GWYNETH PALTROW may be the “World’s Most Beautiful Woman,” but she sure doesn’t smell like it!

The Oscar winner had terrible body odor at New York’s Met Ball on May 6, an eyewitness told The ENQUIRER – but no one at the swanky red-carpet event had the guts to tell her.

“Poor Gwyneth looked picture-perfect, but it must have been the hot lights that caused her to be a little strong on the nose,” said a source, who got a little too close to the blonde beauty.

“It was pretty pungent, and I don’t think she had a clue. I saw at least two people wave their hands in front of their noses after passing her.”

A close friend of the actress insists the 40-year-old “Iron Man” star isn’t usually a stinker, but admits that sometimes Gwyneth – like other celebs – does have problems with excessive sweating when she’s under the glare of strong lighting.

AND making matters WORSE, health-conscious Gwyneth refuses to use deodorant with aluminum, opting for more natural – and often less effective – solutions.

“Gwyneth has heard that aluminum is supposedly carcinogenic, and that putting an aluminum-based deodorant directly on those sensitive armpit glands can increase the chances of breast cancer,” the friend explained.

But the problem with less toxic alternatives – like crystal rock deodorant, which is made from mineral salts – is that they tend not to work as well.

“If she’s trying out new deodorants, she’s bound to fail with some of them,” added the friend. “But Gwyneth tells pals she’d rather be smelly than dead.”