It’s a hot day. Even though you had the air on full blast, when you get out of the car, there’s still a nice damp spot on your back. It’s unfortunate. Your friends are already here waiting for you, and each time someone gives you a friendly side-arm hug, you know they’re coming away moist.
Why do we have to sweat so much?
The answer, as is usually the case, can be found in science. So, too, can a solution, so come with us on a learning journey to get your sweat under control.
The normal body temperature for a human being is 98.6 degrees, with an acceptable range between 97 degrees and 99 degrees. Too cold and organs and internal systems do not work properly and a human risks hypothermia. Too hot and organs and internal systems also do not work properly and a human risks heat exhaustion or heat stroke. So, basically, we have a nice little range of temperature happiness or else all goes to hell in a handbasket.
While most people experience the bodily function known as sweating when they exercise or are in a warmer climate, there are actually a lot of reasons humans sweat:
- Certain Foods
- Certain Medication
- Excessive Alcohol Use
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Being Out of Shape/Overweight
Sweating is a natural reaction. It means your body is working to regulate your internal temperature, which is what it’s supposed to do, but we also know it’s a source of self-consciousness and annoyance for many people.
Sweating is a healthy thing, but if you’re someone who sweats a lot or it's something that really bugs you, we have some suggestions for how to reduce sweating that we’ll also get into.
Are you ready to learn more about sweat? Oh yes, get excited!
Human Sweat 101
The human body is quite amazing and the function of sweating has been around for a while. Our primate ancestors sweat, so it’s something that is found throughout the animal kingdom and it’s proved to be quite useful a few thousands of years of evolution later.
Sweating is the body’s way of cooling down. Just picture if we all had to pant with our tongues hanging out of our heads like dogs. Or if we had to lay around in water and mud pools all day long. We’d like to argue that the human race has advanced so far partially because of sweating. Just think about that for a second. We can keep working, keep hunting, and keep running away from things, all while our body self-regulates and controls our internal temperature through sweating.
The way sweat works is pretty simple and it’s impressive how well it does its job. Your skin has a few layers and one of those layers, the dermis, contains all these fun sweat glands.
Humans have sweat glands all over their body and there are a few places that have a high concentration (which you can probably guess). Think of your sweaty bits for a moment. Armpits, forehead, palms of your hands, and soles of your feet might have come to mind.
Sweat is mostly water, so when your body gets hot, your gland holes squirt out sweat that covers the surface of your skin. The water on your skin starts to evaporate and the result is a nice cooling effect. Some of you might have invested in that water bottle squirt plus fan thing to spray all over yourself when you get too hot mowing the lawn, that’s basically stealing the idea of sweat.
Another evolutionary fun fact about sweat is that the reason the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet sweat is also to help with grip. Apparently a little wetness helps us hang onto things. Maybe that one will phase out in the next millennia, but for those tree and rock climbers out there, enjoy your sweating hands while not running away from something eating you.
We all know the hot, sticky, sweating feeling and we know some of you don’t like it. Some of you don’t care, some of you embrace it, but the point is, everyone sweats. Everyone poops, and everyone sweats.
More often than not, sweating is a healthy part of being a human being. That said, not every case is a sign of being healthy so you should keep a close eye on what’s causing you to sweat. If you’re sweating because you’re exercising or you’re out on the water on a hot summer day, then that’s definitely a GOOD thing. If you’re sweating because you’re sick, that may not necessarily be a sign of good health.
Above, we listed a whole list of reasons someone might sweat:
Our home planet of Earth is affected by this big burning star called the sun. That thing puts off some serious heat, and in some areas of the world, the effects are quite intense. The sun not only heats up our world and makes it habitable, but it heats up the things that live in this world, that’s us. Stay out in the sun too long and you’re bound to feel the effects.
There are other things that cause heat and thus cause our body temperature to adjust. Things like actual heaters in homes or buildings, fireplaces, too many layers of clothing, getting into a car that’s been sitting in the sun all day, etc.
A human’s ideal temperature range is only a few degrees, so it doesn’t take much for sweating to kick in to regulate what’s going on.
Heat and humidity tend to go hand in hand, but humidity adds another layer to this sweaty conversation. When it’s humid outside, the air is holding a ton of water vapor already. As a result, water actually evaporates a lot slower.
When you sweat, the idea behind the cooling aspect is that the sweat evaporates and thus you feel cooler. However, when the air surrounding you is already saturated with water, your sweat is not evaporating as quickly, so you’re not cooling down as quickly, so your body is still hot and BAM—more sweat.
Exercise or another strenuous activity activates muscles and gets your blood flowing. Your body is exerting energy and the result is that you start to warm up. There’s a reason the beginning of a workout is called a warm-up. You're heating up your body to prepare it for the exercise.
As your body heats up, let the sweating begin!
We have a lot of emotional responses as humans. Anger is one of those responses and the reactions that occur in your body when you’re angry are actually similar to exercise. Anger releases hormones, increases your heart rate, raises your blood pressure and as a result, your body temperature also starts to rise. Some people who are angry will notice their face gets red and they feel flushed. That’s all the heat.
When you’re sick or have an infection, your body temperature will rise as a reaction to your immune system trying to combat the foreign bacteria, virus, or germ that is causing you harm. A fever is often the body’s response and it is a natural way your immune system increases your body temperature. People will usually notice a fever adding on a few degrees (99 degrees - 102 degrees) and if your immune system is able to do its job, a fever will break, you’ll feel better, and your temperature will go down.
Sometimes your body isn’t able to handle the issue on its own though and the body can get too hot. If a fever gets above 104 degrees, your body starts to get into a danger zone and medical attention is needed asap. Just a few degrees make a crazy amount of difference— science is cool, huh?
Humans eat a lot of things. Things that nature is like, ummm, why? Hot peppers, like jalapenos and habaneros, for example, have a naturally occurring chemical that is meant to deter things from eating them. Us, humans? Ha! Bring on the heat. We have entire eating competitions to see who can handle the spiciest stuff. Our stomachs bleed, but we love it!
The chemicals in these foods directly trigger a person’s nervous system which makes your body feel like it’s getting heated up. The result? You’re seeing the pattern—sweat!
You might also notice your face getting red, your nose running, your eyes tearing up, etc. All reactions to that spicy thing you just put in your mouth.
Yes, we know we just gave you a long list.
We think you get the point and it’s a similar song and dance for the rest of the list. Certain medications, excessive alcohol use, smoking, pregnancy, hormonal imbalances, genes, and being out of shape/overweight all affect our body temperature and sweating is the natural reaction to all of that.
There are a lot of things that make a person sweat, a lot. If you look at our list and are like, hmmm, a lot of those things apply to me, whelp—you’re probably going to sweat more.
Which might leave you asking…
So, am I out of luck with this sweating thing?
Since sweating is a natural, human thing that most of us deal with on a daily basis, the questions actually become, is there anything I can do about sweating less? Or is there anything I can do to help contain and settle down this sweating reality?
This is where our amazing MANSCAPED™ team of male grooming and hygiene professionals shines.
First, make sure you’re using a solid deodorant to help mask the odors produced by the little sweat-eating bacteria all over your skin.
As a man, you’ve got some stanky areas, so we recommend deodorant for your pits, deodorant for your nether regions, and deodorant for those footsies of yours:
In addition to high-quality products, a few other ideas come to mind:
- Wear clothes that allow your body to breath
- Ummm, stop eating so many spicy things (your stomach will thank you too probably)
- Get yourself an AC that works
- Use calming techniques when feeling angry or stressed
So there you go. A bunch of science and a bunch of ideas to help you control your sweaty nature.
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