The Weird Reason Your Boobs Smell Like Vinegar Sometimes

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"Why do my breasts smell like vinegar?" I asked my boyfriend.

My boyfriend dropped his French fry. Which, coincidentally, he had just dunked in a puddle of vinegar.

We've been together a year, so theoretically the romance shouldn't be dead, but I've never been one for holding back when it comes to my bodily functions, something my boyfriend knows all too well by now.

If he finds me standing naked in his bedroom, I could be initiating sex, sure, but I could also be about to ask him to look at a suspicious rash I found dancing up my mons pubis.

But asking him why my breasts smelled like vinegar? That was apparently crossing some sort of line.

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If you have breasts, particularly big breasts like me, you are no stranger to the art of managing breast sweat. Sweating is normal and even healthy. See, when your body temperature rises from exercise, heat, stress or hormone shifts, sweating is what helps keep your internal temperature at a comfortable 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Sweating helps release heat, which helps maintain optimal body temperature,” says Pamela Webert, an exercise physiologist at Henry Ford Health System. "If we didn't sweat, our bodies would literally cook from the inside out.”

So, since it was the dead heat of August, I wasn't surprised to find that my breasts were totally saturated, but I was surprised to find that my breasts now seemed to smell like vinegar.

I did a quick internet search and found out that I wasn't alone in wondering why my normally fragrant breasts had turned into something sour-smelling and rank.

The good news? Having breasts that smell like vinegar is totally normal. The bad news? The rest of that stank is anything but pretty.

What are the common reasons why sweat smells like vinegar under breasts?

Below, you'll find some of the most common causes and, more importantly, what you can do to treat them.

1. Your diet includes a lot of sugar.

When it comes to your diet, eating an excessive amount of sugar can lead to the walloping case of vinegar breasts.

Seriously, though, sugar breaks down in your bloodstream. Then, it takes a new form, like a very un-sexy shapeshifter, turning into acidic compounds that can have a vinegar tang when the body produces sweat.

In fact, having sweat that smells like vinegar can be a symptom of diabetes for just this reason.

Talk to your doctor before you make any major changes to your diet, but if you eat a diet high in sugar and your breasts smell like vinegar, it could be the sugar breaking down that's to blame.

Curse you, sugar. Curse you for being so enticing, comforting, delicious, and stank-making.

2. You sweat more.

If you smell your breasts and they smell like vinegar, it's not actually your breast skin that is giving off this potent aroma. It's your sweat.

When you sweat, your body is producing waste, and that waste? It stinks. If you aren't bathing as regularly as you should be bathing, or using deodorant, this smell can build up leaving behind a vinegar-like smell.

So if your breasts smell like vinegar and it's something you've only just noticed, it could be because it's the summertime and your body is producing more sweat, especially in regions like your underboob, and that can lead to serious vinegar smells.

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3. There could be an infection or common bacterial growth.

When you sweat, your body produces this not-so-sweet smelling juice through two different types of glands.

First, you have eccrine glands that basically cover your entire body. They have one job, and it's to keep your temperature regulated. Sweat from these regions tends to evaporate immediately leaving behind little to no odor.

But the apocrine glands? Those are a sweat gland of a different color (as I seriously hope they might never say in "The Wizard of Oz"). These glands are located in your ears, your genitals, your armpits, and (you guessed it) your breasts.

These glands all perform other jobs (like producing breast milk or forming ear wax), which means that they also produce a lot of protein.

When the protein from these glands mixes with the salt from your eccrine glands, it can create a vinegar-like smell that is easy to identify and just plain rank (unless you're into eating fish and chips).

However, it's important to keep the area dry because if not, the excessive sweating with bacteria involved can cause serious rashes to occur. If this happens, go to a doctor and they should prescribe you an anti-fungal.

Essentially, if you find yourself asking why your breasts smell like vinegar, the TL;DR response is: because you've got body odor happening.

Breast sweat can be more difficult to handle than underarm stank, but there are remedies.

How can you prevent breast sweat/smell?

1. Wash your bras.

Though it's tempting to wear a bra for many days in a row and not include it in a daily wash of your clothing, this may actually be causing an odor. 

Start by washing your bras once a week and changing them daily, especially during the hottest times of the year. Doing this can help with air circulation to keep the area dry.

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2. Use aluminum-free deodorant.

Unlike your regular deodorant, aluminum-free deodorants block odor instead of blocking sweat. These deodorants contain antibacterial ingredients designed to kill odor-causing bacteria that live off your sweat protein.

Other deodorants that do contain aluminum don't get rid of the sweat and only block your pores, which can retain the odor. Aluminum has also been linked to various diseases, so women should probably steer clear from putting it around their breasts.

3. Change your diet.

If you're fastidious about this stuff and suspect your diet might be a factor, it's a good idea to consult with your doctor for medical advice to find a way to balance your sugar levels and get you feeling better and your breasts smelling great.

A bonus side effect of changing your diet is that you may lose some weight in the process.

4. Wear cotton material.

Cotton is one of the most breathable fabrics out there. When you wear cotton, your skin will breathe comfortably and it can keep you cool during hot weather. 

It's great to work out in since cotton absorbs sweat with its rope-like construction, with many nooks and crannies for the sweat to go, meaning it will stay off of you.

5. Use baby powder, corn starch, or baby wipes.

Using baby powder, corn starch, or baby wipes on your breasts is a great way to preventing chafing and rashes like intertrigo. Intertrigo commonly occurs under the breasts and can cause fungal or bacterial infection, only adding to the smell.

When in doubt, give your chest or body a wipe with baby wipes to cleanse the skin, or apply baby powder or corn starch to stop the sweat.

6. Stay on top of your hygiene.

Good hygiene is one of the most common sense ways to get rid of unwanted odor.

Wash with soap and warm water to remove all the gunk trapped within your pores. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to exfoliate your breasts and the skin surrounding them as well. Washing often and taking care of your hygiene will stop that vinegar smell.

7. If all else fails, consider Botox.

That's right, Botox can shut down sweat glands. A study showed that the 16 volunteers between the ages of 18-51 who were injected with Botox in the armpit had significantly lower odor intensity

"Botox may foster 'favorable odorous substances' by rebalancing the gland secretions and/or preventing unpleasant smells from skin-surface bacteria — thus improving body odor," the lead researcher on the study said.

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer and the Senior Editor of Pop Culture at Newsweek with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, and true crime.