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Generation BO! 72% Of Millennial Men Constantly Fear They Have Brutal Body Odor

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NEW YORK — It stinks to smell, especially for young men, it seems. A new survey is shedding light on the self-consciousness American millennial men experience when it comes to body odor. The poll of 2,000 millennials, reveals that an overwhelming 72 percent of men feel anxious about how their body smells on a daily basis.

The survey, commissioned by Old Spice Total Body Deodorant and conducted by OnePoll, breaks down just how much men fear their body odor is stinking up the office. Overall, 52 percent worry that they smell bad without being aware of it, and 51 percent express uncertainty about how to address their body odor.

Despite these concerns, 59 percent of respondents stated that they would appreciate someone informing them if they were giving off an unpleasant odor.

When it comes to specific body parts, men are most concerned about the odor emanating from their armpits (71%), neck (40%), head and hair (39%), arms (30%), and hands (25%). Interestingly, the body parts that men considered “important” to keep smelling good included their hands (25%), chest (21%), and groin (15%), with a notable 71 percent emphasizing the importance of maintaining a pleasant armpit odor.

infographic on men having anxiety about body odor

The fear of lingering body odor is so pervasive that 75 percent of men worry about their scent being embedded in their clothes even after they have taken them off. This self-consciousness has led an alarming 48 percent of respondents to cancel plans with friends over concerns about their stench.

Men identified specific situations where they felt most likely to have bad body odor, including their first sexual experience with a new partner (34%), job interviews (18%), and after a workout (11%). Similarly, they believed that the most critical occasions to smell good were during the first sexual experience with a new partner (35%), job interviews (19%), and first dates (18%).

When men notice body odor on themselves, they employ various tactics to address the issue, such as applying more deodorant (62%), changing their clothes (49%), or applying powder (45%). To control odor specifically from their groin area, men reported using deodorant spray (57%), taking extra showers (53%), and limiting physical activity (49%).

Man washing his hands

“While having body odor all over is normal, it’s a concern for guys who aren’t quite sure how to address it beyond their armpits,” says Dr. Maiysha Jones, Principal Scientist, North America Personal Care for Old Spice at Procter & Gamble, in a statement. “Body odor originates from odor-causing bacteria at skin folds, so it’s important to fight odor where it starts and are gentle enough to use all over.”

The survey found that 78 percent of men use products to control their body odor at least twice per day, with an average of three different products in their daily routine to ensure they maintain a pleasant scent. Respondents also confirmed that they feel most confident when friends (37%) and family members (22%) compliment how they smell.

Body odor has even been a factor in ending relationships, with 35 percent of respondents reporting that they have been broken up with due to how they smelled. Interestingly, 38 percent admitted to initiating a breakup because their partner had an unpleasant body odor.

“We are seeing in our research that many guys who worry about body odor often suffer in silence,” said Kate DiCarlo, Senior Director, Communications, Personal Care Portfolio for Old Spice at Procter & Gamble, adding that “men value 24/7 odor protection.”

As the survey demonstrates, body odor is a significant concern for American millennial men, affecting their confidence, relationships, and daily lives. By shedding light on this often-unspoken issue, the study highlights the importance of addressing body odor concerns and the need for effective, gentle, and long-lasting odor protection solutions.

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 millennial American men was commissioned by Old Spice Total Body Deodorant between September 29 and October 19, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).


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