Why Do Fat People Smell?

Author Larry Palmer

Author: Larry Palmer

Body odor is an embarrassing fact of life. Most people experience it at one point or another. For some of us, it’s a side effect of a strenuous workout. For others, it’s a daily issue.

It seems that obese people contend with body odor more than those of average size. We set out to learn why that is. Why do fat people seem to smell worse than others around them, and is there any way to effectively counteract that smell?

So Why Do Fat People Smell Bad – 6 Factors to Consider

So why do fat people smell?

The truth is there are several factors leading to bad smell. Some of them are common to everyone, however, we want to find out why fat people seem to smell worse than other people. We’ve chosen to highlight six of those factors here:

Sweating More

Sweat itself is an odorless way the body cools itself off. However, bacteria and fungi are what break down the sweat, and that can cause an odor. When you are fat, you have extra layers of fat around your internal organs. That causes excess body heat.

Excess body heat means your body needs to cool off, so it produces moisture in the form of sweat. As you sweat more, your body odor increases.

Skin Folds

The smell that emanates from sweat is directly related to how active the bacteria and fungi are at breaking it down. When sweat is exposed to air, it evaporates. However, a fat person smell likely comes from skin folds and crevasses that trap the sweat.

Trapped sweat means more active bacteria and fungi. More active bacteria and fungi means smelling worse. So, skin folds can be directly linked to bad smell.

Warmer Temperatures

Fat people have more body mass which leads to higher body temperatures. The higher body temperature makes your body a petri dish for bacteria and fungi to grow and thrive. Increased bacterial activity means a greater chance of a foul smell.

Gas Build-up

Fat people smell partly because they have a greater buildup of hydrogen and methane in their systems. The presence of the gasses has been linked to increased body fat.

These gasses are released in several areas including through their breath. When your breath smells, it surrounds the air around you and makes everything have a foul smell.

Digestive Bacteria

Some smells that emanate from our bodies can be traced to microbes in the digestive tract. Overweight people have a greater number of these microbes.

As the microbes work, they cause a gas-like smell. Fat people have a tendency to breathe heavier which causes them to pull more of the smell from their gut up and out.

False Assumptions

What if I told you that sometimes fat people don’t smell? That’s right, sometimes a person will see overweight people and expect them to smell. That negative bias will lead them to perceive a smell that isn’t there at all!

How to Help the Smell if You’re Overweight or Obese

Good hygiene is the first step to helping to eliminate body odor. However, sometimes, simply taking care of hygiene isn’t enough. If you sweat excessively and you’re overweight, you already have two strikes against you when it comes to odor. Here are some things that might help bridge the gap for you.


Antiperspirants are designed to block sweat production. You can purchase a regular strength antiperspirant on the deodorant aisle of your favorite store.

Or, if you sweat excessively and a regular strength product isn’t strong enough, you can request a prescription for a stronger one from your doctor. You apply these anywhere you sweat, and they can be applied up to twice daily.

Citric Acid

Citric acid kills bacteria. Lemons have a lot of citric acid, and they smell fresh. You can squeeze lemon juice into a small spray bottle or atomizer, and spray areas where you notice an odor. The lemon is safe to spray directly on your skin, unless you’re allergic to citrus, of course!

Morning Showers

If you’re overweight, starting your day with a morning shower using antibacterial soap can help you start by smelling fresh. This is especially helpful if you find that you sweat at night while you sleep.

The antibacterial soap helps to reduce the amount of bacteria on your skin. If you sweat profusely throughout the day, you may need an evening shower as well.

Foot Powder

Many overweight people sweat excessively, and this includes the feet. Bacteria love sweaty feet because they are trapped inside socks and shoes giving lots of room for bacteria to flourish.

How do you counteract sweaty feet? Start by changing the shoes you wear often. Go barefoot whenever possible. When those options aren’t possible, you can use a foot powder to deodorize your shoes.

Crystal Rock Deodorizer

Look for crystal rock deodorizer in stick form. Wet the tip of the deodorizer and use it anywhere you sweat more. Armpits, backs of knees, folds of elbows, skin folds, and beneath breasts are suggested areas to use the crystal rock. The crystal rock will help prevent bacteria growth.

Dry Well

When you finish bathing make sure you dry yourself thoroughly with a clean towel. Pay particular attention to skin folds and other areas where you seem to sweat more. Bacteria love dark, moist areas. If you get your skin thoroughly dry, bacteria have fewer places to grow.

Tummy Liners

Tummy liners are a product that you can purchase to place under the folds of your abdomen. They absorb sweat. Using tummy liners can help to prevent irritation and chafing from sweat in the folds of your stomach.


Can fat cause body odor?

Excess fat can cause a rise in temperature which can then cause an unpleasant smell. Being overweight causes a person to be more susceptible to bad body odor.

Why do my fat rolls smell?

Bacteria love moist dark places. Sweat tends to gather beneath fat rolls giving bacteria a prime location for growth. As bacteria increases, it creates a foul smell which in turn makes your fat rolls smell.

Can being overweight cause feminine odor?

The short answer is it can contribute to it. Just as sweat anywhere else on your body can cause a bad smell, moisture around your genitals can increase odors too. Being overweight can also increase your risk for yeast infections which have an odor as well.

Why does my thigh crease smell?

Like skin folds, this area is a prime breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. As those grow and spread, so does the smell. One way to help is to ensure you get the area thoroughly clean and then thoroughly dry each time you bathe.

Does losing weight help with body odor?

Losing weight can initially change the way your sweat smells. You may notice an odor that reminds you of nail polish remover or a fruity smell. Eventually, as your weight decreases, and your body gets more toned, you might find overall body odor decreases.

Conclusion – Why do Fat People Stink?

So why do fat people stink?  Why do obese people smell?

There are several factors contributing to that smell, but most of those can be traced back to bacteria growth in moist areas of the body. Good hygiene and making use of products available on the market can help reduce the smell.

Of course, sometimes, there is no smell. There are times when it’s assumed there is a smell simply because someone is overweight. Education is the best way to help eliminate this fat bias.