the middle,” Dalton said.
The sweat samples came from another group of female participants.
Dalton suggests stress sweat has a more pungent odor because it’s used as a way to communicate nonverbally.
“If you’re interacting with someone and you pick up on the fact that they’re stressed, it might change your interaction. Maybe you’ll be a little nicer, maybe you’ll move away,” she said.
“It allows us to convey information about our emotional state or health status without actually talking.”