Think sweating is the pits? Here’s what you need to know about this sometimes smelly but perfectly normal bodily function.
What’s the first thing that comes into your mind when you think of sweat? Probably that time you were stuck on the train next to a man with heavy BO – or when you had to choose work clothes that wouldn’t show embarrassing sweat rings halfway through the day. Most people don’t have positive associations with sweating, but this natural function is not nearly as bad (or as gross) as you think. We give you the facts about perspiration so you can get your ‘glow’ on with pride.
How to Stop Sweating – Tips to Stop Sweating So Much Photo Gallery
Lots of liquid The average person sweats about one litre a day. In high temperatures (hello, humid Durban summers!), we can shed up to five litres of sodium chloride (essentially salt) and water. This is the way the body regulates its temperature – so even those people who say they don’t sweat, actually do. Sorry!
That smell… Despite what you’ve been led to believe, sweat itself doesn’t smell. The odour occurs once the moisture dries and bacteria get involved. This also means that, once sweat’s dried on your clothes, no amount of perfume will get rid of it – only soap and water will.
Hidden messages Apart from those affected by hyperhidrosis (a medical condition that causes excessive sweating at unpredictable times), a sudden increase in perspiration can be a sign of an underlying health concern, such as a thyroid problem, diabetes or anxiety. If you experience a sudden surge but haven’t been involved in strenuous activity, a trip to the doc might be required. Clever cures If you’re one of the estimated 367-million people who suffer from hyperhidrosis, there are options available to help keep you dry. You can try prescription meds or a treatment called iontophoresis, during which an electric current is delivered to sweat glands.
Having Botox injected into the damp-prone areas has also proven effective. Moisture management Not all deodorants are created equal – and there’s a difference between deodorants and the more powerful antiperspirants. ‘Antiperspirants work by clogging, closing or blocking pores with powerful astringents such as aluminium salts so they can’t release sweat,’ explains Anwar Jardine, a senior lecturer at the University of Cape Town’s chemistry department. ‘Deodorants work by neutralising the smell of the sweat and by antiseptic action against bacteria.’
MYTH BUSTED! There’s been speculation over a supposed link between women using aluminium-containing antiperspirants and breast cancer. But, says UCT chemistry department’s Anwar Jardine, ‘There is no compelling evidence for this. The transdermal contribution of aluminium to that which is ingested from food.’ Wear it fearlessly, ladies!
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