What Are the Causes of Metallic Body Odor?


Metallic body odor is a common condition caused by one or a combination of factors. The odor we recognize as a metallic smell is actually the smell of our body's chemistry reacting with the metal to form organic compounds. Metal does not actually have an odor of its own. The odor we have come to know as metallic is the smell of our individual body chemistry reacting with the metal to generate organic scent compounds.

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The high levels of iron in blood cause it to smell metallic even after it has dried. People with exposed wounds, dried blood or women on their menstrual cycle might have a metallic body odor.

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Every individual's body responds differently to chemicals in products such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, moisturizers and perfumes. Metallic mineral compounds mix with the body's unique blend of odorant molecules and might give off a metallic scent.

A close-up of a bar of soap and a bottle of shampoo.
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Some jobs require people to use metal tools or work with chemical compounds containing metal. This prolonged exposure to metals might cause the skin to react, causing a metallic odor.

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Clothing and accessories that contain metal buttons, zippers and rivets might cause a chemical reaction when they contact the surface of the skin. Sweating increases the reaction to the metal and along with it the smell.

A close-up of a metal zipper.
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