For the first time, the Canadian pathologist and endocrinologist Hans Hugo Bruno Selye took up the study of the body's response to stressful situations in the first half of the last century. He formulated the concept of stress, according to which this state is a reaction of the body that helps it survive in certain conditions. Hans Selye argued that a person has only two types of reactions that allow him to cope with danger: active, when a person enters into a struggle, and passive, in which he flees. But at the physiological level, both reactions will be accompanied by the same state of the body: a sharp, increased sweating.
This is not at all the sweat that our body produces during sports activities, hard physical work or while relaxing on the beach. Stress sweat has even a different origin. Philosopher and organic chemist George Preti explains that eccrine glands produce sweat when exercising or relaxing in the hot sun. It appears on any part of the body and looks like a watery liquid flowing freely from the forehead, back, chest - this is how the body's thermoregulation occurs. But in case of danger, sweat is secreted by completely different glands - apocrine. In addition to them, the heart muscle also reacts to stress. It begins to contract frequently and intensely, as a result of which our palms are covered with sticky sweat, and at a moment of very high danger, the whole body, everything in the mouth dries up. The nerves of the vegetative system are also "connected" to the process, in which impulses are conducted at a tremendous speed. Outwardly, this manifests itself in the form of tremors in the knees, instant pallor, which is often referred to as "became pale as a sheet", and the same perspiration.
By studying human odors at the Monell Molecular Research Center, George Preti assures us that stress sweat has a sulphurous odor. It differs sharply from the smell of sweat secreted by the eccrine glands, and is clearly distinguishable for others. This is because this type of sweat is high in fat. Moreover, in women, this smell is much sharper, according to scientists from the United States. PLOSone published the results of a study by a group of scientists who took sweat samples from more than forty women during sports, heat and stress. In the latter case, the smell was very different and had a pronounced specific shade. The head of the project, an expert in the field of body odors, Dr. Susan Biele-Hulett, noted that the smell of stressful sweat of women is the most unpleasant for men. For those with a very keen sense of smell, it becomes intolerable. The researcher herself is sure that stress has the worst smell.
Usually, stress and emotional distress are cited as the main causes of this type of sweating. It is with excessive emotions that Americans explain the failures of the first date with some girls, when a young man disappears without a trace. It is likely that this is his reaction to the stressful smell of a new acquaintance.
This comes as no surprise to experts at the Japanese cosmetics company Shiseido. They assure that a person in a situation of nervous tension smells like onions and garlic. For four years, Shiseido specialists conducted an experiment with the participation of half a thousand volunteers from 27 to 70 years old. Scientists made them feel nervous by challenging them with unexpected and difficult challenges. The result was the conclusion that in moments of intense stress arousal, the human skin emits a gas with a specific aroma, which the company's specialists called "the smell of stress". According to experts, such a reaction to nervous tension is inherent in absolutely all people, however, each person smells of stress with varying intensity. But in any case, this smell causes a feeling of fatigue among others, Japanese experts say.