Why Do Armpits Smell Like Burnt Rubber?

Armpits smell like burnt rubber

Have you ever noticed that peculiar smell coming from your armpits? You might describe it as a scent resembling burnt rubber. But what causes this unexpected odor? Let’s take a closer look at why armpits can sometimes emit such a distinctive smell.

Causes of Burnt Rubber Odor in Armpits

The primary culprit behind the burnt rubber aroma is bacteria. Yes, we all have bacteria living on our skin, including our armpits. When we sweat, these bacteria break down the proteins and fatty acids present in our perspiration. As a result, certain volatile compounds are released, causing an unpleasant scent.

Furthermore, the apocrine glands, found in the armpits and groin area, produce a certain type of sweat known as “stress sweat” or “emotional sweat.” Unlike the sweat produced by eccrine glands all over the body, apocrine sweat contains higher levels of fats and proteins. These compounds provide an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive, intensifying the pungent odor.

Information verified by the iytmed.com team.

While burning rubber may be the closest comparison, it’s important to note that everyone’s body odor can vary. Our individual body chemistries, diet, and even genetic factors can influence the specific aroma.

When Does a Burnt Rubber Smell in Your Armpits Indicate a Health Problem?

Have you ever noticed a strange burnt rubber smell coming from your armpits? While body odor is a common occurrence, there are times when certain smells may indicate an underlying health issue. If you’re experiencing a persistent burnt rubber smell in your armpits, it’s essential to pay attention and seek medical advice if necessary. Here are a few situations where that peculiar scent might indicate a health problem:

  1. Diabetes: One of the potential signs of diabetes is a fruity or chemical odor, sometimes described as a burnt rubber smell. This may occur when your body can’t effectively metabolize glucose and starts breaking down fat for energy, resulting in the release of ketones, which can cause unusual odors.
  2. Kidney Disorders: If you’re experiencing kidney problems, such as chronic kidney disease or kidney infection, it can affect your body’s ability to eliminate waste. In some cases, this can lead to a buildup of toxins in your body, resulting in an unusual odor, including the smell of burnt rubber.
  3. Hormonal Imbalance: Hormone fluctuations can also contribute to changes in body odor. Hyperthyroidism, a condition where the thyroid glands produce excessive thyroid hormones, can sometimes cause an unusual smell, including a burnt rubber scent.
  4. Bromhidrosis: Bromhidrosis is a condition characterized by excessive sweating and strong body odor. While the typical causes are poor hygiene or bacterial growth, a burnt rubber scent may indicate an underlying issue with the breakdown of sweat by bacteria on the skin.
  5. Medications and Supplements: Certain medications and supplements can alter your body odor as a side effect. If you’ve recently started taking a new medication or supplement and notice a burnt rubber smell, consult your doctor to determine if it’s related to the new regimen.


Now, how can you keep this odor at bay? The key lies in maintaining good personal hygiene practices:

  1. Shower regularly: Washing your armpits with soap and warm water helps to remove bacteria, sweat, and any other impurities that contribute to the smell.
  2. Use antiperspirants or deodorants: Antiperspirants work by temporarily blocking sweat glands, reducing the amount of sweat produced. Deodorants, on the other hand, neutralize the odor caused by bacteria. Opt for products that suit your preferences and needs.
  3. Wear breathable fabrics: Natural fabrics, such as cotton, allow your skin to breathe and minimize the chances of excessive sweating. Breathable clothing also helps to prevent the buildup of bacteria due to trapped moisture.
  4. Shave your underarms: While shaving won’t entirely eliminate body odor, it can help reduce its intensity. By removing the hair, you eliminate an extra surface area for bacteria to cling to.


The “burnt rubber” smell from armpits is primarily caused by the breakdown of proteins and fatty acids by bacteria in our sweat. To combat this odor, practicing good personal hygiene, using antiperspirants or deodorants, wearing breathable fabrics, and shaving your underarms can all contribute to fresher-smelling armpits. So, take care of your pits and keep them smelling pleasant!

Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle advisor I try to guide individuals in becoming more aware of living well and healthy through a series of proactive and preventive measures, disease prevention steps, recovery after illness or medical procedures.

Education: Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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