Everyone sweats. If they didn’t their body would overheat and they might die. Are you thankful for your sweat now?!
But seriously, your sweat can be a struggle to deal with from your teenage years on. Ever been angry or worried? You probably dealt with some sweat. Remember your first job interview? You probably sweat quite a bit that day. Are you nearing menopause? Do you have a teen who’s starting to have sweat stains on their shirts? Did you notice the aroma of your spouse when they come in from a run? Sweat is an indicator that your body is actually working correctly, so let’s take care of our skin, love our sweat and enjoy its benefits.
You are born with 2-4 million sweat glands. They don’t fully activate until puberty, but their main purpose is to regulate your body’s temperature. That’s one of the great things about your skin. It acts as your first layer of defense against the outside world. It protects, regulates and allows you to sense the world around you.
Your ability to sweat is what helps keep your body around the 98.6 degree mark which allows you to continue operating efficiently and effectively. Your brain knows when the body is getting overheated or too cold. It doesn’t like either one, so it takes action.
When should your sweat or non-sweating concern you?
- If you’re in warmer weather and you stop sweating, that could be a sign of dehydration that could lead to heat stroke. Your body is no longer able to cool itself down and so you need to help it along so it doesn’t become fatal. Cool your body down immediately and replenish your fluids and electrolytes. You may also need to seek medical attention.
- If you notice shortness of breath, pounding heartbeat or chest pain, sweating while sleeping or weight loss, be sure to contact your medical provider as this could be a sign of a serious condition.
There are many things can cause your body to sweat and everyone’s a little bit different, but be aware that the following could be triggering your sweat glands:
- hot weather
- when you feel nervous, angry, embarrassed or afraid
- reaction to medicine or vitamins
Now, many people can be overly conscious of the effects of their sweat. From an unpleasant odor to sweat stains, it can be embarrassing. Which if you noticed in the list above, can cause us to sweat even more (yay).
It’s a vicious cycle isn’t it?
But, did you know that it’s not actually your sweat that smells? When your sweat hits the bacteria living on your skin, that’s what can cause an odor. Teens hitting puberty may notice some particularly potent smells as certain hormones can produce smelly sweat from their sweat glands. That’s why it’s important to keep your skin clean. You can also use antiperspirants and deodorants to help minimize your underarm smell.
We’ve heard before that people try hot yoga and sitting in a sauna to help remove their body of toxins. So far, studies have shown very little toxins are being removed in this process. Instead, you’re mainly just depriving your skin and body of hydration. Your sweat is mostly water, which is why it’s so important to stay hydrated while you’re working or exercising in the heat of the day. That’s not to say that sitting in a sauna or doing yoga is bad. Instead, let’s be clear about the benefits of the activity we’re doing, not placing the benefits on the act of sweating. You can read more about this from Michigan State University, here.
In some cases, there are those who experience excessive sweating in certain parts of their body. If you think you may be sweating a bit more than normal, don’t be afraid to ask us about it. There are treatments if you do have a medical condition that causes excessive sweating, like Hyperhidrosis.
So, next time your husband comes in from mowing the yard, be thankful for that musty smell. It means his body is still working correctly, keeping his temperature regulated. The next time your teen walks in after basketball practice, hold your nose, but still be thankful that their sweat glands are activating correctly. And, next time your wife has a different type of aroma, silently be thankful that she’s active and healthy (side-tip, do not tell her directly that she might have a bit of a smell).
Sweat is a good thing. Next time you notice it, try giving it some credit instead of complete disdain.