Everybody breaks into a sweat now and then, but sometimes it’s a really inopportune moment. Maybe you’re presenting something at work. Maybe you’re on a date.
Regardless, no one wants to worry about how they smell in the middle of these moments. So, why do we sweat? Is sweating a lot healthy? Should you be concerned?
Relax dear friend. We’re going to walk you through everything you need to know about sweat.
Why do we sweat?
You’re a smart person. You already know why you sweat, right? It’s to keep from getting too hot. Everyone knows that.
Here’s the thing. If we dive a little deeper into the topic, it can help you really think about the needs and limitations of perspiration, and everything else we discuss today will make more sense.
So, let’s talk about evaporative cooling. Because you’re right: You sweat when your body gets hot. You have sweat glands all over, and most of your skin can release sweat. When that happens, you get water all over your skin, and as that water comes into contact with the air, some of it evaporates.
This process literally pulls heat away from your body, and as a result, sweat is one of the best natural cooling mechanisms in the world. It’s why people have more stamina than most other animals (at least when we’re fit). It’s also why human beings can survive in all climates, hot, cold, humid, dry, or otherwise.
Sweat is actually pretty amazing, and while we’re on the topic, it can actually do more than just cool you off.
Cooling is the main reason we sweat, but to a smaller degree (pun intended), sweating can help you regulate your electrolyte and hormone levels. This is because both electrolytes and hormones are released in your sweat, and this is actually part of why you sweat when you’re stressed.
If you have too much of a stress hormone in your body, you can release some of it via sweat.
Fun stuff, right?
Is sweating healthy?
Now that we’ve gone a little deeper into the mechanisms of sweat, let’s consider the bigger question. Is sweating healthy?
In most cases, yes. You sweat because your body is working correctly. As we’ve already established, sweat is helping you regulate your body temperature and some of the other things inside of you.
There are plenty of cases where you really should be sweating, and if you aren’t, it’s cause for concern. Let’s go over them.
When you move around and work hard, your body generates a lot of heat. This is why you can go running on a cold morning and still work up a sweat. Your muscles are literally generating heat, and they warm you from the inside. So, your body releases sweat, and your skin cools you down even while your muscles heat you up. It is normal and healthy to sweat while you’re physically exerting yourself.
This is another obvious scenario. You don’t have to be working out to get hot. If the environment around you is warm enough, then it’s normal to sweat in order to stay cool. We’re not really reinventing the wheel here, but it’s easy to overlook this. If you’re worried about your health or feel like you’re sweating more than normal, check the temperature. It might be warmer than you thought.
Stress is a little different. When you feel elevated levels of stress — such as when you’re being chased by a bear — it’s quite normal to sweat. It’s hard to say that the sweat is generically beneficial in the face of stress, but sweating under stressful circumstances is perfectly normal, even if you’re not hot.
This, by the way, is why you might wake up in a cold sweat after having exceptionally bad dreams. They triggered a stress response.
The issue with stress sweat is really the stress itself. Some amount of stress in your life is fine, but if you’re dealing with very frequent, even chronic stress sweats, then that can indicate a problem. Too much stress can negatively impact your health in a lot of ways. So, frequent stress sweats are an indicator that you might need some help managing said stress.
Meat sweats are real. Not everyone gets them, but they are normal. The sweat isn’t really doing much to help your body (although eating meat actually can raise your body temp), but it’s not something that should concern you. Aren’t you glad we’re here to tell you these things?
When is sweating associated with bad health?
That covers normal, healthy sweat. When should you be concerned?
We’ll take you through the common cases, but as we do, remember one thing. The sweat itself really isn't the problem. The thing causing you to sweat is the deeper issue. Sweat is just something that can help you identify a problem.
Have you ever had a fever? Any illness that can cause a fever can also cause you to sweat, and it can be all over the place. While your body starts to act like a Katy Perry song, the abnormal sweat can let you know that you really are sick. It’s not just allergies or lack of sleep. It’s time to take care of yourself.
On a completely different note, hormonal changes can cause some really random sweating. Menopause is the best example, but males can run into low testosterone as they age, and it can mess with sweat, too.
While we’re on the subject, thyroid problems can mess with your hormones, and when that happens, you can expect random, excessive, weird, and sometimes extra-smelly sweats. If you’re getting sweats that you don’t understand, it’s time to see the doctor. You don’t want to ignore hormonal problems, and you especially don’t want to sleep on thyroid issues.
Diabetes can also make you sweaty. Fun, right?
Diabetes is a disease where your body can’t properly break down sugar in your blood. To compensate for that, your body has to do some weird things. Those weird things can cause frequent or excessive urination, headaches, persistent thirst (probably because you’re peeing so much), weight loss, blurry vision, and even tingling hands and/or feet (this is a big warning sign and should never be ignored).
If you have some random sweaty moments in combination with any of those other symptoms, it’s time to let the doctor test you for diabetes. They’ll probably do a general blood workup, and if there’s a serious problem, they’ll find it.
If they don’t find anything, then reread the previous link on meat sweats. That might be it.
Not all medications cause sweating, but it can be a side effect for more than you might imagine. If you start on new meds and sweat a lot, talk to your doctor. It might be fine, but it’s better to be safe than sorry with these kinds of things.
How can you manage sweat?
Alright. We’ve established that there are both healthy and unhealthy sources of sweat. Hopefully, that’s enough information for you to know when it’s time to seek medical help.
All of that aside, there’s another issue here. No matter the cause, when you sweat, you have to deal with it. What’s the best remedy?
For that, we don’t need to refer you to a doctor. When it comes to hygiene and self-care, we’re experts, and we’re going to give you a few quick, easy, reliable ways to manage your own sweat.
This is the very most important thing. When you sweat, your body loses water. You need to get that water back, so drink a glass or bottle of water. You also want to make sure you have a good electrolyte intake as well. Typically, the foods we eat have enough electrolytes in them.
But, if you had a really sweaty day, drank a bunch of water, but still have a headache or feel a little sluggish, take in more electrolytes. Have a small Gatorade or other drink that is infused with electrolytes. Keep drinking water, and your body will sort out the rest.
Since you’re staying hydrated, your skin won’t hate you for sweating so much, but it could use a little bit of care. With a proper shower routine, you can keep your skin healthy, and you’ll fend off any B.O. along the way.
First, make sure your shower isn’t too hot. A warm shower is fine, but there shouldn’t be so much steam that you break into a new sweat while you’re scrubbing down. That’s counterproductive.
It helps a lot if you exfoliate around once a week. This clears your pores, and it keeps your sweaty body from causing skin irritation, oil buildup, and other problems.
Control the smell
Showering will already do a lot to help you control the smell of your sweat, but you can’t live in the shower. You need a few other resources to really win this war.
Hopefully, it won’t be a revelation for us to tell you to use deodorant. It really does the job well, and we have an all-natural deodorant that will make you smell great.
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